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4.5 out of 5 stars
Final Fantasy VII - Advent Children [DVD] [2011]
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2006
Although this film doesn't have the most complex story in the world, and what little story it DOES have is likely to confuse anyone who hasn't played the game, this film is stunning to watch.
I purchased the Japanese DVD when it was released and the quality of the CGI is mindblowing. Many people have seen online trailers or bootleg copies, but the quality doesn't compare to the original DVD where the images are crisp and clear and as close to perfection as CGI can currently get.
Even if FFVII means absolutly nothing to you, this is a movie you can watch for sheer aesthetic value! The images are lovely to watch, the battles beautifully choreographed...I stared in rapture the first time I watched it, and I don't even understand that much Japanese!
(And even if the story isn't that complex by FFVII standards it still beats the complexity of most American movies!)
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2010
I took the advice of the people who have reviewed this movie saying "you don't have to be familiar to the series to enjoy this movie" and decided to purchase it to watch over Xmas. To a certain degree they're correct, but only just!!
As I watched the Blu-Ray I was able to pick up what was going on and could just about understand the storyline - however different characters turn up throughout the movie and I just did not know who they were.
In regards to the storyline - previous knowledge of the series is not 100% necessary, however in regards to the characters - it's not essential, but be prepared to wonder who the hell these people are?!?!!?
In regards to the Blu-Ray quality - At times the picture & sound quality astounded me, I was very impressed.
The bottom line - Is it worth buying if you're not a fan? Possibly, but only to watch once. My copy ended up on eBay!!
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2009
I got this on import from Japan when it was released, and my reaction to the quality was something like... "wow..." followed by more wows, until I finally got into watching the movie. For anyone who has seen the movie already, this is the new "complete" edition of the film with an additional 30 minutes added to it. In a way, it is a sort of Director's Cut - and it flows a lot better than the original release. The additional scenes are all fantastic, and it begs the question why they were taken out in the first place.

Usually I am not partial to these re-releases with additional scenes, I just feel that they should release the whole film the first time. This time, however, it is re-released on blu-ray so it makes it worth the re-purchasing for me. The picture is absolutely crystal clear. There's no snow in any of the scenes, it is just perfect. The blacks are deep, and the whites are really bright, and they fade from one to the other with elegant ease. The sound is what you will have come to expect from Blu-Ray - perfect, Nobuo Uematsu's soundtrack is absolutely stunning during the heavy action scenes.

If you haven't seen the movie then it follows the story of Cloud (following from the Playstation game Final Fantasy VII). Two years have passed since the city of Midgar was left to ransom and to stand as a testament to the sacrifices made by friends in order to bring peace. However an illness is spreading fast, putting thousands of peoples lives at risk, and so Cloud, who walked away from being the hero before to a life of solitude, is asked to step forward once more to fix the wrongs of the world. Old friends and enemies alike are reintroduced, and the film is full of action and absolutely stunning animation that you have come to expect from Square Enix.

People will ask whether you need to have played the game to understand the film? Well, I would say it would help if you want to understand everything, because it can be left quite vague. But that doesn't mean you won't enjoy the movie if you haven't played the game. There is lots of action, and some of the best animation seen yet, and it's been done wonderfully. There is also a Reminiscence section in the bonus features which tells you the entire story of the original game if you wish to see it. All in all, this is a package you don't want to miss.

ADDITIONAL: The UK and US release of this does NOT come with the Final Fantasy XIII demo which came with the first Japanese printing - however Square have announced that the demo MAY be available on the Playstation Network at some point in the future.

