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Thread: What does Advent Children mean to you?

  1. #31
    Edge7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentfuzzle View Post
    There's more than three (Cloud and Tifa in the church, the scene where Kadaj dies, Cloud with the townsfolk at the end of the movie...). The scenes you've listed are all from the first half of the movie, which is where Cloud gets his head together. I don't blame you for remembering only these scenes though. They're good ones! Also, half of Cloud's character development takes place in action scenes, so it's a little unfair to only count the non-action scenes.

    I think the fact that Cloud is angsty is awesome. He actually feels like a human being. Action movies with confident/headstrong protagonists with no other perceptible weaknesses are boring to me. It's shocking how weak Cloud is despite his super strength and physics-defying abilities.
    I'll admit, that's one of my favorite things regarding the character as well.

    I think may I have to readdress my problem with the fight scenes. They're *fine*, but my problem with most is that they go on for too long, or I feel like the audience doesn't learn anything. It's action for action's sake, or at least that's how they read to me. The one I'm thinking of in particular is the fight in the Sleeping Forest/Forgotten City in which Cloud goes to save the children. Going into the scene, we know that Cloud is outmatched by the three silver haired men, and that he doesn't believe he'll save the kids. After the fight scene, comprised of varied choreography involving creative use of the environment, the only new thing we learn is that Vincent's in the movie. The entire fight scene, while flashy, failed to engage with me because I felt it didn't add anything to the film. You could cut the scene out with the kids having already been moved to Edge and nothing would've changed. Granted, it's entirely possible that that's the film's weakest scene; It's been at least 7 or 8 years since I've watched the film in its entirety (though I will say that when I was super into this movie, I watched it at least 20 times, so I remember it pretty well), and I've only watched the "Complete" version once, so there might be some ambitious visual storytelling I had simply not noticed. I'm just throwing my two cents in on why time has soured this movie for me.
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  2. #32
    Skyblade's Avatar
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    Not a fan, personally. You say it's a good movie with its own message. If that was true, they would have just called it "Advent Children", and not "FFVII: Advent Children".

    If you remove the FFVII connection from the movie, does it still hold up? If the answer is "yes", then that's what they should have done.

    The movie ruins most of FFVII's story. Sephiroth is dead. He's ultra dead, having both his body and his mind torn to shreds by the Heroes at the end. It's the whole point of the final battle.

    The life stream is the life energy of all living things. Once you're absorbed into it, you're done. "Don't worry, he's part of the lifestream/planet now". Not "don't worry, he'll reincarnate as long as he really, really wants to". That doesn't happen. If it did, Sephiroth would sure as hell not be the first person of the trillions throughout the Planet's history (or vastly more, since this cycle takes place across the universe and is known by the spacefaring Cetra) to hold together after being absorbed.

    The movie cheapens the entire story of the game, pulls powers, characters, and plot elements out of nowhere, and largely exists just to give fans a big flashy fight scene between Square's ultra depressed Cloud (as opposed to the one we actually see in the game) and his arch nemesis, the broody "best villain of all time", which just means he can't ever die.

    But, hey, if you want a stupid mindless action flick between FF styled characters, go for it. It's a decent watch from that angle.
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  3. #33
    Watching from the Stars Sephiroth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edge7 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by silentfuzzle View Post
    There's more than three (Cloud and Tifa in the church, the scene where Kadaj dies, Cloud with the townsfolk at the end of the movie...). The scenes you've listed are all from the first half of the movie, which is where Cloud gets his head together. I don't blame you for remembering only these scenes though. They're good ones! Also, half of Cloud's character development takes place in action scenes, so it's a little unfair to only count the non-action scenes.

    I think the fact that Cloud is angsty is awesome. He actually feels like a human being. Action movies with confident/headstrong protagonists with no other perceptible weaknesses are boring to me. It's shocking how weak Cloud is despite his super strength and physics-defying abilities.
    I'll admit, that's one of my favorite things regarding the character as well.

