Video games have always been home to the fantastic- worlds and beasts and abilities far beyond the norm. The target audience of video games expect as much, and take it in turn. Cinema, however, is often most acclaimed in its depiction of real life-, but the cross-over from video game to the movie screen allowed a mesh of these two principles. Final Fantasy: Advent Children is a prime example of none other than the fantasy genre at it finest translated into cinematic real-time entertainment. Based on the turn-based strategy game Final Fantasy VII, Advent Children opens in an openly fictional environment. Without the barriers of world construction and explanation (it is inferred that the audience expects the extraordinary) this movie jumped right into a totally new world.
Everything from the music to the graphic style to the character builds screamed Final Fantasy, and it was not hard to distinguish this movie as separate from its cinematic peers. Even the physics of the universe portrayed in Advent Children referred to its video game counterpart, opening a huge door for character and idea development. It seemed like every aspect of this movie was exaggerated, from the style of the clothing to the weapons to the action, every bit was taken to its limit. Personalities were exaggerated, heightening the sense of good and evil inherent to each “side.” Weapons too were quite far-fetched- their prominence added to the epic nature of each clash, emphasizing the importance of the events. To the point of caricature even, the roles depicted the extreme of every virtue and vice- be it purity, bravery, cruelty or ambition.
These reductions to the most basic idea behind each character leveled the field and opened this movie to tackle intricate ideas that are hard to convey via traditional media. Life and death in particular were recurring motifs in Advent Children, and the fantasy environment played host to several novel views on the nature of these- especially with the depiction of the earth’s “blood” as the sum our humanity’s being, yet separate entirely, in and of itself. This healing blood, life, or life force, or God, or whatever you may interpret it to be, heals the world of its corruption and pain. But as a part of the Final Fantasy experience it is as much a part of the world as of anything; it’s cyclical and infinite in that the death and life of its world both play vital roles in it existence. Perhaps this is the key to life itself- balance.
This is the true potential of fantasy-based fiction: the analogous explanation of the earth’s greatest mysteries. For these are mysteries because we don’t understand ideas or concepts as they exist in this world- might as well try another. I can appreciate this new way of seeing things as a doorway to a higher understanding, and I look forward to more experiences of its kind.