ADDITIONAL: This DOES come with Japanese Audio if that is what you would prefer, and yes it is locked to Region 2, sadly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2007
This movie is aimed squarley at Final Fantasy VII nuts. If you havn't played through the game yet then you will be lost in the plot and not know whats going on. It happened to me and it's why I got bought FFVII. Right, first things first. Without a doubt the highlight of this movie is the sublime visuals. They more than compensate for the now rubbish graphics of the PS1 game and they give you a better idea of what the characters look like. The fight scenes will rock the eyeballs out of your sockets. People jump 70 feet into the air, pull of stunning motorbike stunts and basicly multiply the action genre by 10. Realism nuts may moan that the fights are too flamboyant, but this is a Final Fantasy title remember - its not meant to be realistic. True to the game, Advent Children focuses on the hero Cloud (who seems even moodier this time around believe it or not) and his dilemas. We see scenes of him and Aerith, who died in the game and we also see flahbacks of his old buddy Zack. The design in the film is stylish, especially Clouds motorbike and his big, big sword. The plot seems a tad weak in places, but it was the fight scenes that really impressed me. To conclude, this movie should be a dream for Final Fantasy VII fans of all sorts while action fans should also give this a look.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2012
Origins

In 1997, Square (now Square-Enix) released the marvel that is Final Fantasy VII. Well received by all, it warranted further attention and the producers behind it dually obliged. In 2005, Advent Children catered to almost every desire of the franchise' fans, the main wish being to see all their heroes in high definition, detailed models. That said, the fans of the game aren't going to settle for second best, meddling with the story and characters could prove fatal, however the makers seemed to have kept their heads and stayed true to what the game and its characters stood for. Its clear that the film is solely for the fans indulgence, rather than gaining new ones, possibly picking up awards and mentions because of its outstanding appearance. People unfamiliar with the game and franchise won't have the connection with the cast, nor an understanding of its setting, story or history, so its tough to say whether they should watch it. Perhaps with an open mind and knowing that they are in the dark about most of it, one can enjoy the battle sequences, graphics and story, only to be persuaded to playing the game afterwards. I wouldn't expect anyone over 18 to take a liking to it though.. perhaps its nature could appeal to younger audiences with lesser clouded judgement.

Visuals

Simply stunning. Outrageously spectacular graphics that although aren't always realistic, they still make the characters come to life. Hairstyles vary and defy gravity but everything else is detailed beyond measure. The 'camera work' as such, pans like a real film, zooming in on faces, sliding across areas and blurring foregrounds and backgrounds as if out of focus or shot. Not as life like as 'Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within' it keeps the styles that were present in the game. I mean, no one would really wear a purple jumpsuit right? Environments glow and whilst not varying from the game, look brilliant re-workings of places explorable in game. Water trickles and shimmers, dirt gets kicked up and clouds, fire burns and fluctuates with cinders. Some places look real, especially when skies and appropriate lighting are included. Frankly, the re-imagined FMV's are my favourite parts, showing all your memories in a better light. That and scenes involving either Aries or Sephiroth are cinematic gold, one in a field of delicate flowers surrounded by light, the other battling in crumbling ruins during a thunderstorm. Some of the scenes were possibly done using motion capture, but others would be technically impossible for humans to pull off so the guys putting it all together had one hell of a job to do, a job that they flourished at.

Characters

Just about everyone makes an appearance, the entire crew of the game: Cloud, Tifa, Barret, Red XIII, Cid, Cait Sith, Yuffie, Vincent and even Aries and Zack. All of them in updated, modern versions of their clothing, wielding the weapons that made them even more unique. New enemies include Loz, Yazoo and Kadaj: 3 silver haired young men all in black, each with different abilities and mind sets. Loz being the brutish, slow one, using raw power and a wrist weapon to increase his speed, Yazoo the ranged, cool headed support and the leader Kadaj, using a two bladed katana with swiftness and precision, casting summons to do his bidding. Then there are the children, Marlene, Barret's adopted child, and Denzel a new lad with the stigma. It wouldn't be right to leave out the Turks either, and Reno and Rude both bring comic relief to the sometimes too serious plot. Since the game featured no voice acting, it was always going to be a struggle pleasing everyone. Cloud is done well, typically miserable and confused while Tifa's is almost robotic, nothing like the large breasted happy go lucky fighter in the game. Honestly, practically the entire English cast sound rather silly, no thanks to some really epic dialogue and scruffy translation. The Japanese voice cast however, suit the characters far better, not only because they sync up with the lips, but are far more emotional and thought out over their English counterparts. Aries and Sephiroth are the exceptions though, offering minimal words but delivering well. The people you want to see all show up at once, to fight the monstrous rendition of Bahamut - the mighty dragon summon. Its during this fight scene that the makers really show off their abilities with several things happening on screen at once, making it incredibly over the top and eye watering. Limit breaks show up on occasion too, along with other subtle specifics only seasoned gamers will recognize (like Yuffie's air sickness, Loz' ringtone and speech patterns / dialogue.) Sephiroth's appearance, justifiably eclipses all.