    I think may I have to readdress my problem with the fight scenes. They're *fine*, but my problem with most is that they go on for too long, or I feel like the audience doesn't learn anything. It's action for action's sake, or at least that's how they read to me. The one I'm thinking of in particular is the fight in the Sleeping Forest/Forgotten City in which Cloud goes to save the children. Going into the scene, we know that Cloud is outmatched by the three silver haired men, and that he doesn't believe he'll save the kids. After the fight scene, comprised of varied choreography involving creative use of the environment, the only new thing we learn is that Vincent's in the movie. The entire fight scene, while flashy, failed to engage with me because I felt it didn't add anything to the film. You could cut the scene out with the kids having already been moved to Edge and nothing would've changed. Granted, it's entirely possible that that's the film's weakest scene; It's been at least 7 or 8 years since I've watched the film in its entirety (though I will say that when I was super into this movie, I watched it at least 20 times, so I remember it pretty well), and I've only watched the "Complete" version once, so there might be some ambitious visual storytelling I had simply not noticed. I'm just throwing my two cents in on why time has soured this movie for me.
    How does this scene not mean anything?
    Cloud drives to Aerith's grave
    Cloud and Aerith's spirit bond that was established in the main installment was used for the spirit talk
    Kadaj uses the composition of his remnant body to activate the children's Jenova leftovers that sleeps within their Geostigma
    Cloud wants to save those kids
    Vincent tells Cloud what he has found out about the gang as well as that he saved Tseng and Elena from dying

  4. #34
    Edge7's Avatar
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    None of that is in the actual fight. Typically a fight scene is supposed to change the status quo in someway. If I remember correctly, the kids drink Kadaj's ink water before Cloud even gets to the sleeping forest. You could just as easily have Cloud go to the Ancient City, have the scene with Aerith, and arrive at the Lake too late. Then he runs into Vincent, maybe he tried to rescue the kids and failed, and explains to Cloud what Geostigma is and who the three men are. Alternatively, you can give Cloud the objective of fighting Loz and Yazoo in order to prevent Kadaj from fully contaminating the water, that way the audience knows the stakes of what will happen should Cloud lose. The fight scene as it stands is just drawn out and unnecessary. Cool looking, but pointless.

    Even if the fight scene had the proper stakes, I wouldn't be invested because the action does a poor job of setting tension. The fight scene is so fast paced, I don't actually have time to digest who is winning. For example, there's a moment where Cloud has one sword knocked out of his dominant hand, but he retrieves it so quickly, I don't even have time to realize he was at a disadvantage. After that, Loz knocks down the tree Cloud's in and Yazoo starts firing at him. Cloud deflects his bullets like it's no problem. There's no tension in the fight because there's no struggle in the fight, any disadvantage Cloud is at is immediately handwaved away. I didn't even realize he was about to lose the fight until retroactively after I saw him lying on the ground, and EVEN THEN, the camera work is focused on Vincent's weird cape form flying all over the screen so I had to rewatch the scene to notice even that.

    There's constant information on the screen with no time to digest it, aside from a few split-second reaction shots. In wrestling it's important for the performers to "sell" a hit, to make it obvious they're in pain, because pain dictates the drama. If they gain the advantage by grabbing a chair, they make a big show out of it. If they see something that intimidates them, they overact to convey their fear. Anime does the same thing; Dragon Ball, abysmal though its pacing may be, makes a big deal whenever one character gains the advantage over the other, and I think its that sense of drama that has contributed to its enduring legacy. Advent Children, or at least this fight scene in particular, lacks that drama. There are moments when Cloud's at a clear disadvantage, but it never lasts long enough to leave an impression.

    Heck, the FFVII Extended Canon's had better CG fight scenes. The sparring match between Genesis, Angeal and Sephiroth in Crisis Core conveys its action a lot clearer and it's easy to tell Sephiroth has the upper hand through most of the fight, even with Genesis blitzing him.
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  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fynn View Post
    So much I idealism in this thread
    Indeed. I suspect there are also various types of cognitive bias all around. Part of this discussion is so we can all be a little less biased.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edge7 View Post
    The one I'm thinking of in particular is the fight in the Sleeping Forest/Forgotten City in which Cloud goes to save the children. Going into the scene, we know that Cloud is outmatched by the three silver haired men, and that he doesn't believe he'll save the kids. After the fight scene, comprised of varied choreography involving creative use of the environment, the only new thing we learn is that Vincent's in the movie. The entire fight scene, while flashy, failed to engage with me because I felt it didn't add anything to the film. You could cut the scene out with the kids having already been moved to Edge and nothing would've changed.
    I didn’t think of that before, that we know Cloud is outmatched, believes he will fail, and indeed that’s what happens. I don’t think you can get rid of this scene though. It’s the first scene where Cloud tries to fix something. It shows that he’s willing to try to save these sick orphans even though he believed he would fail, tried to ignore it, and fought against doing it. If he never tried and this scene didn’t exist, he would come off as a jerk and a coward, who left his foster son Denzel, his friend Marlene, and a bunch of kids in the hands of creepy guys in black leather. He’s still kind of a jerk and a coward for ignoring them in the first place (thus Marlene and Tifa’s rage), but at least he tries to make up for it.

