The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2005
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 126 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English/Japanese/French Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Arabic, Dutch
Directed by: Tetsuya Nomura
Art Director: Yusuke Naora
Music by: Nobuo Uematsu
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 2, 2009
"I'm not alone, not anymore"
When a mysterious illness is linked to an insidious plot to resurrect an old enemy, Cloud is forced to take sword in hand if he's to save the planet once again. Featuring an extended director's cut containing 26 minutes of explosive new footage and over 1000 revised scenes, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete is Blu-ray High Definition at its mind-blasting best, a senses-shattering CGI sci-fi adventure you can't afford to miss!
The Final Fantasy game franchise is a popular one that has been around for quite some time. FF VII was released in 1997 and this film was released in 2005 and is a adaptation based upon that video game. The film's story picks up two years after where the game left off. Advent Children Complete represents Tetsuya Nomura's director's cut of the film and boasts 26 minutes of additional footage and over one thousand revised scenes, each was re-recorded with the original voice cast. I have never seen the original release of this film or played the video game but this looked interesting. Here is an overview taken from Wikipedia:
Two years after the events of Final Fantasy VII, the survivors of Midgar have begun to build a new city, Edge, on the outskirts of the old metropolis. A strange disease known as "Geostigma" has arisen. After Cloud's showdown with Sephiroth, he has been living with Tifa in Edge. Marlene and an orphaned boy named Denzel have been entrusted to their care. After receiving a message from Tifa, Cloud is attacked by three men, Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo, who believe that he has hidden their "mother". The leader, Kadaj, ends the battle as he discovers that Cloud does not have their "mother". Cloud responds to a message from Tifa, who tells him that the Turks have a job for him. At the meeting place, Cloud discovers that Rufus Shinra is still alive. Rufus attempts to enlist Cloud's help to stop the trio, but fails as he refuses and leaves. Kadaj arrives and demands that Rufus tell him where to find his "mother". It is revealed that his "mother" is Jenova's remains, and is somehow connected to the cause of the Geostigma. The trio is planning a new "reunion" that will culminate in an assault on the Planet.
Loz arrives at Aerith's church in an attempt to find Jenova's remains, and is confronted by Tifa. After battling Tifa, he receives instructions on his cell phone to capture Marlene. Kadaj and the gang begin collecting children infected with Geostigma, including Denzel and the uninfected Marlene, and take them to the Forgotten City. Cloud attempts to rescue them but fails, and is quickly defeated, and is then rescued by Vincent Valentine, who reveals to Cloud what the trio is seeking and that it could result in the return of Sephiroth. Cloud agrees to return to Edge and face Kadaj in battle. In Edge, the trio call forth several monsters to attack the populace, including the summon "Bahamut SIN". While Cloud's companions deal with Bahamut SIN, Reno and Rude try to take care of Yazoo and Loz until Cloud arrives. Cloud and his friends are able to dispatch the monsters and Bahamut SIN.
In a nearby building, Rufus reveals to Kadaj that he has been in possession of Jenova's remains all along. He throws the box containing it from the edge of the building. Kadaj dives after the remains and recovers it, but Rufus shoots the box and damages it. Kadaj spots Cloud in pursuit of him, and is followed to the ruins of Midgar. They battle each other in Aerith's church. Kadaj destroys the flowerbed, which releases an outflow of Lifestream-infused water that cures Cloud's Geostigma. Kadaj flees to the ruins of Shinra Headquarters, where they continue their fight. He distracts Cloud with the box containing Jenova's remains, which he absorbs into his body and transforms into Sephiroth. He reveals that once those who die from the Geostigma return to the Lifestream, he will be able to control it and use the Planet as a vessel to travel space in search of a new planet for him to rule. Cloud defeats Sephiroth, who dissipates, leaving a weakened Kadaj at Cloud's mercy.