Plot

The introduction of the film is already a class act. Using an orchestrated version of the games song 'Bombing Mission' and taking up where the game left off. After the credits of the game, you see Red XIII and his children run towards an overgrown jungle that is the remnants of Midgar city. This FMV is essentially re-done and displayed in glorious CGI. After this there is a small plot reveal, zooming in on the crater where you fought the games final boss. 3 members of the turks, Reno, Tseng and Elena, explore the hell hole, guns blazing, until the ShinRa helicopter pulls out. We are then greeted with a recap of the events in the game and the aftermath by young Marlene, again remaking scenes from the games ending in beautiful graphics. The 'true' beginning stage of the film sets up slowly, 2 years after the final battle and destruction of Meteor, explaining a plague set upon the cities people known as 'geostigma', with unknown children and Cloud himself, the victims. Both Cloud and Tifa get their little introductions, Tifa in the old Midgar bar known as Seventh Heaven, remade, and Cloud on the outskirts of the city with his motorcycle. Then comes the films antagonists, blatantly bearing a ressemblance to the games main rival, Sephiroth. These men subsequently give chase to the unsuspecting Cloud, only to pull back when our blonde hero is about to fall, as if playing a game, a bold statement of intent. It is later revealed that these 3 men have set out to control all those effected with the stigma, use them for a Reunion and bring back their evil ancestor. This 'Reunion' is similar to the game in that those with Jenova cells (or the stigma in this case) gather together in one place. All the while, Cloud struggles to get to grips with life after the many near death experiences and focusing on rebuilding the world that barely survived an apocalypse. President ShinRa and his Turks attempt to recruit Cloud, for their own personal gain, only to find him an unwilling participant. Things get ugly when the children start disappearing and its up to the old gang to find them and put a stop to the plans behind it. Almost exclusively set in Midgar, Cloud and all the characters from the game must take on the unspeakable evil once again. Will they be able to prevent the resurrection of the greatest Soldier in history? Dispose of the harbinger of the sky and save the planet once and for all? Find out for your self, I've said far too much already. However I will add that the ending melts even the toughest S.O.B's heart.

Music

Being a monumental fan of the games official soundtrack, I was overjoyed to hear that Nobuo Uematsu, the original composer, would be taking part. Of course it mostly consists of up to date and orchestrated versions of the songs and themes found in game, as well as some new ones that blend in superbly. The choir does a great job and the whole of the orchestra are made use of. Jenova's theme in particular is just genius, keeping the melodies and tempo but upping the awesome factor, adding guitars, drums and rock and roll elements. Safe to say that an official soundtrack has since been released with 26 songs to check out. Certain songs from the game really hit you for six, especially Aries' theme, the subtle Turks theme, the credit roll, threatened world map theme, the piano concertos and of course the fear instilling, best boss theme to grace a game, 'One Winged Angel'. Its certainly an important aspect of the film, and rightly so as the game heavily relied on its soundtrack too, making places, people and scenes stand out.

