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Final Fantasy VII Advent Children OST :: Review by Forum Review

Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Original Soundtrack Album Title: Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Square Enix
Catalog No.: SQEX-10051/2
Release Date: September 28, 2005
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Written by Totz

The long-awaited sequel to Final Fantasy VII, entitled Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, is not a game, like most would expect, but a movie instead. And with a change in the medium, there must be a change in the Original Soundtrack as well. With that in mind, as well as the partly action-oriented and otherwise ambient nature of the movie, Sekito, Fukui, and Kawamori were called to compose and arrange (and sometimes even conduct) alongside series' veteran Uematsu. With a mixture of orchestral tracks, rock composition, and even piano-based themes, can this album be considered a worthy follow-up to the Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack? Read on and find out.

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) Opening (Written by Chris)

The Shiro Hamaguchi and Nobuo Uematsu combination shines once more in this vibrant rendition of Final Fantasy VII's famous "Opening ~ Bombing Mission" theme. With a high-pitched E natural on some suspended strings, it begins exactly like the original, soon moving into a brief and touching rendition of the "Lifestream" theme with bells and a combination of pizzicato and bowed strings. As the movie pans from a scene in the clouds to one featuring the children of Red XIII dashing up a rock face, the opening theme intensifies, as the audience comes to realize that this is the scene 500 years into the future shown at the very end of Final Fantasy VII. The theme peaks with a series of brass fanfares taken from the original as the wolves proudly roar and the screen breathtakingly shows an image of Midgar's jungle-like ruins. Though only 1:31 in length, missing out the "Bombing Mission" part of the initial track completely, the theme enhances the cinematic feel of the original perfectly, supported effectively by Hamaguchi's dashing orchestration and the rich performance of Taizo Takemoto's orchestra. It's very similar to the Tour de Japon - Music from Final Fantasy version, but this isn't a problem, as it works perfectly in the game and was just what the fans wanted. (9/10)

2) The Promised Land (Written by Josh Barron)

When I first listened to this piece, I immediately knew that this soundtrack would be great. This piece is also a rarity to hear from Uematsu, too, because it features just a choir, though Kenichiro Fukui was actually responsible for the arrangement. I love the nice lush chords sung here, which give a hopeful, ethereal, and somewhat sad aura to the theme, creating quite a nice mixture of emotions. Originally, I thought this track was played in Aerith's church due to the fact that it has a holy sound to it; however, the way it was used in the film was fitting also, with it actually being used in two circumstances altogether. Perhaps the single most emotive theme on the album, this one is original too. (10/10)

3) Beyond the Wasteland (Written by Josh Barron)

"Beyond the Wasteland" is a mysterious and powerful piece that starts off with a dramatic drum line. The string section joins after this, and, after a quick crescendo, "Those Chosen by the Planet" is played for a short while. Soon enough, we reach an upbeat section that creates an image in my head of a chase in a desert. The bass, heavy percussion, and the guitar are all used perfectly here, but the best part is the string section. The pattern that they play stands out amongst the other parts, so it becomes much more significant as far as the enjoyability of the theme is concerned. On the whole, this is an impressive track from Uematsu, but especially the arranger Fukui, who continues to please. (10/10)

4) Sign (Written by Chris)

This is used in an early scene in the film at Healin Lodge, featuring Cloud, The Turks, and the mysterious 'wheel chair person'. It is piano-based again, relying on ominous repeated motifs and simple diminished arpeggio patterns in the harmony. A little later in the piece, eerie vocals feature, which adds further depth and startles the listener, though doesn't really correspond with any change in the scene. Indeed, the theme merely feels like a typically piece of game music, seeming rather similar in style to "Anxiety" from the Final Fantasy XI Original Soundtrack yet not as well-developed, and this has a slight detrimental effect in the film. It doesn't fully convey the intensity of the dialogue on the scene and the way it continues without any substantial mood makes the scene seem quite shallow, despite initially creating some tension. This is the first of several disappointments on the album, being neither musically interesting nor particularly suitable for the film. (6/10)

5) Tifa's Theme (Piano Version) (Written by Chris)

While one of several examples of arrangements being recycled from previous albums, the direct use of this Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections arrangement was fairly inspired. It's never used in any major scenes, merely used as a leitmotif to represent Tifa's, but it works fairly well. Fans were probably dying for an orchestral arrangement, and, in similar cases, it could be said that the producers were lazy by not providing one, but, in this case, the solo piano was probably the best force to use. The simple, pure, and innocence tones of the instrument represent Tifa well throughout the film, with Hamaguchi's pianistic and elegant harmonies combining with a subtle performance from Seiji Honda to enhance such an effect. It's no major highlight on the album, but it works surprisingly well in context with the film nonetheless. (8/10)

