The first time I saw Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, there was one sequence in particular that I couldn’t get out of my head.
The more I thought about it, the more I wasn’t sure it had actually happened.
“Cloud couldn’t have thrown his sword. Yuffie must have thrown her boomerang!”
“Maybe he just rode his motorcycle by and mowed them all down.”
“Well, he can fold a couple of his swords. Maybe it was bent into the shape of a boomerang when he threw it.”
“Maybe he rode his motocycle so fast that he caught up to the swords!”
I had to watch this sequence five times before I could finally accept that it did happen. Then, I saw this. Cloud had thrown not one but two giant swords… like boomerangs… at the same time.
The result is a scene so ridiculous that I literally could not comprehend it. But wait. The original Advent Children was also full of physics defying action. I’m usually not a stickler for physics, so what’s the difference between this sequence and, say, Loz throwing his motorcycle with his feet?
Why could I accept that and not boomerang swords? So here’s my theory.
All the scenes leading up to Loz’s motorcycle toss prepare us for it. From the very first fight scene, we’re introduced to the high-speed, motorcycle chase sequences that we’ll see for the rest of the film.
We also see on several occasions the damage that Loz’s attacking arm can do, his super-human abilities, and the forces that he can withstand.
Finally, we have plenty of chances to see that gravity doesn’t work quite as we expect it to.
Combine these elements together, and you have a believable motorcycle toss.
Advent Children doesn’t remove all the physical limits that we’re used to though. For example, the film gives us no reason to believe that thrown swords will do anything but lodge themselves into whatever they’re thrown at. Further, we never see a character willingly throw their sword. The separation between fighter and sword during a fight is always shown as being a bad thing.
So, Cloud throwing his swords like boomerangs breaks the film’s loose but nonetheless existent physics and the world’s established rules of battle, creating a scene that comes off as random and completely ridiculous.
What I liked about the original Advent Children was that unlike most other full CGI action films, it never broke its established rules as soon as the opportunity arose. Granted, Advent Children created a world so action packed and boundless that near anything was believable, but it still had lines that it could not and didn’t cross. I wouldn’t believe that Cloud can throw his swords like boomerangs, that a child can defeat a monster with a fire hydrant, that a dead girl no one knows would call everyone in Midgar, or any of this for reasons that I’ve already explained.
Perhaps if this were a film about sword throwing children, who frequently receive phone calls from dead people they don’t know and destroy poorly designed super highways with an infinite number of helicopters, maybe I would believe it. Because Advent Children Complete only uses these elements randomly though… no.
Like I said, Complete isn’t the only CGI action film that has this problem of breaking its own rules for the sake of awesome action. It’s quite common actually… for reasons… but that’s a subject for another video. Talk at you next time!