Last night, at Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, Square-Enix and Sony Pictures premiered the English version of the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Originally released last year in Japan, this was the first time anyone, even the actors and actresses have seen the full film in English. How did Cloud’s adventure turn out after a language switch? What did the stars have to say about the film? Read on to find out.
Steve Burton (Cloud Strife)
Ever since Kingdom Hearts was released Steve stepped right in to the role of ex-soldier Cloud Strife. He landed the role after filming “The Last Castle”, a representative from Disney snagged him to play the part of Cloud. He was excited to see his performance as Cloud on the big screen and after the film he thought it was awesome. He even said the story, presentation and graphics rivaled his recent role in Kingdom Hearts II. As for the games, Steve spends some time playing the games he’s in, at least until he hears his voice. But all this Final Fantasy exposure has made him a fan of the series. He mentioned that he would love to be Cloud if Square-Enix ever thought of producing a live action Final Fantasy movie.
Rachel Leigh Cook (Tifa Lockheart)
Rachel wanted to say to all the fans out there that she “hopes you love the film” and to the fans that waited in line all night to get tickets she gives them an “extra thanks”. While doing the voice for Tifa, Rachel had a chance to hear Ayumi Ito who did the Japanese voiceover. She said she was a big fan of Ito’s work and hopes that she was able to capture Tifa as well as the original voice actress. After the film Rachel said thanks to the director, Tetsuya Nomura for the “beautiful piece of art”. She said it was “stunning” and she’s a “fan (of Final Fantasy) as of today”.
Steve Staley (Kadaj)
Without spoiling too much Kadaj is an all new character made for Advent Children. Since Kadaj doesn’t have the same fan expectations as Cloud or Tifa, Steve was given freedom to make him the craziest character as possible. He said it was the most fun part to make Kadaj completely nuts in his own way. About the character he said, “Kadaj is misunderstood like most villains are, he’s crazy but could be a protagonist character too.” He also mentioned doing the lip synching was difficult since they worked with a low resolution version where it was difficult to see the lip movements.
Mena Suvari (Aerith Gainsborough)
Mena got the role as Aerith through her agent even though she wasn’t familiar with the series. After getting this role and Aerith in Kingdom Hearts II she caught herself up with the Final Fantasy universe. When she played Aerith she knew that Aerith was one of the favorite characters in the series. In Advent Children Mena wanted to give Aerith a mothering feel with an ephemeral presence. She’s honored to be part of the series and said it was “a great experience to be part of something with such a following.”
Steven Blum (Vincent Valentine)
You’ve heard him in Cowboy Bebop (Spike), Naruto (Zabuza), and Wolf’s Rain (Darcia). While doing all these other projects he auditioned for Advent Children and was lucky enough to get the role as Vincent. The directors wanted him to portray Vincent as “dark and moody” since Vincent is a “tortured soul”. He’s been a fan of the Final Fantasy series even though he isn’t great at the games. When we asked him if he was doing Vincent for Dirge of Cerberus he said he wasn’t allowed to speak about the game now. So you guys can take a guess about that. (Note: we’re betting on it)
Benjamin Bryan (Denzel)
As one of the youngest members of the Advent Children cast, Benjamin was really excited about his role. He never really played any of the Final Fantasy games prior to doing the movie, but he was psyched about the movie’s action sequences. He said, “you just know it’s going to be good” before the screening and after watching it he said he was impressed by the movie.
Quinton Flynn (Reno)
When trying to portray Reno, Quinton said he thought Reno was a character who “loves to tear it up.” He liked the chance to play a different and more in your face character than some of his other anime roles. He also said it was a “great honor” to be part of the franchise.
ally Wingert (Rufus Shinra)
Most people will recognize Wally from his work on Family Guy or the recent Transformers series as Sideburn. Wally read for almost all of the male characters in Advent Children and managed to get Rufus. On the role he said he liked Rufus’ presentation as a “cloaked figure” and compared the Rufus’ entry to Darth Vader. He also wanted to keep Rufus’ role as a surprise for fans, but as soon as he announced the role on his website the cat was out of the bag.
Andrea Bowen (The Girl)
Stepping out of her Desperate Housewives role as Julie, Andrea played “the girl”. Which girl are we talking about? The girl who is holding the stuffed moogle and is friends with Denzel. This was her first experience with anything Final Fantasy, but thought that the animation was amazing.
Fred Tatasciore (Loz)
Loz is one of the members of Kadaj’s gang. On his role Fred said that Loz “is not the sharpest tool in the shed” and “acts like a big baby at times”. As a villain Loz is loyal to his cause. Regarding Advent Children Fred was amazed at the artwork and said the “animation was like a moving painting”.
After the black carpet presentation all of the fans and cast members were gathered into the theater. The movie started off with trailers from Tetsuya Nomura’s other productions, Kingdom Hearts II and Dirge of Cerberus. The movie is set two years after the events of the PSX game, Final Fantasy VII. Midgar is ruined and the Turks explore the Northern Crater and find the last of Jenova. Tifa and Cloud opted for a peaceful life where they run a delivery service and take care of children orphaned by the previous disaster. However, all is not well. A mysterious illness called geostigma has been affecting the children. A new gang run by Kadaj seeks to find Jenova and it’s up to Cloud to reunite with his friends to stop the utter destruction of the world again. If you haven’t played Final Fantasy VII you should before seeing Advent Children. The movie briefly explains the plot of the game and expects its audience to be familiar with all of the key events. If it is action you want Advent Children delivers stunning motorcycle combat, aerial combat against the summoned monster Bahamut and an awesome sword battle between Cloud and Kadaj.
The USA version has a couple of changes like a new set of end credits and the new voice cast. Most gamers have already heard how Cloud, Tifa and Aerith are performed in Kingdom Hearts II. These three main performances were excellent and fans of the series will be happy. Kadaj sounds convincingly nuts as Staley wanted him to and Reno’s voice is perfect for comic relief. Some of the other characters like Barret were a little more of a surprise. Barret sounds like Mr. T, a lot of the audience laughed after hearing him for the first time. Cid has a southern accent and Cait Sith has a cartoonish voice. If you’ve already seen the Japanese track this may come off as a surprise at first. Perhaps the biggest disappointment about the North American release is the lip synching, which was way off track more than once.
After the movie Tetsuya Nomura took the stage and said a few words. “This evening was a special moment to share the movie with the fans in the USA. This is a special piece for us and I hope it is for you (the viewers)”. A few lucky fans grabbed some bonus prizes for showing up like PSP accessories, an Advent Children calendar and an autographed brochure by Nomura-san. Everyone at the end of the movie got a poster and a soundtrack just for showing up. Last night’s event and the movie are really made for Final Fantasy fans. Fans like this group here that waited overnight (the people first in line waited sixteen hours!) to catch the preview before the DVD/UMD release on April 25th.