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Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Content Caution

Final Fantasy VII


In Theaters


Home Release Date




Bob Hoose

Movie Review

Editor’s Note: Fathom Events will be screening an English-dubbed version of this rereleased 2004 film in theaters on Feb. 21, while the Japanese with English subtitles version screens on Feb. 22.

His name is Cloud Strife. And yeah, he used to be a mercenary hero. He even defeated a big baddie named Sephiroth and saved the world. But that was yesterday.

These days, Cloud is just another guy. He’s ditched that mercenary life and is now just your average delivery man. OK, maybe he’s not too average, since he does his deliveries on a souped-up motorcycle decked out with a bunch of swords. But you get the gist.

Cloud’s life is good for the most part. He does his job. He helps local orphans. But there is one problem, or maybe two, that he must wrestle with. For one thing he’s contracted a geostigma, an ultimately deadly disease that’s the result of being infected with corrupting alien matter. The second thing is his lingering guilt over not being able to save all of his friends during the big war a few years back.

Between those two bits, Cloud has been feeling, well, a little grey and foggy. He’s pulled away from his friends, hiding his sickness. It’s all the sort of stuff that you can’t fight with a six-foot-long sword.

However, all of those worries will have to take a back seat. That’s because three beings named Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo, who are the physical manifestations of Sephiroth’s surviving spirit—his children, if you will—have recently shown up with a passion to resurrect that baddie. And they’re causing all manner of havoc in the process.

So, Cloud can’t focus on deliveries or worry too much over his own woes. Instead, he must take his blades into action once more. He needs to push through the pain and do the job before him.

That’s what a hero does.

Positive Elements

Cloud and several powered-up friends are selfless and ready to fight against a seemingly all-powerful evil. They’re all willing to fight together for victory.

However, at one point Cloud needs to fight a very powerful foe alone. In doing so, he faces up to his own fears and failings. His friends recognize that personal goal and step back, ready to help if he needs them.

Cloud and a woman named Tifa work to help children orphaned in the great war. They put their lives on the line to save those kids, even after it appears that the children have been tainted by evil.

Spiritual Elements

The world of Final Fantasy is a fantastical realm that mixes elements of modern Japan with exotic swordplay, guns and magic. The story focuses on a spiritual Lifestream that swirls in and around the planet. And a big part of the world’s problems begin when this Lifestream is tapped by humanity (the Shinra Corp.) as a power source. Sephiroth was one of the supersoldiers that Shinra created.

In turn, the planet itself begins using the Lifestream to fight back against humanity.

When Kadaj and his gang arrive, they cast smoke creatures that attack Cloud and pounce on others, gobbling them up. Kadja also calls up a dragon-like beast that Cloud must battle. The warriors all exhibit superhuman strength. Kadja also uses a spirit-corrupted body of water to mesmerize and take over the minds of a large group of children.

Jadja steals away a spirit entity called Jenova. He absorbs this entity into his own body and transforms into a reborn version of Sephiroth. Later, a defeated Sephiroth is called up into the sky by the female entity that transformed Jadja. People are healed from their geostigma disease by rains falling from that angelic-voiced source in the sky.

[Spoiler Warning] Ultimately, Cloud appears to die but then rises to life again. He pours water over someone’s head in a baptism of sorts and cures them.

Sexual Content

A naked female entity is held inside a glass tank. (Her body parts are masked by shadow or left undefined.) One female character reveals some cleavage, and another dresses in skimpy short-shorts.

Violent Content

Much of this film is focused on high-powered battles that occur at incredible speeds. Battlers fight while on motorcycles and other speeding vehicles, and they run and flip around each other in acrobatic attacks.

These warriors use incredible swords, guns, electric shocks and magic zaps to blast away at one another as they zip about, as well as flying over tall buildings and highways. People get bashed and slashed; vehicles crash and crumble; buildings are smashed and blown up.

While Cloud’s chosen weapons are swords, his compatriots use a variety of their own specialized armaments. For instance, Yuffie uses a huge throwing star-like weapon; Cloud’s good friend Tifa is an incredible martial artist; and another battler named Barrett has something of a gatling gun in place of a right hand.

Cloud gets pinned to a wall by a sword blade and is beaten down regularly. He appears to die at one point. And other characters are defeated and disappear in a wisp of smoke. A variety of people are battered and punched. We hear of people being brutally tortured.

Crude or Profane Language

Editor’s Note: We reviewed the Japanese version of the film with English subtitles.

One use of “friggin’” and two s-words are joined by several uses each of the words “d–n,” “h—” and “a–” in the subtitled dialogue onscreen. God’s name is mixed with “d–n” on one occasion.

Drug and Alcohol Content


Other Negative Elements



Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is one of those anime actioners that ought to be labeled with the disclaimer, “For Fans Only.” Because without a bit of backstory understanding (such as having played the 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII, or 2020’s Final Fantasy VII: Remake) you’ll likely step out of this pic, well, amazed at how incomprehensible it all is. The plotline and character introductions are a thin as tissue paper. So, Who are these people? and What did I just watch? will likely be at the top of your list of questions.

Let me answer that latter one.

This bombastic, crashing, bashing and slashing feature first came out in 2005 as a slick, direct-to-video CGI movie aimed at the franchise’s hardcore devotees. And the current “director’s cut” version is being played in theaters for two days as an advertisement, of sorts, for the new Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth game that’s releasing on Feb. 29.

If you’re a fan, you know all this.

If you’re not a fan and decide to head on in anyway, you’ll see a fast-paced animated film cram-packed with whirling, good-guy-versus-bad-guy battle scenes. Those motorcycle-speeding and skyscraper-leaping skirmishes aren’t gory. But they do feature sword slashes and gun blasts, gnashing magical monsters, a super-villain’s “ghost,” and a lot of hard-driving music in the soundtrack. You’ll also be wading into a world of corrupted spirituality that’s peppered with more foul language than you might expect from a game movie.

No matter what you decide to do, however, one thing is for certain: In light of all the many games, movies and TV shows already dedicated to this classic franchise, this won’t be the final Final Fantasy.

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Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.