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October 18, 2009
Final Fantasy Advent Children Complete
Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
None7/10/2009Sony PicturesTetsuya Nomura
Takeshi Nozue
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4Dolby TrueHD 5.1PGVoiceovers

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Advent Children Complete looks fantastic.

When it comes to game franchises few compare to Square's (now Square-Enix's) Final Fantasy. The franchises 28 titles have amassed sales of 85 million units around the globe since the first game hit the NES way back in 1987. Of all those games Final Fantasy VII on the Playstation remains a firm fan favourite despite the somewhat disappointing ending. That's where Final Fantasy Advent Children VII steps in. This provides a fitting ending to the videogame, but as a feature length, direct to DVD and Blu-Ray, movie.

Two years have passed since the ruins of Midgar stand as a testament to the sacrifices made in order to bring peace. However, the world will soon face a new menace. A mysterious illness is spreading fast. Old enemies are astir. And Cloud, who walked away from the life of a hero to live in solitude, must step forward yet again...

If you walk into this film with little or no knowledge of Final Fantasy VII then prepare to be confused. The themes and characters are quite unique and if you go in blind it would be easy to walk out just as confused. That could, in part, go some way to explaining the very different reception this movie received with different reviewers. For my, this is a great conclusion to one of the greatest videogames of all time. For my wife, who has never played the game, there were moments of entertainment, but raised more questions then it answered.

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Denzel gets more screen time in this film.
Advent Children Complete could be considered a directors cut of the original movie, except that it's so much more. Around 1000 edits have been made to the picture with around 26 minutes of additional footage put back into the film. Sadly the vast majority of this time doesn't focus on the main characters from the video game such as Cloud, nor add anything much to the cameo appearances, but does focus on Denzel and Kadaj's origins and does extend the final battle scene a bit.

Obviously aimed directly at fans of the Final Fantasy franchise, and especially those who know and love Final Fantasy VII this movie provides all the right ingredients that Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within did not. Characters taken from the games, a storyline that fills in more of the storyline, and plenty of action makes this a good action movie. The CG is certainly impressive, if a little plain in places, but this movie looks and sound the part and fans of the franchise would do well to check this out. Even if you've seen the original release there's enough new content here, and improved visuals (not just due to the higher resolution of the Blu-Ray) to make it worth another look.

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FFACC's character models impress...
Final Fantasy Advent Children Complete is presented on Blu-Ray at 1.78:1 meaning it will fill your Widescreen TV. The video has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec and the majority of the move hovers around the 18-24Mbps mark according to the PS3 we were running the disc on. The image is very impressive although there was the occasional scene (for instance the opening with the dust being kicked up by the motorbikes) where there appears to be some very minor and infrequent compression artifact. It will take a keen eye, and large TV, to spot them though so there isn't any major concerns. As expected, coming directly from a digital source means there are no film artifacts such as dirt or marks on the presentation.

In terms of the movies actual visuals this is an impressive effort. Originally conceived as a short film on a low budget the movie was finally given a full 90 minute runtime. The DVD release was impressive, but this version of the film has seen the filmmakers return to improve many of the visuals with better backgrounds, texturing and animation in places. Of course this new version of the film runs considerably longer too so there is plenty more to see.

Final Fantasy Advent Children Complete comes to Blu-Ray with both English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks. The English dub on this movie isn't completely terrible so if you have some aversion to having a movie subtitled then you can get away with the English track. It's interesting to note though that while the Japanese track is encoded with 24-bit audio, the English track is only 16-bit, however the differences in this release are pretty negligable overall.

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Cloud is back in Advent Children Complete.
Both audio tracks offer good use of surround sound channels with a lively sound field. I did, however, feel that the movie lacked some deep bass in scenes where there should have been; the rumbling of motorbikes, boom of gunshots, destruction of buildings and battling of foes seems to lack the heavy bass one would expect. That may have been a design decision, but it still doesn't help the overall audio experience on Blu-Ray. Still the overall audio design including voiceovers, and music during the climactic battle scenes does impress. Oh, just wait until you hear the ringtone playing at the 36:35 mark. Classic Final Fantasy!

Subtitles on this disc are provided in multiple languages with the English and English SDH tracks being accurate to the dialogue on-screen. Other subtitle tracks include Italian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Swedish and Turkish.

While not overly loaded there are quite a few extras on this disc worth your time if you liked the movie. The real disappointment comes from the fact that the Japanese release of this disc included a playable demo of Final Fantasy XIII as well as the first trailers for Final Fantasy Versus XIII on PS3 and Final Fantasy Agito XIII on PSP - all of which is omitted here. Besides that the lack of Behind the Scenes Making of featurettes is disappointing as these would have demonstrated the massive production efforts behind this movie. Still, let's see what we have...

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Some more gorgeous Final Fantasy visuals.
Legacy of Final Fantasy VII (6:38): This is a little disappointing in that it really only very briefly touches on the original games prior to Final Fantasy VII and when it does move onto the Playstation hit game little details are offered. Still it does show the 10th Anniversary projects on various platforms including the promotion of Final Fantasy Advent Children.

Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII (23:55): If you've played the Playstation game many years ago, or even the recent re-release on PSN then this will bring back a lot of memories. Essentially the entire storyline is played out with text on screen and set to the delightful music from the game. It's worth a watch to get a refresher before watching Advent Children actually.

Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII (29:43): This extra actually expands on the previous one by including storylines and scenes from other games in the franchise related to Final Fantasy VII.

On The Way To A Smile: Episode Denzel (28:07/HD): An animated cartoon which focuses on the young Denzel. It's presented in HD, but the image is actually a little softer then I expected and only offers 2 channel audio. Still, this offers quite a bit of back story to Denzel, and is worth a look.

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There's plenty of blood splatter!
Sneak Peek at Final Fantasy XIII (7:12/HD): Obviously a promotional trailer for the game due out in Japan in December 2009, and the rest of the world in 2010, this is a wonderful, and surprisingly lengthy look, and what to expect from this certain hit title.

Trailers (10:30/HD): Trailers for Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete from Jump Festa 2009, Tokyo Game Show 2008, DKS3713 2998, Tokyo Game Show 2007 and Square-Enix Party 2007.

While anyone can watch and enjoy this movie on any levels, if you've played Final Fantasy VII then there is no doubt that you will get more out of this movie then others. It looks pretty sensational, sound is solid, but a little subdued, while there are some decent extras too. One for fans of the Final Fantasy franchise to check out...

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Sony Pictures. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.