Extras

The original disc comes with a main menu listing, Play Movie, Audio Set Up, Subtitles, Scene Selections and Reminiscence Of Final Fantasy VII. I'm particularly thankful for the audio and subtitles as you can witness the film in its original state with english subs or try to swallow the Americanised version. The 'Reminiscence Of Final Fantasy VII' is also a nice gift, showing visual recordings of the game, pinpointing key moments with another classy background score of game related piano pieces, interrupted only for little clips of Cloud's answer phone messages and calls. The end of the feature film shows the rather long cast and crew list, whilst Cloud roams around on his badass motorcycle. The second disc is packed with deleted scenes, a 'making of' movie, trailers, sneak peeks of upcoming games and other film related footage, all available with or without a range of subtitles. There are 11 deleted scenes to check out, all in japanese, missing music/sound effects and lacking the final touches. They're pretty short too, most being less than 30 seconds of footage. The making of film 'Distance' shows just how they managed to create this film, with key members of the games production and seeing employees doing their work, its a 35 minute long documentary. The sneak peek is no longer sneaky though as all the 'upcoming titles' have come to pass, including the likes of: Before Crisis, Crisis Core, Dirge Of Cerberus and Advent Children itself. The 8 trailers are interesting though, The first being a 2003 Tokyo game show, revealing short clips of characters and the games logo, alongside some more footage that didn't make the final cut, that managed to spread all sorts of rumors. Included are Jump Festa and E3 trailers. The Venice Film Festival Footage is a 25 minute segment of the beginning of the film, a bit of a puzzling inclusion.

In summary, its everything a fan could want (with the exception of seeing a certain someones final form:) summons, magic, characters and tying up the one loose end of 'what happened next?'. I doubt anyone could honestly come up with a better storyline without covering things already said (VII's setting has been a bit milked, even some of its spin off games, Dirge of Cerberus and Crisis Core, feature Advent Children-like cut scenes). Its not just the big fights and non stop wonder of the visuals that make this film a worthy release, but the smaller details that make you feel special and go "Ahh I see what they did there!". I don't really want to recommend this though, because I know that people without the good fortune and experience of playing the game, would not enjoy the film the way it should be enjoyed.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2006
Simply one of the best CGI movies I have ever seen. A beautiful work of art.

All the movie's locations are modeled in wonderful, unique detail and have a story of its own to tell like all good paintings. Most of the stories behind each location will be known by players of the original Final Fantasy VII game or its fans but there are also a few that is unknown to all.

One good example is the new city of Edge. A place of which we can see is built completely from scrap metal with its odd looking structures and transparent metal frames standing upright everywhere. The streets are bustling with people dressed in plain simple clothes painted in dull shades of grey. Vehicles drive among the crowds of adults with no sense of organization whatsoever, while abandoned orphans sit in the side alleys, some in bandages stained in an ominous black substance. No tree, flower or even a blade of grass can be seen apart from the looming ruins of Midgar in the background. An air of sullen despair lingers.

Other locations include the tranquil church, the ancient Forgotten City filled with dimly glowing white trees and the great ruins of Midgar itself, with the giant broken cannon standing at its centre.

Wishing to add extra depth and meaning to what you see, the staff also added in symbolic objects such as the angel statue that would appear now and then between scenes. What they symbolize is up to the viewer to ponder about.

CGI enthusiasts will notice the great amount of work the Visual Works staff put into this movie as separate teams were responsible for the simulation of clothing and the way hair flows. Materials look authentic and reflect the way they should such as the smooth reflective look leather clothing has, with wrinkles etched into it. We even see how a leather glove stretches realistically as it gets pulled onto the hand. Other notable effects include how strands of hair collide with one another as they flow in the air. We don't see any hairs "cutting through" each other. Clothing also creases accordingly as characters move around in different environments.

Plot-wise though, the story is very thin. The short story summary you find at various retail sites pretty much sums the movie up. This is probably due to the reason that it's a sequel aimed more towards fans of the original Final Fantasy VII game. The movie's done in such a way that it expects you to already have a grasp of what's happened in the game. While The Spirits Within had an exclusive story for its movie, FFVII:AC continues a story. So if you've never played or read about it then, you will most likely be confused about what's happening as old friends and enemies alike reunite. The opening introduction does a fair job of explaining what has happened but obviously omits a lot of detail.

Fortunately, the DVD gives you the option of reviewing what happened in the game. The staff behind the movie also attempted to design the movie so that casual movie viewers can always watch it as part of the action genre. Battle scenes are stunning and very fast-paced with moments of slow motion blended in for those critical moments.

Sound effects are solid with the clashing of metal swords, firing of guns, heavy explosions and footsteps resounding on hollow wooden floors being very convincing. Music has been chosen well too as the music done by Nobuo Uematsu's rock band, The Black Mages, blend in well with the furiously intense fight scenes or where the dark enemy lurks. Besides that, Uematsu's orchestral compositions also appear now and then to enhance the mood.

