Title: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Anime(?): AC is a digitally animated film that was released in 2005 by Square-Enix (famous for the Final Fantasies, duhr!), and directed by Tetsuya Nomura (Kingdom Hearts, FFVIII, FFX, duhr!). The original version was released in Japan in 2005, and it finally made its way Stateside in April of 2006 thanks to Squenix NA and Sony.
There have been several super-deluxe ultimate editions released, as is Squenix's habit, and I'm not even going to bother covering those.
Story: I would assume that you know this, but maybe you've been hiding under a rock. Basically, it's two years after the Planet was almost destroyed by Meteor and Sephiroth, and now there's this disease called Geostigma striking the children, and Cloud's living life as a delivery man and being generally emo and such before he gets dragged back into things c/o three silver-haired men (ZOMG SEPHIROTHS?!).
In case you couldn't sense the sarcasm permeating the review up until this point, I'm not terribly impressed with this movie. The plot is very lacking, and I expect more from Squenix because I know they can deliver better than this.
No one gets any development (except Cloud, and that's only to from emo to zomgkickyourassSEPHIROTH!), which is disappointing, especially because we have the three silver-hairs who could've been developed pretty nicely, but are pretty much cardboard cutouts. This applies to the rest of the cast, too.
The plot is essentially something I could have found on Fanfiction.net, and about as well thought-out/executed, too. It boils down to Cloud emo, fight, fight, Cloud emo, silver-haired guys, fight, fight, Cloud emo, fight for the kids, fight, fight zomgsephiroth! Come on, Squenix! You've done better than this! Basically, it was very obvious that they did this simply to milk FFVII for everything that it's worth.
Art: It's Squenix, so it's guaranteed that the visuals are going to be astoundingly beautiful, which they are. The guys look prettier than the girls, for crying out loud!
I have a problem with the way they chose to cut this, though. Several people, both in the AC thread and in earlier reviews, have compared the editing to that of a music video. And it's not that far off. The cuts are very confusing, as are the angles, and it takes a few viewings to get used to it.
Music: It basically comes down to strings and choir background vocals mixed with hard rock. Not all that impressive, really. There are some good tracks ('For the Reunion', 'Aeris' Theme', whatever that one song is that plays during Tifa and Loz's fight, the AC version of One-Winged Angel), but it's not enough to save most of the soundtrack from repetition. Decent, overall.
Length: The repetition of the plot causes this to drag a little, despite how fast it moves along. The dragging is really obvious at the end, which is similar to Return of the King's in how long it takes to wrap up. Nomura admits this was originally planned as a twenty-minute short, but it just ended up expanding and expanding, and you can tell that it got a little bloated as it did.
Seiyuu: This is one of the saving graces of the film. I could watch this just for Rufus and Kadaj's seiyuu. And there are some top-tier seiyuu (Maaya Sakamoto as Aeris, most notably, and the guy who did Roy Mustang as Sephiroth) as well, and everyone else in the production carries their roles wonderfully.
Dub: However, what I said above doesn't go for the dub. The voices are amazingly bland when compared to their Japanese counterparts. Aeris and Tifa's voice actresses, most notably, deliver their lines like robots. The only ones who get close to their Japanese counterparts' performances are Kadaj and Sephiroth, and even those are pale imitations at best.
Performances like these are the reason I went to/usually stick to subs.
Overall: This was a disappointment to me, especially after I went out of my way to get a legal version. I'm hoping this doesn't carry over to the other Compilation of FFVII titles (though, from what I know thus far, Last Order didn't fare much better than this, and I've heard the same for Dirge of Cerberus, while the recently-released Crisis Core is said to be the best of the bunch). I know you're trying to get everything you can out of this, Squenix, but really, could you at least try for some quality?
Overall: 42/60; 70% (D)