Friday, 20 February 2009

Modern Reviews - Final Fantasy VII Advent Children

The Japanese are immensely better than us at many things the first and most important thing is being completely batshit insane. Rather than being a hinderance this is actually highly beneficial to their creative output.

Today I watched the absolutely gorgeous but completely nonsensical Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. It's a feature film sequel to a video game released in 1997 on the PSX (PSone to all your UK fans). The gist of the video game put you in the shoes of the preposterously named Cloud Strife, an androgenous manga-haired blonde mercenary, on a quest to stop the sinister Shinra corporation from draining the planet of energy life force. For all this i remember Final Fantasy VII as being a spectacular game with an environmental slant all set in a dystopian japanese created wonderland in glistening 3D. This was back when 3D was new and crazy.

So it was with some vague nostalgic anticipation that I watched Advent Children today whilst working. Much to my amusement the storyline made absolutely no sense starting with the assumption that you knew what the fuck had been happening immediately before the titles started. I would find it hard to believe even a die hard fan could make sense of the plot or gain any further understanding of the Final Fantasy universe. However, and its a big however, the visuals blew my brains out. I have literally never seen any 3D animation of this quality and beauty. Protagonists clothes flap in the changing breezes, the typically oversized eyes glisten with real depth, and the large building destruction really have a weight to them. Stylistic flourishes tend to lead to insanely over the top concepts... Clouds main weapon is a 5 foot sword made up of at least 6 other swords and probably weighing at least half a tonne and yet he swings it around like an empty wrapping paper tube on Christmas eve. There is also about ten years too much fighting on motorbikes. And you thought there couldn't ever be too much fighting on motorbikes. Akira this is not.

Cloud seems to have changed from my memories of the PSX game from a chirpy plucky hero into the ultimate androgynous emo. It's like the lead singer of My Chemical Romance only more feminine, carrying impractical equipment, and being able to jump 40 feet in the air. Tifa's got bigger jebs though so i guess everything works out.

All in all... if you forget about the plot and the general ridiculousness of the whole thing this is a visually rewarding experience. It's like letting your eyes have sex with the most beautiful and incomprehensibly exotic person whilst they spout random gibberish about 'lifeforce' and 'remnants' and after its all over you cant tell if they're a man or a woman.

It's exactly like that.

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