Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is the official name of a DVD that will be released by Square-Enix, presumably sometime in 2004. However, it seems most likely that it will in fact be a movie, because no standard RPG elements have been shown or discussed by Square.

It is currently unknown whether this product will be a full-fledged videogame or a simple movie, but from the screenshots and trailers that have been released, it is known that Advent Children will feature some very high-quality CG animation.

Scenes from the trailer highlight an epic sword fight between Cloud and Sephiroth. There are also scenes of Cloud walking through a church, with beautifully rendered stained glass, and an ominous scene featuring Sephiroth standing, surrounded by flame.

The official website (http://www.square-enix.co.jp/dvd/ff7ac/) is only available in Japanese, so I am personally unable to understand the content. However, a paraphrase from (http://www.rpgfan.com/news/2003/2267.html) reads:

It was revealed that after two years of peace, the Northern Crater, where Cloud and his friends defeated Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII, is showing abnormalities. This coincides with the occurrence of an illness, called "Planet Scar Syndrome" which effects the entire world. All of the sudden three men appear in front of Cloud. And among them he sees the remnants of his old nemesis, Sephiroth.

In some ways, Advent Children is a double sequel. Not only does it follow the events of Final Fantasy VII, it also Square's second foray into the full-length film (probably) industry. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was the first, and only received mixed reviews. Because of this, the wisdom of producing a second motion picture has been questioned. However, it has also been said that any sequel to FF7, possibly the most successful and well-known RPG of all time, is sure to succeed. Only time will tell.


sources:
http://www.square-enix.co.jp/dvd/ff7ac/
http://www.the-magicbox.com/game092503a.htm
http://www.rpgfan.com/news/2003/2267.html
ps2.ign.com

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, was released September 10, 2005 in Japan, and is due for theatrical release in the US on November 29, 2005. I'm something of a fan of Final Fantasy VII, so I got my hands on an import copy.

(I promise no major spoilers)

Before I begin: I don't recommend this movie to anyone who hasn't played Final Fantasy VII (and remembers most of it). Take this as a negative mark against the film if you wish, but it was created for the fans.

This is a beautiful movie: the characters are well done and detailed (yes, even Cloud's hair), the scenery is beautiful, and the action scenes are elaborate and fast paced. The story is less impressive: there's not much character development and many of the characters only show up for fight scenes and the occasional comic relief. The story is mainly focused around Cloud, who has cliche, "hopeless hero" attitude about him. The events of the movie follow logically from the story of FFVII with a few unexpected plot twists thrown in. However, I think to minor or non-fans of the game it would seem like a cheesy and fairly pointless excuse to animate the characters in big action scenes.

The action scenes are definitely impressive, and some of them are very fun to watch. Tifa's fight scene, which we got a glimpse of in the trailer, is possibly my favorite scene of the whole movie. However, many of the action scenes suffer from the same problem that plagued the second two Matrix movies: they go on for far too long. There are only so many times you can see Cloud perform physically impossible motorcycle stunts before you feel like you've seen them all. Some of the scenes also suffer from the "Why are we here?" syndrome; where an obviously one-sided and pointless fight seems to go on for far longer than anyone expects.

So, the action scenes are repetitive and never-ending, the story is cheesy, and character development is practically non-existent, so is this a bad movie? Well... yes. Did I enjoy watching it? Oh yeah. Would I watch it again? Definitely.

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