×

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Painstakingly designed, hyperrealistically detailed and utterly impenetrable to everyone except fans of the original computer game on which it's based, CGI-fabricated tale "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children" reps a soulless slab of Japanimation -- neither a final installment nor exceptionally fantastic -- with little crossover potential.

With:
With: Takahiro Sakurai, Ayumi Ito, Shotaro Morikubo. (Japanese dialogue)

This review was updated on Oct. 17, 2005.

Painstakingly designed, hyperrealistically detailed and utterly impenetrable to everyone except fans of the original computer game on which it’s based, CGI-fabricated tale “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children” reps a soulless slab of Japanimation — neither a final installment nor exceptionally fantastic — with little crossover potential. A cinematic spin-off of the seventh in a series of 12 PlayStation “Final Fantasy” games (basis for 2001’s “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,”) pic intersperses confusingly edited shoot-’em-up segments with the usual anime futuristic guff about haunted warriors, evil multinationals, and New Age claptrap. Far East should deliver best results, with cult status possible in sell-through.

Bright red, wolf like creatures, whose significance is never explained, gambol through a mountainous landscape before pic cuts deadpan to a black title card stating “498 years earlier…”, striking a humorous note, perhaps unintentional, sadly lacking in the rest of film.

Popular on Variety

A voiceover and accompanying images explain how the Earth’s “lifeforce” rose up and wiped out a whole load of bad guys some time before. Many survivors, particularly the film’s posse of cutesy orphans, are suffering from a mark-leaving disease called Geostigma.

In the devastated city of Midgar, blond hero Cloud (voiced by Takahiro Sakurai) runs a delivery service in association with super babe Tifa (voiced by upcoming ingenue Ayumi Ito) and others. While out in the outlying badlands one day, he runs afoul of a gang of three silvery-haired biker boys led by Kadaj. Kadaj wants to be reunited with his mother (seemingly some genetic thingy called Jenova that produced a race of super warriors).

Luring the orphans in Cloud’s care to a ruined city, Kadaj feeds them water that cures their Geostigma, but also turns them temporarily evil.

These sci-fi narrative stylings are merely irritating filler between battle sequences in which the animators show off swish new textures like smoke that becomes corporeal and flashy lighting effects that bounce off the semi-mechanical monsters under the bad guys’ control.

Centerpiece is a huge ruckus in the city center which pits Cloud and Co. against the Kadaj cadre and a dragon-like beast wearing samurai armor.

In typical computer-game style, each battle is with a yet more ferocious foe until Cloud finally faces off against the supposedly super-nasty Sephiroth from earlier in the franchise’s story.

Much attention seems to have been lavished on hair design, with some shots seemingly contrived solely to show off how well the tech department has thought out how hairdos will be buffeted by g-forces while characters ride motorcycles or tumble through space.

Little attention, however, has been paid to designing the action so that it unfolds in a mappable environment, or to crafting a story accessible to those unfamiliar with the “Final Fantasy” backstory. Although skin texture is photorealistic, the characters’ faces, as is often the case in Japanese anime, have a limited range of expressions.

Hyperactive editing further frustrates general comprehension. Music by Nobuo Uematsu alternates between sparse piano noodlings, pop metal thrashings and cloying power ballads for the closing credits.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Japan

Production: A Sony Pictures release of a Square Enix Co. production. (International sales: Patrick Chen, Tokyo.) Produced by Yoshinori Kitase, Shinji Hashimoto. Directed by Tetsuya Nomura. Co-directed by Takeshi Nozue. Screenplay, Kazushige Nojima.

Crew: Camera (color), Nozue Takeshi; editor, Kenji Kijima; music, Nobuo Uematsu; art director, Yuusuke Naora; main character designer, Nomura; mechanic, creature designer, Takayuki Takeya; sound designer (Dolby Digital), Shojiro Nakaoka. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (non-competing), Aug. 30, 2005. Running time: 100 MIN.

With: With: Takahiro Sakurai, Ayumi Ito, Shotaro Morikubo. (Japanese dialogue)

More Film

  • 'Parasite,' 'Jojo Rabbit' Win ACE Eddie

    'Parasite,' 'Jojo Rabbit' Win ACE Eddie Awards for Top Feature Films

    “Parasite” and “Jojo Rabbit” have won the top feature film trophies at the 70th Annual ACE Eddie Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Jinmo Yang won the dramatic feature category for “Parasite” over “Ford v Ferrari,” “Joker,” “The Irishman,” and “Marriage Story.” The victory marks the first time in ACE Eddie Awards history that a [...]

  • Gregg Smith, Dancer and Choreographer Assistant,

    Gregg Smith, Dancer and Choreographer Assistant, Dies at 73

    Gregg Smith, a dancer, casting director and assistant choreographer who had a long association with director Kenny Ortega, has died. He was 73. Smith died on Jan. 1. The industry veteran worked as a performer in the national touring company of the musical “Hair” and in a Los Angeles production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He [...]

  • Oscar Isaac Golden Globes 2016

    Film News Roundup: Oscar Isaac Joins Superhero Movie 'The Great Machine'

    In today’s film news roundup, Oscar Isaac boards “The Great Machine,” Keira Knightley joins “Silent Night” and “The Dog Doc” finds a home. CASTINGS Legendary has closed a deal for Oscar Isaac to star in and produce superhero saga “The Great Machine.” The project is based on Brian K. Vaughan’s comic book series “Ex Machina” [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    U.S. Movie Admissions Plunge 4.6% in 2019 Amid Box Office Decline

    U.S. movie admissions slid 4.6% last year to 1.24 billion, the second lowest admissions number during the current century, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) has reported. North American box office for the year declined 4.1% to $11.4 billion, NATO said Friday. That figure was in line with the estimate released at the end [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'National Treasure 3' Moves Ahead From Disney, Jerry Bruckheimer

    Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer are moving ahead with a third “National Treasure” movie with “Bad Boys for Life” screenwriter Chris Bremner tapped to write the script. Bremner has also signed to write a fourth “Bad Boys” for Sony with Bruckheimer producing. Bruckheimer produced the three “Bad Boys” and the two “National Treasure” movies. The “National [...]

  • Mike (WILL SMITH), Marcus (MARTIN LAWRENCE)

    'Bad Boys 4' in the Works at Sony Pictures

    Sony Pictures has launched early development of an untitled fourth “Bad Boys” movie with “Bad Boys for Life” screenwriter Chris Bremner returning to write the script. Bremner has also signed to write “National Treasure 3” for Disney with Jerry Bruckheimer producing. Bruckheimer produced the three “Bad Boys” and the two “National Treasure” movies. Bremner teamed [...]

  • Corsican Summer, Los Conductos

    Belgium's Best Friend Forever Nabs Berlinale-Bound 'Los Conductos,' 'Corsican Summer' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brussels-based company Best Friend Forever acquired two debut features, Camilo Restrepo’s Berlinale-bound “Los Conductos” and Pascal Tagnati’s “Corsican Summer.” Both films are produced by up and coming outfit 5à7 films. Set to premiere at the Berlinale’s new competitive section Encounters, “Los Conductos” is a Spanish-language film set in Medellin (Colombia) and loosely based on the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content