Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children - (Region A Import Blu-ray Disc)
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Jason, Bellville. 2 October 2009
Why did it have to be 17? Why not a more rounded number like 15, or even 20? Then I could proclaim that my twentieth blu-ray title turned out to be my most treasured. But no, I’m stuck with 17, so I’ll rationalize that you just never know when the next great masterwork will come your way.
I am talking about Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete. I am talking about a technical high-water mark for high-def content. I am talking about a rare case where a title actually delivers on its promise to improve on its previous release.
But first, a confession. As much as I liked Advent Children on dvd, I always felt it was lacking. There were holes in the plot which resulted in stunted pacing, or in some cases caused illogical sequences in the story. First and foremost, ACC seeks to redress this with the inclusion of new footage. And not the two or so minutes of deleted scenes we were shown on the dvd release; try 26 minutes of newly created scenes. Trust me, they do make a difference. Suddenly everything makes sense. We are shown more of Denzel’s background and how it ties in with Cloud’s morose demeanor at the start of the film. This in turn makes his transformation at the end an all the more joyous occasion.
Now normally I’d expect that to be the end of it. Not so. Seems the folks at Square-Enix took a look at the original master and thought: “How come no-one shows any signs of damage after the fights?”
Then they did something about that as well. The results are best seen during the climactic final battle during which Cloud gets bloodied up something fierce before making his final resurgence. Elsewhere characters now leave fights with cuts, abrasions or scuff marks. It’s a small change, but a logical one considering we’re watching guys fight with an assortment of bladed weapons.
Now we get to the more technical side: the AV presentation. Advent Children Complete was design with high definition first in mind; notice how this is a blu-ray only title with no concurrent dvd release? The leap in detail is staggering. Even from my lowly 720P Sony, I was amazed at the improvement in the background. Bits of rock, bits of rubble, raindrop dynamics are among those to behold. Explosions look as close as who really cares to photo realistic. Key bit of supporting evidence: an aerial tracking shot of Kadaj tearing up the tarmac on a highway overpass on his bike looks so much like live footage.
Sonically the high-def punter is also well catered for. The Dolby True-HD soundtrack is reference materia(l). I took it loud, really loud, with no loss in composure. Dialogue is not lost among the dynamics, and the dynamics themselves are just that and more, causing the surround speakers to work like an illegal miner. The bass is deep enough to unsettle foundations, adding a palpable thump to the numerous LFE moments like explosions and connecting punches.
There are some new extras for your amusement. There’s a new “Reminiscence” featurette that sums up the storylines for the FFVII spinoffs. Also included is a seven minute teaser for Final Fantasy XIII, which I’ll also get around to watching some day.
So now what? Do I relieve myself of the Collector’s Edition dvd in my collection? Hell no! It has features not included on the blu-ray, and so the two will exist to complement each other in my collection.
Region A - Includes most North, Central and South American countries and South-east Asian countries including the Republic of China (Taiwan), Hong Kong, Japan and Korea.