    World-building-wise, this scene introduces materia, Cloud’s limit breaks, Kadaj’s weapon and fighting style, and ground-based sword/weapon battles. This is important to establish the rules and elements of combat that will be seen for the rest of the film. Perhaps it could be shorter, but at the same time, it can’t be too short. If Cloud lost too quickly, then it wouldn’t be as plausible that he could defeat a giant monster, Kadaj, and Sephiroth in later scenes with a little friendship magic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edge7 View Post
    The fight scene is so fast paced, I don't actually have time to digest who is winning. For example, there's a moment where Cloud has one sword knocked out of his dominant hand, but he retrieves it so quickly, I don't even have time to realize he was at a disadvantage. After that, Loz knocks down the tree Cloud's in and Yazoo starts firing at him. Cloud deflects his bullets like it's no problem. There's no tension in the fight because there's no struggle in the fight, any disadvantage Cloud is at is immediately handwaved away. I didn't even realize he was about to lose the fight until retroactively after I saw him lying on the ground, and EVEN THEN, the camera work is focused on Vincent's weird cape form flying all over the screen so I had to rewatch the scene to notice even that.
    I will admit that Advent Children occasionally has some vague camera angles such as Loz sucker punching Tifa in the church (or whatever he does) and Kadaj chopping Cloud out of the air in this fight scene. If the creators showed these things from any other camera angle, they would probably just look stupid. Most of the time though, Advent Children shows what it needs to show in its action and reaction shots and moves to the next shot. This film's shots really are packed with information that probably can’t all be absorbed in one viewing. If you’d like to see some truly terrible action movie camera angles that often fail to convey any new information whether you watch it in slow motion, multiple times, or not, watch Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.

    Of course, I can’t make you see anything in this film or make you like it… I can only strongly encourage you to watch it again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyblade View Post
    Not a fan, personally. You say it's a good movie with its own message. If that was true, they would have just called it "Advent Children", and not "FFVII: Advent Children".

    If you remove the FFVII connection from the movie, does it still hold up? If the answer is "yes", then that's what they should have done.
    I read a book recently called Finch by Jeff VanderMeer. It’s the third book in a trilogy but was written to be a standalone story. It takes place in a rotting city where the buildings are all basically giant mushrooms, fungus is everywhere and has various functions in society (there are even fungus guns), and these creatures called Gray Caps enslaved humanity and contaminated Earth with fungus or something like that. The world is never explained in detail. It just is, but the book still tells the complete story of a detective solving a mysterious murder/suicide.

    This is a technique used in short stories that take place in strange settings as well. Short stories usually don’t have the space to explain how the world came to be. They can only show their world and its limitations as it is.

    I feel like this is the case with Advent Children. It takes place in a very strange setting and provides just enough detail to get you through the story and create the illusion of a cohesive world. The only difference between Advent Children and a standalone short story is that if the world the movie takes place in really interests you, then you can go play the games, watch the anime, or read the novel and learn all about it. With a short story, that’s it (unless the author was lucky to attract enough attention to create more stories or a book in that universe).

    In this way, I think Advent Children could stand on its own had it been completely divorced from Final Fantasy VII, but because it uses Final Fantasy VII elements as the medium to tell its story and deliver its messages, there’s no removing “Final Fantasy VII” from its title.

    This is purely speculation, but Square Enix making an original film in 2005 doesn’t strike me as something they should have done. The company’s previous attempt at creating a film was the box office flop Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Creating another original film would be too much of a risk since people were already disillusioned in their ability to do it. Creating a standalone story based in a pre-existing Final Fantasy universe would be the closest they would get to redeeming themselves as filmmakers. Personally, I would love to see Square Enix create an original film with a style similar to Advent Children, one that’s even better, even one in a different genre, but a movie based on Final Fantasy VII is the closest I’m going to get, particularly if people continue complaining that Advent Children is a bad movie simply because it’s based on Final Fantasy VII. :/

    Advent Children may be a bad sequel for the reasons you specify, but I don’t see how that makes it a bad movie in general.
    Last edited by silentfuzzle; 07-18-2017 at 11:11 AM.

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