Advent Children: the first Final Fantasy film that didn’t implode the company and force it to be consumed by its biggest rival. A dubious compliment, to be sure, but a compliment nevertheless. We’ll get to that other movie, the Final Fantasy that threatened to be truly final, in its proper place and time (after FFIX, before FFX). For the time being, we’re sticking with FFVII.
Advent Children was preceded in Japan by a series of short stories intended to promote the film. The stories were released inconsistently for a few years, and eventually ended up in a collection entitled On the Way to a Smile. I’m not going to be covering the stories in much detail, but I did read them all, and even liked most them. At worst, they were no more distracting than unremarkable filler. I liked the opening chapter, “Case of Denzel,” the best. “Case of Denzel” focuses on its title character, a young boy living in Midgar, during the events of FFVII. The plot touches on the game’s big catastrophes as actual moments of great tragedy and horror, instead of cartoonish dog-kicking moments like the blasted game. I guess that makes FFVII another of those rare properties that is damaged by its own follow-ups, since “Case of Denzel” only managed to focus my dislike of the original’s handling of such sensitive events. (more…)