2 Years Later...
This is, in my opinion, is still the best CG animated film to date.. however, I have decided to amend my review after the intial "buzz" of the movie. I had rated it with all 10s but at the time I don't think I was thinking logically and objectively. Every field except the story and character does deserve a 10/10 in my opinion, however the story and character elements were a bit shallow which drag the movie down, albeit not much in my opinion. If you're a die hard fan of Final Fantasy 7 (and I confess, I am) you will enjoy this movie on a whole other level to people uninitiated to the Final Fantasy 7 experience. If you're a new comer to Final Fantasy 7, this movie won't make a whole lot of sense, and the characters will seem flat, I promise however that the characters are far from flat, just the movie doesn't attempt to develop them any further than the video game did. Onto the review;
If I had not played Final Fantasy 7 before watching this I would've rated this alot lower.. maybe even a 3/10 (I originally rated this a 10/10 purely because I was buzzed after finishing it). I opted for a 5/10 rating on this amendment which I think is more realistic, however, remember that 5/10 is an average rating, not a bad rating. The story is very shallow, and very confusing, not really propelling the movie forward, however, this is the movie's only major shortcoming in my opinion. Don't let the lack of a coherent story drive you away from this movie, the action packed fighting scenes and breathtaking animation more than make up for it. Now for a description of the story;
2 years after Cloud and his friends saved the world from Sephiroth, a strange disease called Geostigma starts to plague the inhabitants of the world. This disease is believed to have been caused by the body fighting off foreign material that invaded people's bodies after the final battle in Final Fantasy 7. Guilt-ridden and haunted by his past, ex-SOLDIER Cloud Strife has decided to live a secluded, solitary life away from his friends while maintaining "Strife's Delivery Service", whose headquarters is located in Tifa Lockheart's bar, the Seventh Heaven. Tifa's bar serves as an orphanage for children stricken with Geostigma. Here, Tifa keeps an eye on Barret's six-year-old daughter, Marlene, while Barret searches the planet for an alternative energy source to the fossil fuel, Mako. One day, Cloud receives a phone call from the former Shinra, Inc. president, Rufus, asking him for protection from a mysterious man named Kadaj. Kadaj, in the meantime, along with his brothers Loz and Yazoo, are searching for their "mother", and seem to believe that Cloud knows where to find her. Meanwhile, Vincent Valentine has been wandering the planet gathering information on Kadaj's scheme, and Cloud and his friends must come together again to fight these new enemies.
The movie falls flat here as the story doesn't really seem to make much sense. The purpose of the story just seemed to be some rails in which to guide the movie into more fighting scenes. While this usually is a bad thing, in this movie it was actually good thing. The story isn't the main focus which is good as it just isn't strong enough to keep the viewers attention but because it serves as nothing more than a reason fueling the fight scenes, it actually boosts the movie on that aspect. The first half of the movie is spent introducing all the key characters into the tapestry of the plot and most of the second half is packed to bursting with fight scenes. Just when you want some action to start up, the movie delivers with perfect timing.. and it delivers it with such force that you're left on the edge of your seat, wanting more.
First thing's first, this movie looks stunning. The CG is beautiful and the characters look almost life like, yet they still retain the general feel of their video game counterparts. The animation is vivid and flows with a fluidity unseen to me before in a CG animation, it's just awe inspiring. There are alot of action scenes in this which test the limits of the animation, but everything is pulled of spectacularly, pulling you to the edge of your seat during fights and keeping you there. At one point I stopped blinking, in fear that I may miss a tiny segment of the amazing action playing infront of my eyes.
If you're a fan of the Final Fantasy games, you'll feel right at home here. All the way through the movie I found myself grinning with delight while a guitar heavy version of the Final Fantasy 7 soundtrack played throughout. At the end of one of the fights the "Battle Won" fanfare played which put me in hysterics. With Nobuo Uematsu composing the entire soundtrack from scratch I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. All the Final Fantasy 7 songs are remixed with either crunching guitar riffs that make you nod your head in delight, beautiful piano melodies that send shivers through your body, or orchestrial masterpieces fused with techno beats that leave your heart racing.. there is something for everyone in this sound track.
An all-star cast make up the seiyuu, each character fitting their video game counterpart like a glove, matching the attitude and general feel of their character with perfection. You could really tell alot of thought went into the casting for these voice actors and it really pays off.
If you haven't played Final Fantasy 7 before, you won't be excited about the character appearances in this movie. Infact, if you haven't played Final Fantasy 7 all these characters will seem extremely flat and lacking any real character. However, for those of you who have played Final Fantasy 7, you know the characters inside out by now, and like me feel they really needed no introduction. All the characters are well developed and complex, playing large roles in the game, but for the viewer who hasn't experienced Final Fantasy 7 these characters will mean nothing to you. Although they attempt some development of Cloud in the movie, it falls flat like the story and just wastes time that could've been used more effectively. Square produced this movie knowing full well that a majority of it's viewers would be the die-hard Final Fantasy 7 fans (me included), and speaking for a majority of the fans, the characters were very much like their video game counterparts. Kadaj was the only character with any real development, although it is a little weak. As the movie progresses he feels more and more overshadowed by Sephiroth and just wishes to get attention from his "Mother", which makes him do drastic things. In the grand scheme of things he is still a villian, but even Cloud realises at the end just how weak and fragile he really is.
Overall Rating: (7.75/10)