FFVII:AC Complete is finally available complete with English dub but no subs.
Seems they’ve made quite a number of changes – Re-recording the audio tracks, remixing the music and making slight changes to directions and scenes. They’ve toned down the coolness of the movie and have expanded on covering subjects such as Geostigma to give the disease a more emotional impact whereas before, you would have to have read On the Way to a Smile to know what it was. It’s also a lot gorey and violent now.
Also great watching the movie in HD resolution. The rays of lighting, dust, textures are much more pronounced. So here I’m going to run through the changes they made and what extra 30 minutes of new scenes they threw in. Note that it is by no means an exhaustive listing.
Needless to say, there are big spoilers that links to fairly much the whole FFVII series whether as a game, movie or animation so don’t read on if you hate them.
Right from the start of the movie, there’s a new scene with Kadaj taking Rufus up to the building discussing why humans repeatedly destroy and create. Rufus responds they can’t get a grip over their memories thus, this was how they overcame them.
In the Northern Crater, the shooting sounds are prolonged. I feel they kind of overdid it.
There’s a better tour of Edge City so the viewer actually has a better idea of the kind of life people lead after the disaster. We get to watch a gruesome scene of a guy dying from Geostigma as all the black pus comes gushing out of his body. Good addition because it shows how deadly the disease is. Reminds me of Resident Evil actually, the scene.
Addition of Tifa listening to a radio in 7th Heaven reporting about the Lifestream and Geostigma.
Also a book and some Geostigma related photos on Cloud’s desk about medicine which links to another new scene later. The bike fight that follows afterwards is extended and changed adding in more dynamics with Loz and Yazoo. I think it’s better than the original.
Brief scene showing Denzel gazing at the photos of his parents before Cloud brought him to 7th Heaven… And a new reference to a chocobo!
The lodge has changed names from “Healin” to “Healen”. There are also changes to the existing scene and script once Cloud is inside. Besides Rude returning into the room before being locked out, there’s more explanation about Geostigma from Rufus and how he thinks it’s Sephiroth’s conscious in the Lifestream causing it.
A brief new scene showing the badly wounded Tseng and Elena as they are attacked by the materialising Kadaj and the other remnants.
Reno and Rude talking about their comrades until Kadaj and the others find them, streaming through the door. Like the part where the screen goes blank and Kadaj says menacingly, “I found you.”
New scene that is actually from Case of Denzel, 1-4 which means anyone who missed the first story in the novella On the Way to a Smile will have a better idea of how Denzel came into Cloud and the other’s lives so, another good addition here I think.
More Geostigma coverage as the girl with the moogle gets knocked over and no one wants to help. Links in nicely with the gruesome scene near the start of the movie. I think her extra screen time in this version of the movie has something to do with the staff agreeing “She’s so cute” commentary track from the Japanese LE DVD.
Extended flash back scene for Zack, part of it coming from the PSP’s Crisis Core’s ending. Makes me want to listen to the OST again… We then hear Sephiroth’s voice too as Cloud comes back to the present, taunting Cloud about how he’s just a doll pretending he’s sad and angry.
Detail in the CG is more pronounced in the HD version. Notice all the dirt on the character’s skin.
And they fixed the disappearing glove.
When Cloud passes out next to Tifa, they changed the music to “Anxious Heart” from the game instead of using the original “Water” track from the FFVII:AC OST. Quite nostalgic hearing the tune again.
A new scene showing the children being taken away. Looks like they re-used the backdrop from the PS2 Dirge of Cerberus cutscenes.
More explanation about Kadaj’s plans when Loz brings back the Materia to the Forgotten City, revealing that he knew Rufus was hiding JENOVA somewhere and was going to use the children to find it. The original short scene felt pretty pointless.
We also actually see Vincent shooting from under his cape now when he rescues Cloud. I think I’ve seen this from Dirge of Cerberus too…
New scene showing Cloud dropping off Marlene and explaining why he left them, linking up with the added Geostigma photos and medical book in his room from earlier. He’s been trying to find a cure and also bothered that he can’t protect anyone but, now he’s finally decided to be the one who will protect them back and everyone precious to him.
It seems Nomura fairly much decided to make the movie more gruesome, throwing in more blood, bruises and dirt.
New scene showing Tifa holding Denzel’s hand reassuringly when he is reminded of the Sector Seven collapse. She gets another fight scene too instead of staying passive while everyone battles it out with Bahamut in the background.
However, she gets blown away by an explosion while Denzel is surrounded by the Shadows. For that brief moment as Cloud speeds to the rescue, he remembers Zack and Aerith’s sacrifices which I think helps build on the scene from earlier that he’s finally made up his mind he wants to protect people instead of worrying whether he can or not. He manages to save them both just in time as we him maneuver his way through the falling debris with Tifa behind him.
New scene showing Denzel making his way back alone to 7th Heaven and gets a chance to kick some ass too, building on the whole theme that everyone’s filled with hope and determination at this point of the movie.
The literally big fight scene with Bahamut that follows afterwards where everyone is working together is kind of ruined because they added in a few too many extra shots of Barret shooting from afar. It just breaks the tension during that fight because you have to wonder if those bullets are actually doing anything…
Turks get some more action screen time and comic relief…
As they help out Cloud by trying to take Loz and Yazoo out in a helicopter. Just watch Loz
New scene where Sephiroth gets revenge. I like how they added that resonating sound effect to his Masamune as they fought.
He gives Cloud a taste of Omnislash, the very limit break that was used to finish him off at the end of the FFVII game… Ouch. Then Zack appears from the Lifestream to give him some encouragement, reminding he must have the heart of a Soldier.
I actually find it stupid how the Japanese likes to portray their characters as almost immortal in their movies – Lots of bleeding, abuse, lethal hits but the characters just get back up as if they simply got a punch in the face.
Now you don’t have to wonder how the children gathered at the church. Quite a good joyous scene with all the phones ringing and everyone rushing out of their houses.
And the movie ends with more tribute to Zack as Cloud moves his Buster Sword to the church.
All in all I think the additions and changes to the script was generally good, clarifying on many points of the plot which were too shallow unless you read the novella, “On the Way to a Smile” beforehand. Of course, some of the plot still requires you to have played the original game to understand what’s going on such as Sephiroth’s “resurrection”.
I think it’s worth picking this up again, even if you already own the DVD. The new direction makes the movie feel much more rounded compared to the over-coolness of the original.
With all the new music, you have to wonder if they’ll release a “Complete” version of the OST later.