What does Advent Children mean to you?

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Hello all!


Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has been my favorite movie ever since it came out, and for the past few years, I’ve been studying it to find out why I like it so much. This has included examining similar CGI movies to see why nothing has quite reached its caliber. I recently wrote a series of articles in which I discuss a theory that Advent Children tells a story primarily through action and visuals that can be interpreted in multiple ways.


I’m curious to know what this film means to other people. As a CGI movie enthusiast who hasn’t spent much time with the Final Fantasy VII game, I interpret Advent Children’s story mostly through the imagery and themes, such as reunion and solitude, life and death, and mental illness, in the film itself. Over the past few months, I’ve read interpretations from Final Fantasy VII fans that I would have never thought of. One review pointed out the similarity between Cloud’s relationship with Sephiroth in the game and Kadaj’s relationship with Cloud in the movie. Some reviewers say that Cloud’s personality in the movie didn’t match what they expected from what happened in the game. Others argue that it makes sense. Some say that Cloud fights alone at the end of the movie because he’s the only one with a reason to fight. In the game, all his friends had personal reasons to fight Sephiroth. Others say the battle with Cloud and Sephiroth at the end of Advent Children is irredeemably pointless fanservice.


Gathering these opinions through film reviews has been difficult though since reviews of this movie rarely discuss its storytelling or filmmaking techniques. Most reviewers simply say that the story is incomprehensible or non-existent, or they claim that the creators don’t know how to make a film, don’t understand their own universe, or only made this film to make money off fanservice. In Advent Children’s case, I think this is rather insulting and disrespectful, especially when reviewers make no attempt to understand what the creators were doing and explain why it didn’t work for them.


So I thought I would find some Final Fantasy forums and ask you all directly. Why do you like or dislike this film? What does this film mean to you? Do you have favorite scenes or favorite shots? What do you like about them? Who are the children? Who is Denzel? Who or what does the wolf represent? Why did we need to see a scene of Cloud’s phone falling to the bottom of a pool? What is the point of Cloud and Tifa lying in a field of flowers while whimsical music plays in the background?


If you’d like more information/examples on this topic, you can read my articles on Advent Children on the Extra Life Community website here:


http://community.extra-life.org/art...n-what’s-beneath-the-fan-service-part-1-r991/


http://community.extra-life.org/art...n-what’s-beneath-the-fan-service-part-2-r999/


http://community.extra-life.org/art...-what’s-beneath-the-fan-service-part-3-r1011/


Note that I’m discussing the original film, but feel free to talk about the added/modified scenes in Advent Children Complete. Make sure to specify which version of the film you’re talking about.


Thank you for your time!
 

Example

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I used to like it when it first came out, but after completing FF7 for the first time a few years back I understand and even agree with why it's so hated. Even setting aside the fact that it doesn't make a lick of sense unless you've played the game, it's the ultimate nostalgic cashgrab that was 100% made for the money, no different than the notorious straight-to-video Disney sequels. It just went through the motions without doing anything new in terms of story, character development or lore, and it's even worse due to the majority of the game's beloved cast being shoved into the background to make room for three uninteresting, nearly identical villains with the same personality. At times it even detracts from the original FF7; it almost seems after playing the game for over 40 hours you never accomplished anything at all, since Sephiroth is destined to come back and probably still could come back at any time, and the Shinra corporation that had caused so much damage the planet is still in operation.

Basically it just had no real reason to exist besides making money off the fans.
 
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So when comparing it to the game, you hate Advent Children, but when comparing it to nothing, you liked it? Advent Children is arguably a bad sequel, but does that make it a bad movie?


Advent Children actually does some really interesting and unique things with its story, character development, and filmmaking techniques. Consider that this is an action film that features a personal drama about a guy struggling with the deaths of two friends and memories of past enemies. This story could have taken place in a brand new universe, but it instead told this story through Final Fantasy VII elements. The film tells its story almost entirely through action and visuals as opposed to spoon feeding an obvious tale through dialog. Finally, it is a fully computer generated, feature length film that approaches but purposefully avoids photorealism and stars human characters that successfully cross The Uncanny Valley. This is an extremely unconventional action movie, both the story and the way it is told.


