Saturday, May 27, 2006

A nontraditional sequel

I rented "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children" last week, and found it very enjoyable. I had played "Final Fantasy VII" on my Windows 98 machine several years ago, and made it to the final dungeon. It was a lot of fun, but I never did get around to finishing it. It was one of the classics for the role-playing genre.

"Advent Children" is a direct sequel to "Final Fantasy VII" for PlayStation and Windows. All of the characters are there, although some have larger roles than others. What is different about "Advent Children" is that it is a movie, not a video game. As far as I know, this is the only game-inspired movie to directly follow the storyline of the game it is based on. Others may use similar stories and the same characters, but "Advent Children" is a true sequel on DVD.

There were several nice touches for fans of the series. One of these was a refresher on what happened in "Final Fantasy VII", so you know what is going on when the movie starts. The moogle doll carried by one of the children in the film is a nice tip of the hat to fans of the series. The most fun, though, is the familiar "victory music" at the end of Tifa's battle with one of Sephiroth's stooges. It turns out that is the ring tone for the defeated villain's cell phone.

What strikes me is that, nearly a decade after "FF VII" was popular on the PlayStation, the characters still have enough staying power to be used in a movie, especially one that follows the original story so closely. There are three more video games and another movie planned expanding on the "Final Fantasy VII" universe. It will be interesting to see if some of the other games are expanded the way this one has been.

While "Advent Children" is great for fans of the video game, the movie is strong enough on its own to justify a rental even for those who have never played the game but are fans of science fiction and fantasy movies.

Final grade: B+