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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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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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on 11 April 2006
I have watched the Japanese version, and graphically, it looks stunning. Remember when FF: The Spirits Within was out and everyone was amazed at the graphics? Well, this one looks way better. The animation is great, and everything looks great.
Even though it's much better to have played FF7 before watching Advent Children, it is not necessary.
The plot is, well... to be honest, seeing as the whole movie was absolutely NOT necessary at all (FF7 needed no sequel, it looks more like a marketing move to me, especially if you look at all the spin-offs that FF7 recently generated), the plot, as I was saying, is nothing great or very deep. However it does have everything fans expect, and even though you'll sometimes be wondering "wait, what exactly just happened?", you'll still be hooked until the end.
If you are a FF fan, don't even hesitate, get it, but be ready to be a tad disappointed if you expect something along the lines of FF 7.
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My only experience of Final Fantasy comes from being addicted to the RPGs back in the early '90s. I'd heard a lot about the films and looked forward to watching this.

The quality of the animation is unbelievable; it really is so good that some parts of the film look more photographic than CGI. The visuals took me in, and I was in awe for the first part of the film - but it quickly dawned on me that I didn't really understand the characters too well.

Having been away from the latest gaming platforms, I haven't experienced the game this is based on. With this lack of back-story, I almost felt excluded. This is really a film for people who know the characters and have played the game. If it were to be more accessible then I'd have given it an easy 4 stars.

There are some good special features though and for lovers of the game, I can see that this film would be great entertainment. But if you have little knowledge of Final Fantasy - you realise all-too-quickly that you're watching a film with well established characters that you know nothing about!
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on 29 March 2007
the title says it all really, its definitely a film for fans of FF7 who know the story line inside out and can pick up on all the references and know about the characters past otherwise your not going to have a clue as to whats going on.

So basically play the game first, cause its well worth it, then watch the film
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on 22 February 2007
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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on 16 September 2005
I know the title says you need to complete the game and you are probably wondering why such a film exists if it doesn't attempt to explore the original game's backstory.
Well 'advent children' is the sequel that fans of the multi-million selling RPG have been campaigning for. After eight years the fans can finally gain closure on a game which had a delightful if highly frustrating ambiguous ending, that left lots of questions and no answers.
For fans this film is phenomenal, it has tons of references back to the original game, some that are extremely obvious and others that are rather obscure (a good one for you all to get started, watch closely right at the end). Not only this they have amalgamised the original game soundtrack with some new pieces of music and also updated versions, some which have been spliced superbly into a new score while playing the old at the same time. (this is a poor description, see it and you'll know what I mean).
The animation in this film is nothing less than exquisite and the action sequences flash by at such hyper active speed that when a scene ends your eyes are bulging and your adrenaline pumping. Speaking of the action sequences, they have a very 'crouching tiger, hidden dragon' nature to them, so if you enjoyed high flying martial arts, you'll really dig this!
But as I have stated at the start of this review, this film is purely for the fans who have actually finished FF7. You need to know who the characters are, how the plotline played out and other factors that non-fans will not know. If you hear all the hype about this film on the net and want to enjoy it fully, then I suggest picking up a copy of the game (there are loads used these days, should barely cost £10 max!)
On the whole a throughly awesome film, much better than the dire 'spirits within', spike up your hair, dig out your buster sword and prepare for an awesome Final fantasy experience!
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on 9 September 2015
If like me you are a huge FFVII fan and have already owned and watched the dvd version many times or the PSP UMD version (yup I bought both)
and you are wondering is it worth getting this on Blu-Ray?.......the answer is a resounding YES.
For starters the picture quality is amazing, the dvd was good in its day but having seen this I couldn't sit through the old version again.
And even better this disc has more story, for starters there is a very good anime short about Denzel and his backstory (if you've seen the film before I recommend watching this first) and this is also weaved into the main feature along with a good half hours worth of extra materiel (materia ?) all of which now makes the story make more sense and flow along better, it also answers some questions about some MIA characters (no spoilers)
Soundtrack is also much richer (5.1 here).
And at this price its a bargain.
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