Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
[Movie Review][Spoilers]

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was bad. Really bad. It was so bad, I had to watch it a second time to write this review because I couldn't remember all the things that were bad about it.

First of all, for those of you who aren't aware, Square released a video game for the playstation called "Final Fantasy VII". This movie takes place two years after the events of that game. Now here's a really big mistake that Square Enix (the company that produced this movie) made: Not only do they assume that you've heard of this game before, but they assume that you've actually played through the whole game, know the entire story, and unlocked all the secret characters. I'm extremely confident that over 70% of the movie-going population has never heard of the video game before, and over 90% of them have not beaten the game and unlocked all the secret characters. And if you haven't done that, you won't get the movie.

Another big problem with the movie: it is nonstop dei ex machinis. As I review this movie, I'll also give a summary. Yes, this summary will contain spoilers, but who cares, this movie has the worst plot I've ever seen in any movie of my entire life so far. Just for fun, every time the situation resolves itself for no reason, I'll shout out "Deus ex machina!". Then we can count how many time that string appears and have a good laugh about it.

The movie starts with these lions running around. And then you never see them again. Or maybe you do; a lion does appear again later on in the movie, but it's never made clear whether that lion was one of these lions that appeared in the intro. Then you see a helicopter fly towards a mountain in a storm. Then there's some shouting, and the helicopter flies away. You never find out what happened in that mountain, and they never mention it again in the movie.

Then a kid starts narrating about what happened in the video game, but his (her?) narration is so vague, they might as well have omitted. "The world's power itself stopped all of the battles." What the fuck does that mean? The world somehow came alive, and punched the fighters in the nose until they all got bloody noses and decided to stop fighting? I guess you had to have spent 80 hours of your life beating the video game to know what the hell they're talking about.

Then they show a bustling city, which is the "here and now" of the movie. There's a bunch of homeless sitting around, and the kid mentions that people are getting infected with "geostigma". Now I don't know if "geostigma" appeared in the video game, and I don't know if in there, the symptoms included dizziness, abdominal pains, anxiety, blood in urine, breast lump, chest pains, constipation, diarrhea, depression, dry skin, fatigue, hair loss, headache, heartburn, indigestion, insomnia, lower back pains, abnormal menstrual periods, red eye, seizure, skin rash, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, swelling or lost of appetite but in the movie, geostigma causes NONE of these symptoms. If you have "geostigma", it means you have some dirt on your face or your arm. In the end of the movie, they cure themselves of geostigma by washing it off with water. Oops, that was a spoiler. Yeah, the cure for geostigma is to take a bath.

So then in the next scene, you see this girl (her name is Tifa, but they don't mention that until much later), and she gets a phone call. You never find out who called her, or what the conversation was about.

Then you see a wolf sniffing a sword. The wolf must be important, because later on, when Cloud (the main protagonist) "dies" (don't worry, he magically comes back to life), a wolf comes sniffing him. But otherwise, you never see the wolf again.

Then you see Cloud driving around in the desert on a mortorcycle. And then these 3 other guys on motorcycles decide to attack him. And just when they're about to kill him, they change their mind and go away. Deus ex machina!

Then Cloud goes to the house of some guy in a wheel chair. The wheel chair guy is like the boss of Shinra, Shinra being this powerful company or something (the kid narrating in the beginning just says Shinra is a natural resource company and that they hired soldiers). The guy in the wheel chair says that he needs Cloud's help and Cloud says refuses. Cloud then leaves.

Then one of the guys who attacked Cloud in the desert shows up at that wheel chair guy's house. Apparently, they aren't friends, because the wheel chair guy's bodyguards are on the ground. The desert-attacking guy kneels down next to the wheel chair guy, and the ground starts shaking, and then he glares at the wheel chair guy, and we're all like "Oh shit, he's gonna kill that wheel chair guy, right?" and then the scene just cuts. Later on in the movie, you see the wheel chair guy is fine, and the desert-attacking guy is fine. And they never bring up what happened in that fight again in the movie. Deus ex machina!

Then one of the desert-attacking guy decides to attack Tifa and a little girl in a church. During this scene, they decide to play the same battle music that originally played on the Playstation video game. That might be great for the video game fans, but the song sucks big time as far as movies go. Think Super Mario Brother synthesizers, and you'll have an idea of how stupid this sounds for what is supposed to be a dramatic battle. He's about to kill Tifa, but then he gets a phone call and decides instead to kidnap the little girl. We never hear what is said in the phone call conversation, or why it is vital that Tifa be left alive. Deus ex machina!

