Originally released in the fall of 2005, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was met with mixed reviews from critics and fans alike. Four years later, SquareEnix is giving the movie a director's cut of sorts with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, this time in beautiful HD.
"You are my living legacy..."
theSTORY. By now, we're all familiar with Advent Children's story. It's been two years since Meteorfall and the defeat of Sephiroth, but the planet is plagued by a new terror: Geostigma. The original provided few details on the disease, but the full effects are in shocking display in ACC. Citizens stagger thru back alleys, coughing up black liquid while the skin peels from their bones. New dialogue from Rufus Shinra provides insight into the stigma's origin; Whereas most blame the sickness on the remnants of the Lifestream in the atmosphere, Rufus places the blame on the will of Sephiroth.
A lot of the story remains intact with the original, with a few well needed exposition pieces added here and there. Shinra Corp. is still keeping the whereabouts of JENOVA hidden, Cloud continues his search for a cure to Geostigma, and the remnants of Sephiroth (Kadaj, Loz & Yazoo) set out for a reunion of their own. A lot of it just makes more sense thanks to added scenes and dialogue.
The relationships between the characters is explored in much greater detail in ACC. The trust and belief in each other present from the employees of the Shinra Corp., The strength of the original group, even the remnants show a little more of themselves. Particular importance is placed on the relationship of Cloud and Zack, whose importance in Cloud's life both then and now is shown in a poignant scene in the film's final battle.
theLOOK. Displaying at full 1080p, it seems almost needless to mention the beauty of this film. The detail on display is absolutely stunning, whether it be the frayed wires of a broken tower or the scrapes and dirt on the face of a warrior. Many of the battle sequences have been extended, in particular the final battle between Cloud and Sephiroth.
A particularly beautiful (yet violent) sequence sees Cloud unleashing an Omnislash on his opponent, only to be parried at every strike, impaled thru the chest and launched into the skies above. His longtime foe following behind with devastating pierces thru his body, and leaving the hero laying in a pool of his own blood on the rooftop below.
The only disappointment is a slight, but noticeable, difference in the new and old scenes. While the best was given to spruce up what was already there, the added scenes stand apart with their attention to detail and design.
theSOUND. The music is mostly the same as the DVD release, with a few noteworthy exceptions. New versions of two personal favorites: "Anxious Heart" and "Aerith's Theme" make much needed appearances in the film where original compositions just didn't cut it before.
A new song for the ending credits, entitled "Safe and Sound" has also been produced for this HD remix. Featuring AC original Kyosuke Himuro and Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, it's a definite improvement over the decade old "Calling" of the original, and i'll be damned if it's not rather catchy.
For those wondering, the JP release does feature both English and Japanese audio, with all of the vocal cast reprising their roles. The lone exception is a new voice actor for Marlene, though it was well worth it to hear her hilariously cute impression of her father towards the middle of the film.
theEND. All in all, Advent Children Complete is an example of a director's cut done right. More of the story is explained, there's a great balance of new and old material, and it makes it an overall better film. Critics of the original's plot would do well to give this re-release a viewing.
In the end, when the credits finish rolling, we cut to a cliff overlooking the steel city with eight towering reactors. Flowers have bloomed, not at a grave, but rather the place where a hero began his journey.
The sword that once stood guard here, rusted and worn, has moved on. Shining and valiant once more, it rests in an all too familiar church, nestled in a bouquet of golden flowers in the slums of Sector 5.
Safe and Sound~
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