6) For the Reunion (Written by Aevloss)

Unfortunately, we are now dealt out another disappointment — the opening work on the track is promising, and the careful, slowly lifting piano notes give an impression of building up to a climax of some sort. It is quite an interesting choice of music to accompany the short dialogue between Kadaj and the Wheelchair man; in fact, it comes off seeming almost contrapuntal in its use, but at the same time gives a nice impression of underlying strength on the part of Kadaj, and by the time the electric guitar riffs come in, it is like the music is making a blatant challenge to all that might oppose it. It is a shame then, that on a standalone basis it remains unchanged and is just tedious after a short time. The use of the piano, due to the lack of harmonic development, suffers from a considerable creativity void — it makes a good background, but with no melody at all, the piece ultimately comes off in a bad light, not nearly rivalling the effect of "Tifa's theme." This, I suppose, would be a perfect track for a person who believes that Uematsu is losing his inspiration to showcase, because it displays just that. (6/10)

7) Those Who Fight (Piano Version) (Written by Totz)

I was quite surprised when this track started playing in the movie, because I would have never guessed they would include it. It's played in the fight between Tifa and Loz that takes place in a church. This is one of Hamaguchi's best arrangements on the Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections because he managed to convey the blood-pumping adrenaline feel of battling into a piano piece. Even though I'm in favour of not having to resort to heavy dynamics to make a battle arrangement work (the Final Fantasy X-2 Piano Collection's "Demise" and Final Fantasy X Piano Collections' "Assault" are prime examples of positive exceptions), I do not find "Those Who Fight" grating. With that said, its appearance in the movie is rather awkward, and seeing as that every other major battle got a new arrangement, it makes me wonder why Tifa and Loz didn't deserve one. Normally I would give it 9, maybe 9.5, but I can't say I liked how it was simply thrown in the movie. (8/10)

8) Water (Written by Chris)

This track is very different from the rest, being a fusion of 'new age', pop, and jazz styles. It's almost like something one would expect from The Star Onions, though synthesizer operator turned arranger Keiji Kawamori is actually the face behind it. An unusual ensemble of xylophone, synth vocal pads, piano, harp, and Tsuyoshi Sekito's electric guitar are used here, and this is part of the reason it sounds so odd. As accompaniment to a scene that shows Cloud looking into the water in The Forgotten City, it sounds fairly appropriate in theory, flowing gently and having a reflective aura, but is jarring given it's so different to everything else on the soundtrack. The light integration of "Aerith's Theme" towards the end is an interesting, representing Cloud remembering his lost love well, even if horrifically predictable. The theme reflects decent inspiration, but just doesn't fit or hold any real musical worth. (6/10)

9) Materia (Written by Tim)

This track is very short and has an air of industrialism to it. It's very simple, and the length never really allows it to develop into anything interesting. The uninspired percussion bass line is accompanied by a series of rather odd sound effects. A hint of a melody seemingly attempts to set in near the end, but just as it arrives, the music fades out. For a piece about materia — the very lifeblood of Final Fantasy VII — it's disappointing that this piece couldn't have been more exciting. But alas, it seems this is nothing more than a short filler track, and hardly an adequate representation of what Tsuyoshi Sekito is capable of. (4/10)

10) Black Water (Written by Dave)

Played when Cloud goes to The Ancient City, a rock style was chosen here, which wasn't exactly necessary, though just abouts fit. It starts off slow and steady, and, with the guitar lines emphasising a sense of danger, it has quite an effective introduction in terms of atmosphere. Nonethless, Tsuyoshi Sekito and Kenichiro Fukui seem to linger here for far too long, thus changing the atmosphere into a dull one that gets worse as it proceeds. Occasionally, it tries to expand, introducing melodic fragments, but this sadly leads nowhere in most cases, plunging the theme further into the depths of mundaneness. With a bit of variation this piece could have been something special, even if it could fit the film's context a little better anyway. (5/10)

11) Aerith's Theme (Piano Version) (Written by Dave)

I found this track to be disappointing, as although the whole atmosphere created is somewhat pleasurable, I found it to be lacking in originality. There are so many arrangements that they could have picked to represent Aerith, and that includes some fan arrangements, too. The track still fits quite well with the film, however, as it represents her ghostly and tranquil appearance. Honda's performance of this track is flawless and it sounds even more enhanced than on the Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections album. The casual listener will find the first part of the track enjoyable and justified, but the weak harmony that is offered is a downfall of the track. Honda makes the harmony a lot more interesting in the second part of the track, however, where a nice running triplet sequence compliments the melody well. This isn't a track for me, but it is sure to be a fan's favourite. (8/10)

