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Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children reports from Hollywood

Dan Choi

For the Final Fantasy fans lucky enough to be near Hollywood yesterday night -- and in line for free tickets during the middle of a regular workday -- there was much rejoicing to be had as Advent Children celebrated its U.S. theatrical premiere in style.

Siliconera has a write-up on the event with quotes from most of the American voice actors in attendance, who, along with the audience at hand, watched the film in English for the very first time. Lip synching may have been off due to the low-resolution print the actors had to work with, but even Rachel Leigh Cook -- pictured here with her character Tifa Lockheart -- declared herself a new fan of Final Fantasy after the show.

Helpful Joystiq Contributor epobirs also had something to report from the screening yesterday, where he gives us an Ain't-It-Cool style rundown of the event. If you want the rest of his reflections on the requirements of the Academy in Oscar nominations, as well as what it takes to "assert your hetero nature ... after watching a movie packed with metrosexual men," simply continue reading below for more. Siliconera's report can be found by clicking on the image of Ms. Cook above or the Read link below. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children will be out on DVD/UMD April 25th.

[Thanks, epobirs; image of Tifa courtesy of Eyes on Final Fantasy]

  • "FFVII: Advent Children screening in LA" by epobirs
Just got home from the terrific free screening of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. Ok, it's the Arclight Dome these days but with countless viewings there dating back to the 70s, it'll always be the Cinerama Dome in my heart of hearts. One of the truly great rooms in this town and Sony/Square-Enix four-walled it for a free screening. The only scheduled theatrical showing for North America.

There are two reasons for this. First, to be nominated for an Oscar and some other film industry awards, a work must have its US debut in a theater before it sees broadcast TV or retail sales. The MPAA can get very touchy about this, as HBO learned a few years ago. Second, they wanted a promotional event for the US release and a chance for some Square and Sony execs to bask in the fans' adulation.

It was a rainy day but fortunately fairly dry during most of my line standing. Between picking up the wristband in the afternoon and coming back later I had less than two hours of waiting. Those who'd camped out since the early AM got to put their wet weather gear to the test. Sony/Square graciously handed out the wristbands earlier than scheduled to allow folks to seek shelter. During the screening they actually claimed they were afraid the weather would keep them from filling all the seats. At best, it kept there from being a far greater crowd than they could seat. The Monster Energy Drinks truck came around to make sure all of us were hydrated and manic when we got inside.

The show began with trailers for Kingdom Hearts 2 and Dirge of Cerberus. The crowd went berserk every time they recognized a Square character who hadn't appeared in the first KH. On Disney's side, only Tron and Jack Sparrow produced comparable excitement. Dirge of Cerberus went on for so long before any gameplay came up you might have thought it was another movie instead. FFVII:DoC looks very promising ... It will sell a hell of a lot of copies just for the story content whether it plays well or not. (I wouldn't be surprised if someone creates a bootleg compilation DVD of the story content.)

I won't attempt to review the movie in depth here. If you have fond memories of FFVII this is a must see. The geek appeal is endless just for locating all of the ways they referenced the original game without clubbing the viewer over the head. I'm sure I missed two references for every one I caught. The storyline could be baffling to anyone who never played the game or read a synopsis but the sheer splendor and action still makes for a worthy experience. Notably, the mystery ending of the game is clarified but the state of the world five centuries hence remains unexplained. Are there any humans left? If so, do they still have a modern industrial civilization?

Seeing the movies in this way made it clear that this will make an excellent demo for Blu-ray players and HDTV displays. Viewing this on DVD or PSP will give up a great deal in quality. The Japanese DVD clips I've seen looked good but only if you havent seen how much better it can be in 1080i.

Some of the voice casting is amusing for their more familiar roles. Especially since they're giving voice to character who previously had none.
Yuffie is Kim Possible!
Sephiroth is Superman!
Vincent Valentine is Spike Spiegel!
Barret is Jet Black!
IMDB is endless trivia fun.

You could tell this was a very anime conscious crowd. After the two lead voice actresses the names that scored the most applause were Steven Blum and Beau Billingslea. As for those actresses, it seemed oddly appropriate that Rachel Leigh Cook was adorned in a sweater that give her a much bustier appearance than Mena Suvari since Ms. Cook was providing the voice of the buxom Tifa. Oddly though, Aeris shows more cleavage in the movie. Hey, after watching a movie packed with metrosexual men you need to make these observations to assert your hetero nature.

Hopefully someone else will remember the names better (I'm not sure I'm finding all the right ones on IMDB in my sleep deprived state) but the director, graphic designer, and IIRC lead writer were given a standing ovation while still in their balcony seats and yet unintroduced. They along with the voice actors for Cloud, Tifa, and Aeris were each given a chance to address the crowd. Then we were told to check under our seats for small pieces of paper. Ten audience members were thus chosen to receive prize bags. Two of the slips with stars meant they got the additional prize of a PSP and games. Some of these guys took dismayingly long to examine their seats properly. The hostess/translator was starting to become distressed at the possibility the tags had gone missing. I suspect there were actually only nine tags since they gave the final one to seat #FF7, which by no small coincidence fit in with the way the seats were arranged. Nobody left empty handed. We were all presented with a soundtrack CD and poster on our way out.

Thank you, Square and Sony. It was well worth the trip and a bit of line standing.

Must sleep now...

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