Then all these kids get loaded up onto a truck because some guy said he'll cure them of geostigmata if they follow him. None of the adults standing around think this is weird or accuse him of being a pedophile or anything.

Cloud goes to the church and sees Tifa unconscious on the ground. He rushes to her, but then falls asleep. When he wakes up, he's in a hotel with Tifa, and the Shinra bodyguards. Cloud now agrees to help Shinra. Deus ex machina!

Tifa and Cloud start having an argument in which Tifa says "Drifting, drifting, drifting, drifting..." and Cloud's comeback is "...". Also, Tifa mentions Cloud is always running away and that there's no cure for Geostigmata. Then Cloud leaves.

The truck-pedophile guy is standing in a forest with all the kids, and he tells all the kids to stand in the lake and drink the water. All of a sudden, the kids become super ninjas and decide to obey the pedophile guy's every command. Deus ex machina!

Cloud's driving through the forest on his motorcycle when all of a sudden he's transported to another dimension, and this girl in a pink dress talks to him. Then Cloud's back in the forest and the kids are using their super ninja powers to jump in front of Cloud's motorcycle. Cloud doesn't want to hurt the kids, so he bails out, and he's on the ground. Then the pedophile, who also happens to be a super ninja, comes up to Cloud, takes out a sword, and is about to kill Cloud. Then the girl that was kidnapped shouts "Cloud!" and for some reason, this temporarily causes the ninja-pedophile's nervous system to shut down long enough for Sword to crawl away, pick up the sword he dropped when he bailed off the motorcycle, and to stand up. Then the ninja-pedophile guy recovers, and he and Cloud fight. The girl never shows her amazing nervous-system-shut-down-powers again in the movie. Deus ex machina!

So Cloud and the pedophile are fighting, and Cloud is losing pretty badly, when this red blanket falls out of the sky. This really confuses the pedophile and Cloud is able to escape safely. Deus ex machina!

Then you see that the red blanket was actually a guy wearing a cape (but seriously, in the last scene, you could tell for sure that there was no one underneath the red blanket), and that guy is talking to Cloud about more deep-sounding nonsense.

Then there must have been an editing mistake, because we got back in time to Cloud and Tifa and the Shinra bodyguards in the hotel room again, the the Shinra bodyguards tell Cloud to search the forest to rescue the children. I guess they copied and pasted the scene into the wrong location.

Later, the pedophile is back in the city, and he has the children stand in a circle around him. For some reason, this pisses off the citizens, so they start gathering around the circle of children and shouting. This pisses off the pedophile-ninja, so he waves his hands and then these coyote made of dust appear and start attacking the citizens.

Then the Shinra bodyguards show up and ask the pedophile what he's doing, and the pedophile tells them that he's gonna vandalize this statue that Shinra put up because he thinks his mom is in there. The bodyguards tell them that they don't know whether or not the pedophile's mom is in the statue or not. The pedophile then asks whether or not the bodyguard has faith in him, and then the bodyguards start panicking and choking on their own fear.

Then, the pedophile's twin brother is having a chat with the wheel chair guy about the meaning of life. The twin decides to summon a giant dragon-bird-creature-thing, which flies down and starts ripping that Shinra statue apart.

For some reason, the mind-control spell that the pedophile had over the children wears off (Deus ex machina!), and one of the kid gets pissed off at the dragon-bird and decides to attack it. The kid, being about the size of the dragon-bird's toenail, is about to get killed by the dragon-bird when suddenly this black guy jumps in out of nowhere (Deus ex machina!), and then his hand transforms into a chain gun (Deus ex machina!) and he starts shooting at the bird-thing. The bird doesn't like this, but before it can react, suddenly a grey cat wearing a crown rides up on a red lion, and the red lion leaps up and bites the bird Deus ex machina! I swear to God, I am not making this shit up. Also, the King Cat on the Red Lion can shoot green plasma out of his hand. Convenient, huh? Deus ex machina!

The bird isn't done yet, and the black guy's arm is jammed, so it looks like the poor black guy is gonna die, right? Well, then this ninja star comes out of nowhere and nicks the bird on the armored part of his head, and for some reason, this causes the bird tremendous pain and its staggers backwards, despite the fact that the bone (or whatever that armor platting is made of) doesn't have a single scratch on it. Also, it turns out that the ninja star was thrown by some girl whose name we never find out. Deus ex machina! Also, the girl happened to have arrived via parachute. Deus ex machina!

