The magical kingdom of Lucis is home to the hallowed Crystal, but the menacing empire of Niflheim will stop at nothing to make it theirs. War has raged between the two for as long as most can remember. King Regis of Lucis commands an elite force of soldiers dubbed the Kingsglaive. Wielding their king's magic, Nyx Ulric and his fellow glaives stand before the crown city of Insomnia, fighting to stay the inexorable advance of Niflheim's imperial army.
Say anything you like about how convoluted Final Fantasy 7 was becoming with every new entry, but Advent Children was a good movie. From the exceptional soundtrack, to the CGI that still looks amazing after a decade, to the cool action scenes, to seeing the characters more human-like. Even the plot which was confusing and rushed flows far better if you watch the extra footage from the complete version. Kingsglaive on the other hand has nothing going for it besides the CGI, and maybe the action if are not confused by the constant teleporting everybody does every 10 seconds. There is no investment when you begin watching it, since it’s a prequel to Final Fantasy 15. You don’t know any of the characters, you don’t care about them, and you are not even going to see most of them again. You are not even going to get a full story like in The Spirits Within, since it’s just a prologue for the game. It ends openly with the bad guys winning and you not being satisfied at all. Which I guess is the point, so you will head for the game in order to find closure. But let’s assume you don’t know any of that and you are blindly going in, not knowing anything about it. Let’s be more objective and imagine the movie as a standalone experience. Do that and be ready to scratch your head every 10 minutes, since it’s impossible to follow what is going on. From magic that seems to work in any way the plot wants it to work, to character motivations that change 3 times over the course of the movie, to war tactics that make no sense. I had no idea of what was going on half the time because of the awfully written script. And it’s not because everybody was being cryptic or the plot was very subtle. The exposition was in your face, and they were infodumping everything simply enough for even babies to understand what is happening. The leaps in logic were the problem; everybody was constantly jumping to conclusions and stuff was happening out of screen, constantly messing with the continuity. - Why was Crow murdered?- Why did nobody besides Crow know there was a beacon in the hairpin, and then suddenly everybody knew?- Why were the Glaives allowed to save Luna without being exposed by their traitors right away?- Why did Regis fail to stop the treason even after he was told about it?- Why was Nyx standing still, looking at Regis getting killed, when Regis was supposed to be stalling time for Nyx to get away?- How did the guard in the palace suddenly appear in a car, when he was injured and captured half an hour earlier?- Why was the city bombarded when the goal was to get the crystal and Luna and not to kill all the citizens?- How did Nyx know the ring would not kill him?- Why didn’t Luna use the ring all this time? I couldn’t even enjoy the action as mindless entertainment. There was so much debris falling all over the place that I couldn’t see the characters. There was no fluent battle choreography since everybody was constantly teleporting all over the place. There wasn’t even good lipsync despite the original version being in English. In general, there are close to no proper transitions or scene compositions. Even the soundtrack was completely forgettable, which is the most memorable thing of Advent Children, although I guess that had more to do with the songs being remakes from the game. That brings us back to the same problem of not caring because the movie is establishing things instead of expanding them, and does a very bad job at it. So you basically waste 2 hours watching a terribly written opening to a videogame that is not even out yet, about stuff blowing up, characters who are constantly teleporting, and a plot that is never making any sense, before everything ends with an after-credits scene where some guys you never saw before are driving in the desert. Great job you guys; if that is supposed to make me excited for the game, you failed miserably. Advent Children remains the best CGI anime movie of all times, and everybody only anticipates the Final Fantasy 7 remake. To hell with the mess that is 15.
Rating Kingsglaive is somewhat a matter of perspective. Square Enix may sell it as a movie, but that's not really what it is: It's first and foremost a two-hour long prologue for Final Fantasy XV. So if you don't plan on playing the game, Kingsglaive won't really be worth your time, because as a standalone it simply doesn't have enough to offer. However, should you feel the need to play the game it is a nice addition, as long as you don't think about the plot (and its holes) too hard. Especially since Square Enix seems to assume you saw the movie at the beginning of FF XV. Compared to its companion Brotherhood, which focuses mostly on the games protagonists, Kingsglaive sheds light on the political backgrounds and the major events that went on prior to the game. Of the two Brotherhood is actually more successful in capturing the games overall atmosphere and its theme of companionship. Kingsglaive mainly bets on its amazing visuals and fast-paced action scenes, attempting to overshadow Square Enix's try to squeeze in as many plotpoints as the two-hour runtime allows. This overload of different story-parts is ultimately the movies' biggest issue. Not the overall ideas are bad, and yes it's nice that most characters get at least somewhat of a background, but in the end some stuff could have been cut and in return other parts could have been emphasized further. You get the overall feeling that there were simply a lot of things they had and wanted to tell, even though not everything was necessary. The protagonist Nyx does a fine job as a main character, though he is also quite bland at the same time; he is more or less a very typical hero, without any real edges or flaws and behaves exactly how you'd expect him to. However, I think it should be mentioned that he seems to be quite popular in the fanbase. Aside from him characters like Lunafreya or King Regis get a bigger spotlight in the movie; which is good since they are not all too present in the game despite being pretty essential to the plot. Sadly they remain quite characterless too, just like the rest of the cast. Probably the movies' biggest asset is its superb animation: it looks absolutely stunning and shows what has become possible with CG-animation by now. Compared to most other CG-movies which tend to use a very cartoonish style, Kingsglaive features (relatively) realistic faces and settings. Kingsglaives soundtrack is quite extensive, but at same time rather forgettable. It certainly serves its purpose, but most tracks are more or less generic orchestral pieces that don't really stand out. I'd recommend Kingsglaive only to those who play or plan on playing FF XV or those who like to be entertained by the eye-candy the movie undoubtedly is. To me it was a little-better-than-average experience...and I'm a big Final Fantasy fan.
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