In 1997, Squaresoft re-invigorated the Final Fantasy franchise (not that it needed it) when they released the 7th adventure on the original PlayStation. Since then, it has become one of the most widely beloved games in history. Going against all that the title implies, FFVII has spawned various spin-offs and quasi-sequels and prequels, including the highly-anticipated, long-awaited film, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, released in 2005.
A marvel of–cliche as it is–state of the art CG, Advent Children expanded the Final Fantasy experience in a way that Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) never could. It was a return of the characters, places, and events that the fans held near and dear.
Now, four years later, Final Fantasy: Advent Children Complete has been released on Blu-ray, and it simply has more. This updated version, with an additional 26 minutes of footage, adds more story, more character development, more all-around depth. Clarifying some of the confusing plot details and making the characters more realistic, the additional scenes are more than just fluff. Even the minor details have undergone a makeover as the creators have added more grit, grime, and blood to the film. All of this allows for a much more immersive experience.
With a full-on 1080p High Definition transfer, the visuals are astounding; just seeing the release of hyper-kinetic energy as Cloud and Sephiroth clash blades…not to be, once again, cliche, but it’s jaw-dropping.
Some of the special features found on the 2-disc DVD are missing here, but there is compensation. The Blu-ray includes a new Reminiscence featurette that chronicles the events between the original game and Advent Children; an animated film, On the Way to a Smile – Episode: Denzel; and a sneak peek at Final Fantasy XIII. Sadly, the playable demo released with the Japanese version of Complete is nowhere to be found.
Focusing solely on the film itself, Complete is an improvement over Advent Children in every way. The missing special features are a bummer, but I’d be willing to bet that those of you who buy this movie already own the 2-disc DVD (I do). I know there are some who felt that the original film was too hard to watch, and I’m sure those same people are going to be wary of sitting through the film again, but trust me when I say that this release, even though it takes the long road, makes it home without so much as a flat tire or speed bump.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete is available now.