Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete – The Blu-ray Experience Realized

AdventChildrenComplete.jpg I love my PS3 and I love Blu-ray, but honestly, I haven’t found much use for my PS3 in the specific role of a Blu-ray movie player. For me the benefits of Blu-ray have been seen solely on the gaming front, in games like Metal Gear Solid 4 where the larger disc capacity enabled Hideo Kojima to stuff more content into the game than another form of media would allow. Another advantage of Blu-ray that doesn’t get talked about as much as it should is how much more resilient it is to scratching and general wear and tear.

Maybe I just don’t have the eye of an HD purist, but for movies I haven’t seen enough of a difference in image quality and enhanced special features to justify paying higher prices for Blu-ray movies over DVD. Until now…

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete is the first movie to challenge my thinking in the “DVD vs. Blu-ray” debate. If all Blu-ray movies were of this quality I would invest more in the medium over DVD.

Advent Children Complete (ACC) is a Director’s Cut edition of the CG film sequel to Final Fantasy VII first released in Japan back in 2005 (it came to the US in 2006), and as such it comes packed with nearly 30 minutes of new footage and extended scenes, along with a host of additional special features not included with the original DVD release.

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The special features are quite good too, although they aren’t likely to interest those who aren’t fans of the games. There are two story Final Fantasy VII story digests: the original “Reminiscence of FFVII” which retells the game’s story through a sequenced series of cut-scenes and CG videos from the game, and the new “Reminiscence of FFVII Compilation” which recaps the entire FFVII saga through scenes from Crisis Core, Before Crisis and Dirge of Cerberus. There’s also a new prequel anime short all about Denzel called “On the Way to a Smile – Episode Denzel,” plus all of the ACC trailers Square Enix released throughout its production, a brief “Legacy of Final Fantasy VII” featurette celebrating the game’s popularity, and a sneak peek at Final Fantasy XIII (it’s the 7-minute extended E3 trailer).

But ACC is much more than a simple Director’s Cut with added scenes and features. Over 1,000 scenes from the film have been touched up with even more stunning detail and re-recorded dialogue by the original voice cast. So in effect the movie has been completely remastered, and it shows. During fight scenes characters now show realistic wear and tear. Clothes become dirty and worn, combatants’ faces become bloodied, and vehicles become plastered with bullet holes. And overall, the film just looks brighter, sharper and crisper.

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The 26 minutes of new footage, which puts the movie’s runtime just over two hours, largely centers on fleshing out certain side stories that didn’t get much play in the original film. Denzel, the orphaned boy infected with Geostigma, gets a lot more face time, as do Zack and the Turks.

But the most significant scene alteration/expansion comes during the final duel between Cloud and Sephiroth. [Spoiler Alert!!!] Previously, the battle wrapped up rather quickly. In the original cut, Sephiroth pins Cloud to a wall with a sword stab through the shoulder before Cloud eventually breaks free and takes Sephiroth down with his Limit Break finisher. But in ACC, the end of this battle has been completely changed. Rather than getting pinned against the wall, Cloud is thrown through the wall and comes charging out with a blue glowing aura around him like he’s powering up for his Limit Break. But as he lunges to attack, Sephiroth catches him out of the air with his absurdly long sword and proceeds to skewer Cloud multiple times – Cloud’s body and face show the cuts too, and there’s even a little bit of added blood dripping and spattering. Then Cloud has one of his flashback/dream sequences with Zack before launching into his final attack, which is even flashier and more elaborate than before.

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This extended ending truly made the movie for me – it is the epic face-off finale Cloud and Sephiroth always deserved.

In no way do any of the new scenes make the original film any more narratively coherent, so the movie still comes across as more of a glorified sequence of CG cut-scenes pulled from a Final Fantasy game than a flowing feature film. But that’s OK because, for most viewers, the story isn’t the main draw here. You watch a movie like this to be wowed by the wizardry of the animators and the extravagant action sequences, and trust me, no CG flick will wow you like Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete. It is the ultimate Blu-ray experience!

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!