At this point, the kid asks who the fuck is that girl. Tifa, who's standing next to him, decides not to answer. She just casually looks around. Then four dust-coyotes decide to jump on Tifa at the same time. Despite Tifa being a super ninja, as demonstrated in the church battle, in this scene she decides to roll up into the fetal position and cry. I guess she's gonna die, huh? Nope, some guy (who's name we never find out) jumps in and hits the dust-coyotes on the head with a stick, and then the dust coyotes are thrown off screen, never to be seen again. Deus ex machina!

Then the guy with the red blanket shows up. He doesn't do anything though, so that doesn't warrant a deus ex machina yet. But the kid is getting pretty pissed off, and wants to know who the fuck all these people are. I can empathize kid. But Tifa evades the question, saying that these people are all on our side. Well, gee, thanks a whole fucking lot for the update.

Then Cloud shows up on his motorcycle. I'll let this one slide.

So then the bird, the black guy whose hand can morph into a chain gun, the grey cat with a crown on its head riding a red lion whose tail is on fire, the guy with the red blanket, the parachuting girl, and the guy with the pointy stick are all fighting. The bird thing can fly, right? And people are leaping at the bird, striking, and then getting knocked back, so they're frequently falling 20 or 30 stories before landing on a rooftop or steel girder or something like that. So I guess there's no falling damage, right? And yet we're supposed to feel anticipation when one of them is hanging onto a ledge for dear life with only one hand. WHAT EVAR!

Then the guy in the wheel chair decides to stand up (what the fuck?), and throw a box off of the building he's standing on. The twin brother of the pedophile instantly knows in his heart that his mother is inside, so the twin jumps off the edge as well.

Cut back to Cloud, who wants to fight the bird, but the bird is flying away. Cloud jumps, but can't actually jump high enough to reach the bird. Luckily, the black guy just so happened to be on a girder whose height coincidentally matched the maximum height that Cloud could jump. Okay, I'll let this one slide. The black guy grabs Cloud's arm, and launches him up higher. Unfortunately, Cloud is still not high enough. I guess that means the bird gets away, right? Not so fast! The guy with the pointy stick is there to launch Cloud even higher. What good fortune! But damn, that bird is flying ever so higher! But have no fear, 'cause the cat wearing a crown and riding on a red lion just jumps into the frame from out of nowhere, and launches Cloud even higher. Holy shit, that's 3 for 3! Will Cloud's luck never cease? Just as I speak these words, that parachute girl also jumps into the frame from out of nowhere, and gives Cloud another boost. And then the red blanket guy. And then Tifa.

That's all the characters, right? I mean, there's no possible way Cloud could get any higher right? I mean, we got Tifa, we got that red blanket guy, we got the cat on the lion, we got the black guy, the guy with the stick, the parachute girl... did I say the guy with the red blanket already? Yeah, I did. So that's everyone. But Cloud is STILL not high enough. How the hell can the screenplay writers get themselves out of this one?

Remember that girl from an alternate dimension that cloud met in the forest? Well, she decided to make a guest appearance in this dimension, grabs Cloud's hand, and boosts him up further. Deus ex fucking machina.

Also, Cloud's sword, which apparently did shit all to the bird up until now, is able to slice through the bird like a Jinsu knife through an Italian leather shoe. The bird is downed in one swing. Deus ex machina!

Anyway, the pedo-twin who was falling from the edge of the building manages to catch the box, and land on the ground some 50 stories down. I guess falling damage was toned down.

Then, all of a sudden, we see Cloud on his motorcycle, racing up, presumably to snatch that box back. Wait a minute, was Cloud in the thermosphere just a moment ago? He must have been, because I could swear I saw ionization appearing in the form of a blue glow around his body, which would have explained why he was able to fly through the bird's giant plasma ball attack without taking any damage (that's right kids: if you're ionized, you can fly through gasses in excess of 10'000'000 degrees Celsius unscathed!), but that's one hell of a fall. Fuck toned down, falling damage is completely disabled.

Anyway, so now Cloud and the pedo-brothers are racing through the city on motorcycles fighting over the pedo's mom who happens to be in a shoebox. On the plus side, at least the fight choreography is pretty cool.

Eventually, the fight scene drags on and starts getting boring. Rather than writing the script so that Cloud gets the box with the pedophile's mom in it, they decided to make it so that Cloud just runs away, and then the pedo-twin runs into the Shinra bodyguards, who have decided to become suicide bombers and detonate some explosives while said explosives are in their hands.

