Recently, I got a chance to look at the script book included with the limited edition release of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. It had some interesting differences and notes that I thought I’d share here.
Tseng hurries over to Elena. (He has lost the use of one leg.)
This is a description from the first scene with Reno in the helicopter over the Crater. In the film, we don’t actually see Tseng or Elena nor do we know what state they are in.
The large sword Cloud used in FFVII is plunged into the ground. It serves as a grave marker for Zack. Flowers have been placed around it.
Three motorbikes appear. One of them hits the sword, knocking it over. The flowers are crushed under its wheels.
In the final film, flowers don’t appear here. They appear post-credits in Advent Children Complete.
The flower bed begins to shine a bright white, healing the fallen Cloud and Tifa.
I wonder if the scene with Cloud and Tifa in the flowers in the church still signifies healing in the final version of the film. It just looks like a bizarre way to show Cloud reuniting with Tifa to me. O.o
Cloud swiftly rolls out of the way, grabs his sword and gets up. He tackles Kadaj and takes him down. The whole area turns chaotic, which gives Marlene a chance to slip away. Yazoo and Loz charge toward Cloud.
Cloud dodges their attacks and leaps toward Kadaj, but Denzel steps between them. Cloud hesitates, and Kadaj grins as he fires. Cloud is sent hurtling away. His cell phone flies off in another direction. Kadaj draws toward Cloud, hoping to finish him off. Then, a not-quite-human form appears and attacks Kadaj, who shrinks back. Vincent (human form) grabs Cloud roughly, and continues to attack Kadaj and the others as he slips away with Cloud in his arms.
I guess the final version of the film decided it needed to be vague about what Kadaj does to Cloud but in a completely different way. Also, in the film, Denzel stands in Cloud’s way at a different moment in the battle, and Vincent never takes his human form.
Cloud’s cell phone sinks to the bottom of the spring. It’s surrounded by a frothy substance (Aerith’s willpower at work: it looks like the water isn’t making actual contact with the phone).
Huh. I just assumed the bubbles signified air escaping the phone as water seeped into it.
A noisy crowd fills the plaza around the monument. Yazoo and Loz are trying to destroy it. The children brainwashed by Kadaj surround the memorial as if to protect Yazoo and Loz. The other citizens call out their children by name and chastise the defilers, but they are powerless to do anything. Yazoo summons dog-like monsters and sets them on the citizens, plunging the plaza into further chaos.
This might be evidence that the more farfetched things the film asks us to believe, such as orphans threatening Cloud or defending a monument from a mob of adults, emerged in the script rather than through the director’s or cinematographer’s choices.
Kadaj brushes his hand against the materia equipped (embedded) in his arm, summoning Bahamut. Bahamut appears, throwing the monument plaza further into chaos. (The following dialog appears to be CUT?)
The scene ends here in this version of the script with this strange note that apparently no proofreader thought to remove. I wish I knew what dialog appeared after this!
The scene changes, and we’re down on the ground by the 13F building where Rude is beaten down. The three enemy motorbikes casually enter the frame. Badly beat up, Rude still manages to slowly get up.
The motorbikes appear later in the film and somewhat out of nowhere.
Cloud removes two swords from his motorbike and heads toward Bahamut. Tifa follows.
Cloud and Tifa taking off toward Bahamut on Cloud’s motorbike, the final result, is a little more badass. 🙂
(It’s not clear if Rufus is alive or dead.)
I’m not sure why the writer thought it was important that we don’t know the result of Rufus jumping off the building. It seems irrelevant. Advent Children Complete seemed to think so, too… in that it takes the time to show Rufus walking into the frame like nothing happened.
Behind Cloud there is a huge explosion/firework display. Cloud and Kadaj are sent flying from the blast. Their swords exchange blows before they even reach the ground. The tip of Kadaj’s blade catches Cloud’s sleeve, tearing it off and laying bare the black, ichorous scarring on Cloud’s arm. Cloud’s attack damages the capsule that Kadaj is carrying.
In the film, Rufus is the one who breaks open Jenova’s capsule. Kadaj revealing Cloud’s geostigma, which is caused by Jenova cells, and Cloud revealing Jenova is an interesting exchange of attacks in this alternate telling.
As though it had a will of its own, the water reaches the walls and begins to climb. As the water reaches the rafters, it comes pouring down like rain, soaking Cloud as well. Cloud’s left arm glows with a pale light as the geostigma begins to heal. While Cloud watches this happen to his arm, Kadaj destroys the wall near the rafters and escapes. Cloud ignores this and gazes at Aerith’s flower bed. He sees Aerith’s figure through the misty spray.
In the film, Kadaj is affected by the healing rain, and Aerith’s image doesn’t appear until the end of the film.
Cloud corners Kadaj, who flashes a cold smile. When Cloud tries to attack Kadaj again, Kadaj holds up Jenova’s head in front of him.
Cloud senses what’s going to happen and gives a start. He moves to strike again but it’s already too late. Kadajs has thrust the head of Jenova against his chest. (See storyboard for details.) Kadaj and Jenova’s head fuse into one.
Given how visual this film is, the parenthetical in this quote suggests that the storyboard was just as important as the script.
When Sephiroth raises one hand up high, the skies take on a sinister appearance, as though heralding a great catastrophe.
Sephiroth sneers. He brings down his raised hand, which triggers the dark catastrophe the sky promised.
A black Lifestream oozes forth.
*The visuals should be menacing.
I include this mostly because “*The visuals should be menacing.” XD
Denzel and Marlene are hugging each other, frightened. Denzel clenches the stigma on his forehead, which is responding to the black Lifestream oozing from the earth. Marlene watches this with concern.
Then, Marlene senses something and starts:
Is it her?
Denzel gives Marlene a puzzled look.
No, he doesn’t. 😛
In the midst of battle, Cloud glances earthward and sees Midgar. White Lifestream weaves betwixt the black Lifestream, and the former is cleansed by the latter. Cloud smiles.
I like that the film kept the visuals menacing and Cloud at a disadvantage until the very end. It definitely makes the scene more suspenseful than this would have.
Water droplets fall upon the pilot’s seat. Tifa sees them and looks up.
Water is gathering near the ceiling. A drop falls. Tifa smiles.
In the final film, where the water comes from and how Tifa notices it isn’t really mentioned.
As Cloud rides off on his motorbike into the world, the landscape grows more vivid as the screen’s chroma slowly increases. (Composite with real-life shots.)
Eventually the bike passes through a patch of flowers.
Vestiges of Aerith (nothing with any presence in reality) silently watch Cloud as he rides away. Aerith looks a little lonely, but then she smiles.
This appears to be a description of the montage shown during the credits. It’s interesting that it’s in the script. In the original Advent Children, Aerith appears briefly in the middle of all the shots showing Cloud riding his motorcycle down a highway. Interestingly, in Advent Children Complete, these shots of Aerith do not exist. (Also, overlaid on top of the montage is another montage showing shots from the film, which is kind of dumb. Even they seemed to think so, considering that the opacity of this sub-montage makes it nearly transparent. I’m glad you set the original vision aside for this, Square Enix. -_-)