In one scene where one of the main female characters is battling it out with one of the enemies, the fast piano score "Those who Fight" is used instead of a rock tune. The piano is well known for its elegance and by choosing such a score, it really brought out the beauty in the female character while at the same time, highlights the power and intensity of the fight.

For FFVII fans, nearly everything you were familiar with from the game makes an appearance such as the locations I mentioned above. The cast of characters remain true to their traits; Cloud still carries an oversized sword about with him, Yuffie still has motion sickness, Cid still talks with his disgruntled voice, Vincent still lurks around in his red cloak and of course, the Turks remain as hilarious as ever. Then there are the familiar tunes such as the character theme songs, "Jenova" and of course, the unforgettable Jimi Hendrix inspired "One Winged Angel". Nearly everything is present apart from Chocobos.

A lot seemed to have happened in the two years of FFVII. Once you start playing the movie, fans will already find themselves a bit lost as the camera flies through the newly constructed city of Edge and reunites them with the original game characters.

However, answers and what happened during the last two years can be found by reading the two short stories in "On the Way to a Smile", written by the scenario writer Kazushige Nojima, bridging the gap between the game and the movie. The first story was published a few weeks before the DVD release in Japan on the official Japanese movie website.

Unfortunately, the stories are only available in Japanese at the time of writing this. It would have been great if these stories were translated and included as a booklet with this Western DVD release of the movie. An essential read that can change your entire perspective during the movie. It certainly did for me.

Overall, other than the thin storyline this is a great movie to watch many times over for both FFVII fans and CGI enthusiasts.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I rented this dvd for my boyfriend, I did not expect to sit down and watch it too! I was playing with my baby in the same room when he put it on and I turned to see a bit of it and found myself sitting with him and the chocs really into it! Ok at first I didn't get the story but then got into it as it went on, and if you like this kind of thing you will really appreciate the graphics, excellent work, powerful, and truly worth watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2010
Many years from now Final Fantasy VII was one of the best RPG games from Fans of the series, Gamers and Critics. Final Fantasy VII took the world by storm for it's memorable story, charcters and epic moment. Sephiroth is still almost everyone's all time favourite Villain, including mine.

Anyways Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete is a re-make of the orgiginal film that was released back in 2005 for Japan and 2006 for Europe and North America on DVD. For those who havn't seen the film, this sort of a sequel to Final Fantasy VII (PS1 and PC), story takes places 2 years after when a giant Metor fell from the sky and almost deroyed the planet but was saved by the life-stream. Over the past 2 years the planet has gotten worser then it looks, there is illness/mysterious plague known as "Geostigma".

Cloud trys and find out what the problem is and trying to get rid of his past. During Advent Children three men called Kadja, Loz and Yazoo trying toMother bringback Sephiroth. Through out the film Cloud gets help from everyone who helped him during the events of Final Fantasy VII including Tifa, Barret, Vincent, Cid, Yuffie,Red XIII and Cait Sith. Cloud also has flash backs from his past from people including Zack and Aerith.

The Blu-Ray version of Advent Children complete has 26 mintues worth of new cutscenes that were never in the Original Advent Children film and longer scenes during certain battles including when Cloud fights Sephiroth to the death.

The Film's graphics are very well detailed and crystal clear on Blu-Ray, if you compare this to the Original film you can see a difference to the graphics and animation that was used in the film. You've got the option to the watch the film either in English or Japanese either, but if you watch in English some of the voices has changed mainly for Marlene and Denzel I'm not sure if it's the same actors from the Original film or they used two new actors for it.

The Menu features have Reminiscenes of Final Fantasy VII if you havn't played the Original game or played the spin-off sequels including Crisis Core and Dirge of Cerberus you'll be able to see what happened during eventsthe story in the Final Fantasy VII series. There's also trailers for Advent Children Complete which were shown at Tokyo GameShow and Jump Festa.