So now the pedo-twin is out of the picture (actually, not really, at the end of the movie, he comes out of nowhere and shoots Cloud in the back, thus killing him), Cloud can finally fight the pedophile who has the box with his mom in it. Except Cloud has to actually catch up to the pedophile first.

The pedophile decides to park his bike in the church where this whole mess started. He looks at the box, realizes it's empty, and starts crying. Cloud then arrives, and they fight briefly, but then the pedophile runs away. Also, it starts raining (yes, raining INDOORS in the church), and this is the point where Cloud realizes that he can just wash the "geostigmata" off with water. Deus ex machina.

So then Cloud catches up with the pedophile again, and they start fighting again. Then the rest of the crew (Tifa, the guy with the pointy stick, the black guy whose arm can morph into a chaingun, the cat wearing a crown riding on a red lion, the girl with the parachute, and the guy with the red blanket) arrive in an airship, but then decide to just watch Cloud fight instead of helping him.

Cloud eventually beats the pedophile, but as the pedophile is falling to his death, he decides he doesn't want to die and so he transforms into Sephiroth (who happens to be the last boss in the videogame or something; I don't know, I didn't beat it). For the benefit of those who haven't played the videogame, they start playing a song in which the lyrics are "Sephiroth! Sephiroth!" over and over again. That's right, a battle song with lyrics.

So now Cloud has to fight Sephiroth. They fight and fight, and of course Cloud is losing badly, 'cause Sephiroth is completely invincible, right? Well, after six minutes of gettign his ass kicked, Cloud decides he doesn't want to lose, so he takes his sword, splits it into six, turns into gold, splits himself into multiple copies, and kills Sephiroth, all in one attack. Deus ex machina.

But Sephiroth is too cool to die, so he floats above Cloud, says he'll be back, and then transforms back into the pedophile. The pedophile, at this point, is too weak to fight, so he dies, and as he dies, he asks if the voice he's hearing is his mother. And then he turns into green pixie dust. As this happens, it starts raining all over the city, and people are shocked and amazed that they are getting cured of Geostigmata. People are rushing into the street, so that they can take the water and rub it on the parts of their body covered with dirt and see the dirt wash off.

Now everybody's happy that Cloud won the fight, and that a cure for Geostigmata was found and all that. We even see the guy in the wheelchair cured of Geostigmata, but unfortunately, the rain doesn't cure him from his inability to walk, because he's back in the wheel chair again.

Cloud's happy too. He's smiling. And then the pedo-twin shoots him in the back. Incidentally, earlier in the movie, Cloud was able to deflect every single bullet shot at him by an uzi using his sword. And Cloud was able to hear people sneak up on him in the forest. But for whatever reason, he didn't hear the pedo-twin and was not able to deflect this bullet. Cloud collapses to the ground, but then gets up, and turns around. Then the pedo-twin shoots a giant fireball out of his arm, instantly disintegrating Cloud's body.

Then we see Cloud surrounded in white light because he's dead. The girl in the pink dress from another dimension is there too, and they chat for a bit, but then she goes away. Then the wolf from the beginning of the movie decides to sniff Cloud a bit. And then the wolf fades away. And then Cloud wakes up, and he's in the church, with all his friends, with no explanation of why. And no one is surprised that although his body was disintegrated in that fiery explosion, that Cloud would be found alive and well in the church. Big fucking deus ex machina.

In the church, apparently some of the kids haven't figured out what the cure for geostigmata is. The red lion that the grey cat was riding on says as much. Yep, it's a talking red lion whose tail is on fire. So Cloud is like "Dude, I know the cure" and then takes some water off the ground and rubs it across the kid's dirty forehead, and suddenly the kid is cured of geostigmata. Then all the other kids are like "Holy shit! We wanna get cured too!" so they all jump into the water and start cleaning themselves.

Then Cloud looks up, and he sees the girl in pink along with some guy whom I can only assume is her boyfriend walks off into a ray of light. And then the movie ends.

If you sit through the credits, you get to see more shots of Cloud riding around on his motorcycle.

Plot: Sucks. I counted 19 dei ex machinis. How many did you get?

Music: Ranges from "meh" to "sucks".

"Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children" really caters to the lowest common denominator of Squaresoft fanboys. In the videogame, there's a character named Aerith, and she dies. This is one of the most famous "spoilers" in video game history because of the great protest it generated. Animes, games, etc. in Japan are made with adults as a target audience. The stories are often deep and meaningful, with, for example, major characters dying. Apparently, the North American audience couldn't handle it, and a few days after Final Fantasy VII was released for Playstation, the Internet was flooded with message postings about how aweful it is that Aerith is dying, and whether or not you can get her back, or if you could have chosen some other path through the game to prevent her from dying. Then this caused people who hadn't reached that part of the game to say "What the fuck? Aerith dies? Fuck you for spoiling the game for me!"