I'd also argue that this film makes sense but can be difficult to understand regardless of whether you've played the game or not. There are certainly things that only Final Fantasy VII fans will understand or care about, but I think almost anyone, fans and non-fans, can relate to Cloud and follow him through the film's strange setting. The problem is that Advent Children rarely uses dialog, and when it does, the characters rarely explain to the audience what's happening. The film gives its viewers the respect and space to put its pieces together themselves, which opens it to interpretation. It has a story... but only if you take the time to find it in its action and visuals. Unfortunately, many assume that it doesn't contain a story, or a good story, for a multitude of reasons without even examining the movie.


I find it hard to believe that this film exists only to pull money out of fans. It attracted many new people to Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy in general. You sound like one of them. Of course, the creators wanted to make money. Artists need money to continue making art, and this film can be examined and classified as art. Its association with a video game only makes it more often examined and classified as fan service. This film chose to experiment with CGI, a very young storytelling medium, and unconventional filmmaking techniques over creating a straightforward tale stuffed with characters, details, and references to the game as every other fan service film would do. If it exists only for fans, then why did it do so much else?
 

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I actually first played FF7 before I ever saw the movie, but didn't really get into it until many years later. I enjoyed AC in the "turn your brain off and just watch the action" way, even though I didn't understand what was going on I mentally filled in the blanks and assumed it would have all been explained in the original. In a way I was right, but then I realised just how much AC detracted from the original FF7 experience. I had pretty much the exact same experience with MGS4, which was my favourite game for years until I played the first three games, then I perfectly understood all the hate it received since it crapped all over the story, characters, lore and legacy of the previous games, tied up all the loose ends in the laziest, most spiteful way possible. and provided one of the most unsatisfying conclusions ever told in a video game, all in the name of squeezing money from fanboys (Kojima admitted on record that he only made the game for the fans). Much like what AC did to FF7, but at least MGS4 had fun gameplay to make up for it (for like 4 or 5 hours, unfortunately).
 
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Some things I'd believe were only created for the money. Personally, I hate Advent Children Complete because almost everything added to the original film is fan service and pointless action. The new Star Wars movies are formulaic cash cows because Disney is too scared to try anything new. Final Fantasy XV is broken into so many pieces that I don't know if any of them can be enjoyed in isolation. I've only played the first MGS, so I can't really comment on it. MGS4 can still provide a fun gaming experience just as Advent Children can provide an excellent action movie in isolation though, even with the awareness of their faults in general or in the context of related media.


I have a hard time believing that Advent Children was only done for the money and only ruins the game. Really, I've heard as many theories from fans who defend the movie with content from the game as I've heard from FFVII fans who claim it undermines the game. I've talked to people who never played the game but understood the movie's basic premise. I've heard fans of the game claim it doesn't make sense to anyone on the assumption that the story in the movie is in the game. I've written reviews about why this movie's action and character-driven story entertains better than any CGI action movie out there (which admittedly, isn't a high bar). It has nothing to do with action for action's sake (unless the viewer is just the type of person who likes watching empty action). You can look at this film as something that malicious people who don't understand their own world created or as something that the creators made because they love Final Fantasy VII and wanted to do something unique with it. This film's openness to interpretation is both a blessing and curse.


...But the existence of Advent Children Complete is kind of an admittance that the creators have no idea what they made or why it was so effective... or some clueless producer thought it was a good idea.
 
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Yep. Pretty much how I feel about Advent Children is exactly the same way I feel about the new Star Wars movies (or any of them outside the original trilogy) and MGS4. And let's not forget Square did the exact same thing to FFX with X-2.5
 

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Advent Children was the first connection I have ever had with the FF franchise, so it's normal that it means me a lot, and it didn't change even these years.