12) Battle in the Forgotten City (Written by Josh Barron)

I wasn't a fan of this track at first, but after a while, it grew on me. The best part, following a choral section, reminds me of a "Metal Gear Solid Main Theme". In this section, the string parts are filled with acciaccaturas, whereas the brass section and the timpani are rampant and adrenaline-pumping. This contrast is perfect for the theme, especially since it is supposed to be a battle track in a mystical setting. The calm end is quite unexpected, but on the whole, this is a piece that deserved a bit more recognition. Most people will be put off by the fact that this is a synth composition, but on the whole, Uematsu and Fukui prove once again that they know how to write a great battle track. (9/10)

13) Violator (Written by Totz)

Of course, this soundtrack wouldn't be complete with the famous "Shinra Company" theme, so "Violator" takes care of that. Indeed, the first thing that you hear when the track begins is a distorted guitar playing this theme. This composition aims to be aggressive, with an ample use of electric guitars and some hard rock here and there. And, just to break the monotony of the same thing percussive line being repeated over and again, and some average guitar riffs, Sekito threw a brief choir part in there. It doesn't fit at all with the atmosphere of the track, but at least it's different from the rest, which is good. I think it worked during the movie, because I don't remember complaining about it, but that's far from actually meaning something. (7/10)

14) The Great Northern Cave (FFVII AC Version) (Written by Chris)

"The Great Northern Cave" was a theme in the Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack that had creative and beautiful composition, but lacked accessibility in the game due to its unusual minimalist styles and the fact that it replaced the utterly phenomenal "F.F.VII Main Theme" as the overworld theme. Despite ranking as one of the least successful themes from the original game, however, it works well for ambient purposes in the Final Fantasy VII Advent Children movie. While the first 45 seconds or so are unlikely to grab the attention of the casual listener, featuring lots of distorted electronic effects and other ambient devices, the introduction of the familiar eerie piano motif changes the whole mood of the theme and entices the listener. The melody remains unchanged, played by the melancholic tones of a solo oboe, but is enhanced by improved sound quality, the ethereal qualities of the choir that surrounds it, and the extra dimension added by the continuation of the electronic effects. The theme suffers from lack of development, simply ending mid-phrase, which leaves the first disc on an unresolved yet also rather awkward note. Still, it manages to succeed in conveying mystery in the film, while also providing another familiar theme for the casual listener to pick out. (7/10)

Disc Two

1) Divinity I (Written by Griever)

This Original Soundtrack wouldn't be complete without some sort of operatic piece. Final Fantasy VII Advent Children has its share, and "Divinity I" is one of them. The opening with the chorus is reinforced by the pounding timpani, and although the rest of the theme is highly aggressive and heavy on the brass, the choir is never overpowered. I think of it as a mix of Orff and Wagner — the choir is as powerful as "O Fortuna," and the piece as a whole is as powerful and beautiful as pretty much any famous Wagner piece. (9/10)

2) Those Who Fight (FFVII AC Version) (Written by Dave)

I was never really a fan of the original track, but I feel that a lot of the raw action and tension is brought out well in this rock version. Kawamori and Sekito do a great job with the development that this track undergoes, and, although some sections are horribly out of place, it was written for a film score, so it has to match the actions nonetheless. The section from 0:50 to 1:29 is a classic example of this, as with this section being made up from a more ambient set of noises, it totally contrasts with the rock nature of the rest of the track. I enjoy this track a lot more than the original version, but there are still areas that need clearing up. (8/10)

3) Those Who Fight Further (FFVII AC Version) (Written by Harry)

I admit, the original track was actually a fairly decent boss battle theme, and it was one of the rare themes that didn't need high quality synthesizer samples to succeed. Fukui's rock and electronica arrangement doesn't lose the immediate danger that was placed into the original's design, but the overall quality of it is inferior to its counterpart. The electric guitar by Sekito is played lazily; no feeling or emotion. This damages the track severely because over half of the piece is heavily rock inspired. The atmospheric electronica section from 1:41 to 2:29 goes on for longer than some may like, though, admittedly, perfectly fits the scene in the movie, and doesn't support sufficient depth for interest. This leads to the pathetic electronic drums; in the rock sections of the track, they sound so weak that it would completely turn off the average listener, but in the part from 3:11 to 3:27, they are pulsating and powerful. The ending is a good lead off into the next orchestral epic, "Divinity II," but, unfortunately, the rest of the track is, well, plainly uninspired. (7/10)