The absolute dumbest movement I've seen related to this was some guy actually starting a web petition asking Squaresoft to bring Aerith back to life. And people actually fucking signed the petition! Do you realize how dumb it is to ask Squaresoft to recall all the copies of Final Fantasy VII released, to completely change the plot of the game, and to program in this new story, and then to rerelease the game as a new version where Aerith doesn't die?

Well, that girl in the pink dress from another dimension. That's Aerith. Yup, they brought her back. That's what I'm talking about when I say it's pandering to the lowest common denominator.

My next point: Ask any Final Fantasy fan who the most bad ass character is, and they'll say Sephiroth. Some people (e.g. young boys) actually like two dimensional, completely invincible characters with no flaws. Sephiroth is that kind of character. So at the end of Advent Children, when Cloud turns into six gold versions of himself and slaughters Sephiroth, Sephiroth justs laughs and essentially says "I'm not gonna die, 'cause it'll piss off the Sephiroth fan boys. On the other hand, if I don't go away, then we can't really resolve this movie with a happy ending, can we? So I'll just act like I'm going away voluntarily, but if I wanted to, I could come back any time and kick your ass. Yeah, that's right." They couldn't just kill Sephiroth. They had to cater to the lowest common denominator.

What's the relationship between any female character in the game and any male character in the game? Completely unknown, 'cause it's all glossed over. Tifa and Cloud argue with each other (if you can call "Drifting, drifting, drifting, drifting..." and argument), so maybe there's a love-thing going on between them, but there's no affection, no Tifa crying when Cloud dies, or anything of that sort. Also, the cat riding on the red lion calls the parachute girl "princess", and she doesn't like that, so I guess they're friends who tease each other. But other than that, there is no inter-character development at all. You don't learn anything about anyone, so you just don't care about any of the characters.

If the black guy whose arm can change into a chaingun had line other than "Die you mother fucking flying bird-thing!", maybe we'd gain an appreciate for him. Hey SquareEnix, how's this for an idea? The black guy grows up in the small, coal mining village of Corel. He advocates cooperation with Shinra in building one of their reactors into Corel with his friend, Dyne. They succeded and the reactor is built. However, after an explosion at the reactor, Corel was burnt down by the Shinra corporation, killing his wife. The black guy survived, however his right forearm was severed by gunfire when he tried in vain to keep Dyne from falling off a cliff. Assuming Dyne was killed, he adopted Marlene, Dyne's daughter. He goes to Midgar and has a gun-prosthetic grafted to his arm and looks to seek revenge on Shinra, joining up with a rebel faction called AVALANCHE and eventually becoming its team leader. There's a free idea for you, SquareEnix! Put this in your movie, and maybe we'd give a fuck about that black guy. Especially if the adopted daughter, Marlene, was the girl who gets kidnapped from the church! Then it'd actually make sense for the black guy to show up. But as it is now, most people watching the movie don't know who this guy is. All they see is a black guy with an arm that can transform into a chain gun, and it just looks incredibly stupid.

Or how about this for a plot twist: That red blanket guy? How about if he used to work for Shinra, and fell in love with a scientist named Lucrecia who was working with Professor's Gast and Hojo on the Jenova Project. Lucrecia, however, rejected the blanket guy and chose to enter a relationship with Hojo. After Lucrecia became pregnant, Hojo used her as an experiment subject, injecting her with Jenova cells during the pregnancy. As a result, Lucrecia gave birth to Sephiroth. If they had put that in the movie, it would have been a lot more interesting, huh? But nooooo, they had to just make him a guy who likes to wear red blankets.

Final grade: 2.7/10

 
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1. Leafy Person said:
I tend to agree with your review, except you left out the fact that Cloud is the eldest brother of the three pedophiles. At least, I think he is, since that's what they called him in the beginning. Unless it's one of those Asian cultural things where someone you call brother isn't really your brother. I would give the film an extra point for having very cool looking male characters: unblemished skin, radical haircuts/colours, and Magnum or Blue Steel looks staring from behind fringes of flowing hair. The female characters are bland and lame. Must be a peacock world where men are ten times more glamorous than women.
Posted on Mon September 19th, 2005, 12:41 PM EST acknowledged

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