As a teenager who hadn't played the original game before watching the movie, AC was still a powerful film to me. It had stunning visuals, great characters with such strong bonds I could feel even without playing the game. It had exciting plot, great twists, epic fight scenes and brilliant music. I just wanted to watch it again and again because it had everything I needed that time (and even now, hahaha). I knew it is just the top of the iceberg and the game has much more depth but I could still enjoy it with all my being.

But after playing the game and knowing the characters and the other parts of that iceberg, AC started to mean a lot more. It was the sequel of a legendary (and simply mind-blowing) game with all the greatness of it - condensed in a movie. As I see the game was the fall/failure Cloud (I know it's quite cruel/raw to say, but I'll explain it later), and AC was Cloud's propitiation.

I mean of course I realise that unbelievable depth FFVII has, but as I see AC's protagonist and main focus/centre character was Cloud, so I try to narrow the game's happenings just to Cloud's character to explain how I interpreted the movie's basic topic. So in the game we were able to find out what the real truth was behind Cloud's past. He (as ofc the other characters, too) suffered a lot, especially when

Spoiler!


But as I see, in AC he was able to finally find himself. I do believe he couldn't do it in the game (not even after realising his own past), but he had the opportunity to fix his broken character/soul. He couldn't turn time back, so he had all the scars caused by his past, but finally he was able to become the true and full Cloud. He was released from the pain caused by the guilt of you-know-which-character's-deaths. He was finally saved. He had to live with his sins, he had to bear the consequences of his/his friends' actions, but he finally was a whole again. Thanks to Aerith and the others.

So... yeah, basicly this is how I feel about this movie. It wasn't simply a nice show, but it was really important when it comes to the development of Cloud's character. And of course we could saw Sephiroth again~~~


Edit:
I answered (or at least tried to answer) these questions. :D

Do you have favorite scenes or favorite shots? What do you like about them?

My favourite part is when Sephiroth appears again, and Cloud starts to fight him. That moment when Cloud say "You don't understand anything. There's no such thing that isn't important." is a scene I always makes me shiver - I love it! And I also love the AC Complete's extra scenes, too!

Who are the children? Who is Denzel?
As I interpret the story, Denzel is the guilt all of the AVALANCHE members. All the pain they caused to innocent citizens, in the form of a young boy. I must say I love how they put him into the story, he fits great!

Who or what does the wolf represent?
Haha, great question! When I think about it, I am always reminded of Cloud when it comes to that wolf. Cloud is a loner, a lone wolf. But after meeting all his friends, he finally gets that troop/flock (due to the fact that I'm not a native speaker, I really don't know which noun to use, lol. My translator gave me about 10 nouns when I searched for the word which means "group of wolves" xD These seemed to be the best from that list of words).

Why did we need to see a scene of Cloud’s phone falling to the bottom of a pool?

When it comes to that scene, I always associate to that scene when

Spoiler!


What is the point of Cloud and Tifa lying in a field of flowers while whimsical music plays in the background?
Omg, I really don't know. Maybe to show how beautiful they are outside, but how destroyed their soul is inside? Maybe?xD
 
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​To me it was a comfort seeing Cloud be able to come to terms with what happened to Aerith and knowing that she would be his spiritual guide when he needs her. I would like to think that could happen in real life although only certain people believe it.
 
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I'd been waiting for this movie for years, following its inception from a short movie to a feature length. I often wonder how much time I wasted keeping up to date with it... I was so excited when it finally saw release in the UK! To me, it was like catching up with old friends, a Reunion if you will. To see them in a way I can relate to even more, modernized and without the pixels and hooves, almost made me cry. Its by no means a perfect movie, and oftentimes I wish they'd done more with the opportunity, but I'm ever grateful for it. And with a remake of the installment that spawned the Compilation on the horizon I believe that VII isn't going away any time soon!
 

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#10
I actually quite liked Advent Children and I'm sometimes a bit baffled to see that so many people hate / dislike it.

I certainly think it was better than Spirits Within, although that might be my bias for FFVII, lol. I wish it was a bit more fleshed out, and of course, as a Cloud and Tifa lover, I wish we had a few more scenes with them, but overall I really enjoyed it.

I also enjoyed Advent Children: Complete.
 
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