After saving The Planet from Meteor, Cloud and the gang live out their mundane lives. Unfortunately, three men claiming to be Jenova’s children are attempting to resurrect their mother. To make matters worse, a disease called Geostigma is spreading throughout the population. Can the gang stop these men and find a cure?
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the original DVD version but I do remember that they didn’t go into very much detail about Geostigma or the new character, Denzel. In the Blu-ray edition, they showed the effects of the disease and gave us some clue as to who Denzel is. Because of this, I was more emotionally invested in what was going on. I even cried a bit when the children infected with Geostigma climbed in the back of Kadaj’s truck and were tricked into drinking mind-controlling water. Yes, I am well aware of how bad that sounds but Kadaj had no pedophiliac intentions, at least I hope not. Then they’re all forced to stand around a statue while Kadaj summons a monster. There are also scenes that show the true heroism of the main characters, such as Tifa refusing to abandon Denzel in one scene and Marlene in another, despite the fact that she was putting her own life in danger. Reno and Rude also showed heroism when the monster showed up. True that they were running from it, but they at least tried to take some of the children around the statue with them. One scene that I truly loved was when the rest of the characters joined Tifa to help her defeat the monster, showing true heroism on their parts.
Even with the new footage, this movie is not without its problems. For starters, despite Cloud’s resolution that he had to get over his issues at the end of the game, he still acts incredibly depressed. I actually think it’s realistic because many people in real life will make an outside declaration of change and fail to follow through, but that’s not the reason the writers did this. They felt that audiences wouldn’t recognize Cloud if he felt an emotion other than depression. He also had a tendency to leave without telling Tifa, Marlene and Denzel, who are his family, and go deal with his own issues. I get that he was suffering from Geostigma and still dealing with his issues from the game but this doesn’t make him look like a badass loner. It makes him look like a deadbeat dad, especially when you consider that Denzel also has Geostigma and Cloud could have helped him through this. Maybe I’m being harsh, but when you have a family, it doesn’t matter what issues you have. You need to always be there for them. You can’t go running off on your own doing who knows what while your family’s at home worried sick about you. Thankfully, Tifa and Marlene call him out on this. Reno and Rude are also downgraded from the threatening enemies they were in the game to plucky comic relief. In addition, during the climax, the rest of the characters that were playable in the game show up out of nowhere with no explanation of where they’ve been and how they all got back. Oh, and they have no problem working with Shinra, not even Barrett who lost his original gang to them. Kadaj is also way too easily forgiven and I would go into detail about it but I don’t want to give anything away. My final problem with the movie was that the editing was still a little sloppy. Sometimes it took me a while to figure out what was a flashback and what was the present.
Despite the movie’s problems, it does remember the game it was a spinoff of. There are scenes where some of the characters use materia to give them power, though in the game it’s used by inserting it into your armor and weapons slots rather than into your body. Like I said earlier, even though there’s no explanation as to why the rest of the cast show up in the movie, as a Final Fantasy VII fan it was great seeing them all reunite to take down the huge monster. A few instances had them breaking the laws of physics, such as each character launching Cloud into the sky to deliver the final blow. Sephiroth even returns for one last fight with Cloud with his theme song playing during the entire battle.
The Blu-ray comes with extra features, one of them being an anime about Denzel’s past. I actually enjoyed that more than the movie because, while the film didn’t know whether it wanted to be a dark movie about a raging sickness or an action flick to please the Final Fantasy fans, the anime knew exactly what it wanted to do and stuck with it. Denzel wants to join an organization called MRO and explains his reasons for doing so to the recruiter in the form of an origin story. In other words, we get to see what made a happy privileged boy into an orphan that Cloud and Tifa take in. We also see the effects that the war between Avalanche and Shinra had on ordinary citizens of Midgar.
Despite the movie’s flaws, I found it entertaining. I give it 8 out of 10; two extra points for the included anime.