Aerith begins to pour healing rain across Edge, curing the people of their Geostigma. She tells Kadaj to be at rest, who believes her voice to be that of his "mother", and he is taken by the Lifestream. Cloud is then shot by Yazoo in the back, who is also succumbing to the healing rain. He and Loz prepare one final blast at Cloud, resulting in a large explosion that disintegrates them and engulfs Cloud. Afterward, Cloud appears surrounded by a white light, and Aerith and Zack are heard. Zack tells Cloud that his place is not with them yet, and sends him back. Cloud awakens in a pool of Lifestream-infused water in Aerith's church, surrounded by his friends and the citizens of Edge. After curing the Geostigma-infected children, he turns and sees Aerith crouching by some children. As she stands and walks to the doorway, she turns back to assure Cloud that she is all right, and steps into a white light with Zack.
I am not certain what the additional 26 minutes of footage added to the story but I found this to be an enjoyable watch. The world of Final Fantasy is an alluring one full of variety both in character design, weaponry, and concept. The interpersonal relationship among the characters is integral to the story's development. The film provides enough flashbacks and dialogue so that having prior knowledge of them isn't essential but I imagine it would make it more meaningful. The action based elements are plentiful, fast paced and exciting. The extended battle that begins in chapter 29 and culminates in chapter 35 (at the conclusion of the chase sequence) literally had me transfixed. The animated images are reminiscent of the previous Final Fantasy film The spirits within and have an incredibly lifelike quality that is different from other animated CG films. As good as The spirits within looked this looks even better. At just over two hours this film runs long but I have to admit I never felt that it was moving too slowly. Anime fans who have seen the original version should probably give this director's cut a spin to see if it enhances the experience. I liked it and will give it another watch now that I am acquainted with the story.
This film contains mild action violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete comes to Blu-ray from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.4 mbps.
This is a reference quality animated presentation that boasts superlative visuals that look spectacular. Depth is incredible for an animated feature as images reveal excellent delineation that draws out the finest details. An example of this can be seen in chapter 11 as Denzel walks among the ruins outside of the church. As he passes from shadow to light the transitional effect is seamless. The texture in the charred remains of the stone structures and damaged buildings is readily apparent and nuanced. Objects in the background are crisp with a nearly infinite visual perspective that provides three dimensional quality that is impressive. Resolution is exquisite as the video exhibits high level detail that occasionally gives the animation a lifelike appearance. I found that this to be most noticeable in clothing and objects as the patterned weave of fabrics, the texture of leather and metallic surfaces are realistic. Colors are rich with vivid hues and deep vibrant reds. Contrast is strong, well balanced and dynamic without robbing images of detail. Blacks are inky and stable. The combination gives the video plenty of pop. This is an immaculate high definition presentation that contains breathtaking imagery that will look magnificent regardless of the size of your display.
The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack nearly keeps pace with the video presentation and offers high level detail, definitive, room penetrating dialogue and an active/involving soundfield filled with discretely placed effects and room filling surround sound. The mix makes excellent use of the rear channels to create sounds that effectively place off camera cues that are appropriately spaced within the diffused acoustic environment to generate a realistic simulation of sounds that fade in, out or are off in the distance. The soundstage across the front three channels has broad, clear perspective with enriching directionality and crisp, lucid dialogue that maintains prominent focus that never overshadows other sounds. I found this to be a dynamically lean presentation in terms of low frequency effects when compared to the best action based films available on Blu-ray ray. I would like to clarify that bass is not lacking however I would have liked stronger presence and deeper extension. As it stands bass response provides good tactile emphasis that enhances the action and supports the music score but rarely reaches room shaking levels. Otherwise this is a great sounding mix that presents an excellent surround sound experience.
- Legacy of Final Fantasy VII - 6 minute feature
- Reminiscence of FF VII - 24 minute feature
- Reminiscence of FF VII - compilation - 29 minute feature
- (HD) On the way to a smile - Episode: Denzel - 28 minute character back story
- (HD) Sneak peek at Final Fantasty XIII - 7 minute feature
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete is a film that will more than likely appeal more to those familiar with it and the game. Going into it cold might be a bit confusing however there is enough substance to keep it interesting. The bonus supplements provide a solid background on what it going on in the world of FF VII which might serve novices better if watched before the film. I found it entertaining and I have no prior experience with either. Sony's presentation on Blu-ray Disc adds to its entertainment value as it looks amazing and sounds nearly as good. The bonus features are well worth watching especially if you have no prior knowledge of the game's elements/story. I can't recommend this as a blind buy but for fans it's a no brainer.
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