There's no playable demo of Final Fantasy XIII for the North American and European version of Advent Children Complete. It was only alviable for Japan on a seprate disc, there is some footage of Final Fantasy XIII but it mainly shows the intro and basic gameplay for the game giving you a taste on what the next installment is like. There isalso a Animated short film called "On the Way to a Amile- Epsode Denzel" based on Denzel was doing during the events of Final Fantasy VII when his parents were killed and after the Life-Stream saved the Planet from Jenova. This is in Japanese but it's a good Anime short film to watch as well.

Overall if you own the original film on DVD or UMD it's worth checking out the Blu-Ray version if you own a PS3 or a Blu-Ray player if you are a fan of the Final Fantasy series or your into Anime films. You will be plesently surprised by the Directors Cut version of Advent Children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2009
I got this on import from Japan when it was released, and my reaction to the quality was something like... "wow..." followed by more wows, until I finally got into watching the movie. For anyone who has seen the movie already, this is the new "complete" edition of the film with an additional 30 minutes added to it. In a way, it is a sort of Director's Cut - and it flows a lot better than the original release. The additional scenes are all fantastic, and it begs the question why they were taken out in the first place.

Usually I am not partial to these re-releases with additional scenes, I just feel that they should release the whole film the first time. This time, however, it is re-released on blu-ray so it makes it worth the re-purchasing for me. The picture is absolutely crystal clear. There's no snow in any of the scenes, it is just perfect. The blacks are deep, and the whites are really bright, and they fade from one to the other with elegant ease. The sound is what you will have come to expect from Blu-Ray - perfect, Nobuo Uematsu's soundtrack is absolutely stunning during the heavy action scenes.

If you haven't seen the movie then it follows the story of Cloud (following from the Playstation game Final Fantasy VII). Two years have passed since the city of Midgar was left to ransom and to stand as a testament to the sacrifices made by friends in order to bring peace. However an illness is spreading fast, putting thousands of peoples lives at risk, and so Cloud, who walked away from being the hero before to a life of solitude, is asked to step forward once more to fix the wrongs of the world. Old friends and enemies alike are reintroduced, and the film is full of action and absolutely stunning animation that you have come to expect from Square Enix.

People will ask whether you need to have played the game to understand the film? Well, I would say it would help if you want to understand everything, because it can be left quite vague. But that doesn't mean you won't enjoy the movie if you haven't played the game. There is lots of action, and some of the best animation seen yet, and it's been done wonderfully. There is also a Reminiscence section in the bonus features which tells you the entire story of the original game if you wish to see it. All in all, this is a package you don't want to miss.

"ADDITIONAL:" The UK and US release of this does NOT come with the Final Fantasy XIII demo which came with the first Japanese printing - however Square have announced that the demo MAY be available on the Playstation Network at some point in the coming months.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 October 2007
I have to begin by saying that I am not a massive fan of anime, in fact the closest I have come is seeing (and enjoying thoroughly I might add) Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within (yes, I hear the hard core fanboys going tsk! I know this is not anime) which I suppose is an extremely westernised, watered down form. So let's start with the basics. The graphics are achingly beautiful - from the fantastically realised cities of Midgar and Edge to the wastelands. The detail and facial expressions of the characters are unrivalled. While not photrealistic (who wants it to be truely photorealistic anyway?) you really feel their emotions through their facial expressions and postures. The action sequences - of which the last half of the film is essentially a long action sequence - are spectacular and ridiculous. You know that this story is not based within the physical confines of our world, but you will believe that they can do what they do.

Before seeing this, I hadn't played Final Fantasy 7, and yes, as a lot of reviewers have stated, you really need to know the story otherwise you will miss out a lot of the intricasies this film. So after watching it the first time and being completely flummoxed, I did my 'research' and played the game and got into the 'Final Fantasy 7 world'. And then what you find is a truely amazing story about friendship, heartbreak and forgivness that really gave me the warm and fuzzies. In fairness, it does feel slightly disjointed in places, almost like it is a bunch of end-of-level scenes from a game pasted together, although once you know the story and understand the characters, this is really a minor criticism that can be overlooked.

For fans of Final Fantasy 7, this film is an essential purchase. For the rest of you mere mortals who are not chained to the Playstation joypad, take a risk and explore this world and I think you'll find something truely special.
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