Friday, September 16, 2005

Final Fantasy VII - Advent Children: coolest action scenes ever?

You don’t need me to tell you how friggin cool this thing is as it’s been done by other, more timely and connected websites. Still, it’s worth noting that the 3D animated FFVII film offers MORE than simple fan service: that simple fan service is in actuality the single best collection of action sequences in years.

Special effects developments in Cinema tend to be showcased in sprawling Blockbuster hits: Star Wars, Jurassic Park and more recently The Matrix. The original Hollywood Final Fantasy Movie was supposed to showcase the possibilities of CGI as a valid medium for (semi) serious action filmmaking, promising to cut down effects costs while upping the possibilities. Sadly this was not to be as the movie undoubtedly SUCKED and featured NOTHING that couldn’t be done with actual actors who didn’t take years to render on screen. It’s no exaggeration to say that the film was an embarrassment and that it became a symbol for CGI’s failure as a substitute for live actors. The rationale was “why use CGI when it looks crappier than live action and offers minimal benefits?”

We now have the answer: YOU try choreographing a fight scene as awesome as Cloud vs. Sephiroth in Advent Children. I dare you.

Indeed, Advent Children’s action sequences are a marvelous thing to behold with too many highlights to even think about singling out the coolest moments after just one viewing. While the character development (unlike FF the movie) was minimal, no one gives a shit as one is supposed to watch this thing after having played an RPG comprising of over 40 hours worth of damn development. Clearly, this movie was all about le kick ass. What flimsy excuse for a plot there is doesn’t aspire to much more than quality fanfic work, failing to build upon the interesting ideas of the game, but what it lacks in originality it makes up for in pure fun. All the old characters are back, all the important ones have at least one kick ass moment and Cloud (who’s looking mighty emo with that hair over his eye and crippling self doubt, incidentally) simply kicks ass for 90 minutes.

It’s kind of sad that Advent Children requires so much prerequisite gaming to be a worthwhile experience as action scenes are probably the most boundary pushing fights since the Matrix startled the world in 99. While it’s fair to say that the kind of action shown here has been represented in 2D for years in Manga and Anime form, it’s a whole other ballgame when this kind of hyper kinetic fighting in done in 3D. I have a feeling that right now, some producer, somewhere has just watched this movie and gone “holy shit, this thing works” and is going to start pre-prod on something similar which will probably shock the US in a few years while we’re all shaking our head exasperated at the lack of originality and sluggishness of American studios.

All in all, if you’ve seen the game, pick this up immediately. I’ll definitely be seeing it on the big screen come October at a local film festival. If you haven’t played the game, give it a download (or a rental come December) for the sake of the mind blowing visuals. They’re that good.

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