I put spoilers in the title to deter those who haven't watched the movie from reading this. That being said, there's really not much to spoil. This movie is SO devoid of plot it's rather sad, seeing as the original Final Fantasy VII that caused so many to flock to the genre of role playing games had a rather good one. The movie lacks character development, explanations, and also is rather cliche and predictable.
However, I loved it.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is a series of cool moments, with fight scenes that make Agent Smith's mouth gape in awe. The most beautiful CG in existence compliments all this, accompanied by what may just be Nobuo Uematsu's last real work for SquareEnix. The characters are, for the most part, voiced well, and, for what they are, they're all rather enjoyable. So let's go through the movie, and again, thar be spoilers:
We get Cloud, which was pretty obvious to everyone. He's got a motorcycle, a slight change in clothing, and a NEATO sword which he can attach all his different swords to. The thing about Cloud in this film is that, as a character, he takes a step back. He's despondent, an enigma, and very much a loner in the first portion of Final Fantasy VII, and then he learns that he is not alone. Apparantly the disease that Cloud contracts causes amnesia, as he learns it all over again.
We're also introduced early on to our main protagonists: Yazoo, Loz, and Kadaj. Yazoo and Loz are henchmen, essentially, and rather unimportant aside from the fact that they have awesome fight scenes (and hey, like I said, aside from the awesome fight scenes, there IS nothing important in this film). Kadaj is, apparantly, a clone of Sephiroth. Or of Jenova. Or he's been created by the Lifestream.
To be honest, one of the main problems with this film's lack of plot is the fact that we don't get to care about these villains. When Kadaj dies, we're supposed to feel for him... but where did he come from? What's his motivation? He "feels" Sephiroth? That's not enough. Give these guys an origin. This movie could've done with another hour of setup.
Aside from that, they're all three very cookie-cutter villains. They kidnap some children (the aforementioned children of the Advent variety), one of whom Cloud and Tifa know (but of course, he's not really explained), turn them into zombies, and then Tifa makes them not zombies. They also kidnap Marlene, who's sole role in the movie is to care more about Cloud and Tifa than her "father," Barrett.
Tifa's our secondary main character. She begins as a major player in the beginning, taking on Loz (or perhaps it was Yazoo? Again, lack of character development) by herself, and then she falls into the background with AVALANCHE.
Yes, every member of AVALANCHE appears in some form, even my personal favorite, Cait Sith. Aside from Vincent, however, they all seem to be pretty much cameos. The sad part about this is that most of the fans won't care. They're here to see Cloud and Aerith and Sephiroth and Reno, not Cid and Yuffie and Barrett. The team members get in one good (REALLY good) fight scene, and then they're relegated to the background.
We're also treated to the Turks, Reno and Rude. Outside of the battles, they're essentially the best part of the movie. Unlike Cloud, they have character, they have emotion. Reno's face has to be the most animated face in the entire movie. They're working for Rufus, who is inexplicably alive following his really amazing death in-game. Rufus' motivations or actions are never really explained, making his return seem rather pointless, another loose end that will probably never be addressed.
In the end, Cloud fights everyone, Kadaj becomes Sephiroth, and Cloud beats him. Then Cloud almost dies, but Aerith talks to him and he doesn't. Then everyone laughs. The end. Predictable schlock? Totally. But man, them some pretty graphics, no?
To supplement my point, here are some of the coolest points in the film:
- Cloud using a limit break (the super Climhazard during the Bahamut battle being my favorite).
- Cid being the only one other than Cloud to really land any good shots on Bahamut.
- Rude's glasses. Classic!
- Rufus's fight scene. Perhaps the one part of the film that had me jumping out of my seat.
- Loz's ringtone.
- The fight with Sephiroth.
- Pretty much any of the fights (which was about 3/4 of the movie).
Like I said, it's pretty, it's fast-paced, and it is INCREDIBLY fun. It's a really good movie.
It's just not great.