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Yes I AM a FF7 fan, but how many people who watch this movie are NOT going to be? And so, I'm reviewing this movie from a FF7 fan perspective, and with no regret. (I would not know how to adequately review the movie for someone who has not played the FF7 game.)
Visuals - 10/10 I loved Advent Children. It's a sensory delight - a complete audio-video overload. The visuals were breathtaking: some feats were accomplished that I would simply have not quite thought possible with an animated feature. When the action scenes came about, they were, for lack of a more accurate word, a roller-coaster. With dramatic camera movement sweeping across from range to range, to seamlessly integrated bullet-time effects at the crucial moments, to the sheer level of detail - it's all hard to fault. The animation looks big budget, the style and imagery is awesome, and the effects at times made me forget that I was watching animation rather than live action footage. I could ramble on for hours repeating myself on the fantastic quality of the visuals, but it simply wouldn't do it any justice.
Sound - 10/10 The sound was fabulous. The voices for all the characters didn't disappoint (no one sounded silly) and the sound effects were bold and sharp. The music - from the game that (in my opinion) had the best game soundtrack EVER, transfered beautifully to the movie. Most of the memorable themes from the game are present in the movie, albeit often using different instruments to fit in better with what's going on. There was some bolder rock and slight thrash metal music over the really intense action scenes from time to time, but it all fitted in well with the movie's situation at the corresponding time.
Story - 7/10 The story and characters would be the main flaws of the movie. Both aspects were simply not up to par with the game - but then again, the game could spend 40+ hours developing these points - the movie only has about 90 minutes. As far as the story goes, the plot wasn't bad or anything, but just not as ambitious as was expected from someone who played the game through. In effect, the plot seemed rather weak in comparison. The game was so extravagant with the intricate plot twists and story progression/development, that the movie never really stood a chance to compete in the same league. Instead, the movie took the more sensible approach - to expand on the action and try to place as many inside-jokes and themes into itself instead of trying to impossibly recreate the massive story factor, which was originally such a driving force in the game. The lack of Materia usage also caused me some controversy - the story of the movie chose to use little (though not ZERO) Materia, and instead lots of supernatural fighting ability and skill. I would hope that if a sequel was made it would incorporate Materia much much more extravagantly and importantly into the film. There were also many plot holes in the movie - all which can be forgiven if you think of Advent Children as a random anime, but seem ridiculous when you realise how it was based on a game that executed plot tremendously well.
Characters - 7/10 The characters, whilst all being present in one form or another, don't necessarily shine to their true potential. There simply isn't really enough movie-time to spend with all of them. And so, all of their background stories and abilities are not entirely showcased, and in some cases, barely at all (Red and Cait Sith leave absolutely no real lasting impressions). Even Cloud, who is the focal point of the movie, I feel doesn't use enough of his familiar abilities from the game. The Materia issue is a strong reason for this. With that said, it's a joy to see the cast back in action, even if it's in such a role that doesn't utilise them to their fullest. The new characters were the ones that caused me most of the strife however - the Bad Guy Trio and the kid dude Denzel - there was a huge lack of explanation about any of them. Anyone willing to use their imagination can probably fill in the blanks with something reasonable and be done with it, but objectively speaking the issue is still there to be commented on and is therefore a little disappointing.
Value - 10/10 The replay value for this movie is excellent - I personally want to watch it again in a more bigger and louder way - bigger screen, louder volume.
Enjoyment - 10/10 Whatever the flaws of the movie, they simply weren't big enough to hinder my enjoyment of it, and I honestly think that will be the same case for most people. I enjoyed Advent Children tremendously, and encourage fellow FF7 fans to go see it.
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