4) Divinity II (Written by Griever)

To state its purpose, "Divinity II" finishes what "Divinity I" started. Like "Divinity I," it is an operatic piece, with some elements that I found interesting. You hear less from the choir this time, with a large segment from 0:53 to 2:01 being mostly from the orchestra. I also note that they mixed in an oboe solo that is from "Aerith's Theme," which was something that I didn't expect at first, though fits with the movie. The only flaws that I can find are the slight overpowering nature of the choir in one brief spot and that I have no clue what the choir is saying! But, without the abrupt ending like that of "Divinity I," I feel it merits a slightly higher score. (9/10)

5) Encounter (Written by Azhur)

This track is supposed to increase the tension as a new threat approaches. Unfortunately, even during its short duration (0:53), it shows no development whatsoever after 0:09. The beat is far from original and you can smell its mediocrity 10 miles away. That is something you wouldn't expect from top-notch composers, such as Uematsu and Kawamori. To summarise this track with three words, I'll be choosing the familiar and safe ones: dull filler track. (2/10)

6) The Chase of Highway (Written by Totz)

Keiji Kawamori gives us this atmospheric, techno-heavy composition. While it may not work as well outside of the original context, it's still an excellent action cue. The theme is made up from pumping beats, electric guitar riffs, the whole nine yards. But most importantly, you've got an appearance of the Turks' theme in it. Although quite brief and kind of an action-stopper, it still manages to sound good and not hinder the experience one bit. The theory behind the smooth transition into the "Turk's Theme" is that Kawamori's expertly written run-up is timed perfectly, and with the textures thinning in this section, there is a sense of anticipation as the melody comes in. All in all, I'd say Kawamori hit the jackpot with this one. This is definitely one of the best themes for an action sequence in the movie. (9/10)

7) Savior (Written by Dave)

The dark start to this track riddles the listener with tension and a sense of suspense when the string parts create an atmosphere that you could almost cut. The 0:32 mark offers a distorted guitar part which adds an even more ominous style to the track through its representation of a nearing danger. With the track ever growing in volume, we are introduced to a quieter, brief moment of hope around the 1:16 mark where a choir, some strings, and brass combine to create a heroic atmosphere. Sekito creates the perfect scene in this track, but this is clouded by the rushed ending of the track which is anticlimactic in every sense. This is an intriguing original composition. (9/10)

8) J-E-N-O-V-A (FFVII AC Version) (Written by Dave)

"J-E-N-O-V-A (FFVII AC Version)" is very similar to The Black Mages' original arrangement, but it is nowhere near as developed. The same electronic riff opens up the track, but from here onwards, everything becomes a lot more aggressive. The guitar line is full of power, and, although it seems somewhat forced in comparison, it retains the initial power of the Original Soundtrack theme. This is a great asset to the track and inevitably the film, too. It would have been great if the theme could have been developed more, but considering the overly powerful nature, I don't think that any development would have been as significant as it was for The Black Mages' original arrangement. Tsuyoshi Sekito's approach to this theme was a wise one, and I think that he does the original theme the best of justice in the limited time that he had to do so. (8/10)

9) Advent: One Winged Angel (Written by Chris)

The most ambitious addition to the soundtrack, "Advent: One Winged Angel," utilises a full orchestra, complete operatic choir, a three-man rock band, and two talented arrangers to arrange the most famous piece is Final Fantasy history. The opening is similar to the Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks version, featuring the orchestra only, as arranged by Shiro Hamaguchi, though benefits from less reverb and a more empowering performance. This is only the start, however, with the orchestra building up to the rock band's entrance at the 0:39, in what is perhaps the single most awe-inspiring moment of the soundtrack. With Tsuyoshi Sekito's overdriven guitar playing at full volume in the most hardcore way possible against a series of orchestral discords, accompaniment from Keiji Kawamori's bass guitar, and some carefully integrated piano decoration, this moment overwhelms, with the continuation of Sekito's solo beyond this adding to the whole climactic feel of the track. By now, it is clear that the final battle is upon us, as Sephiroth and Cloud battle it out in one of the most impressive duels in cinematic history.

The rock feel firmly established, Sekito finally cuts out at the 1:10 mark, when another force enters: the G.Y.A choir. By far the best choir to attempt a rendition of "One Winged Angel," they sing Taro Yamashita's Latin lyrics uncompassionately, largely in unison and with great clarity, utilising a Gothic style that simply sends chills down one's spine, as the movie demonstrates Sephiroth's heartless nature as he wreaks unbelievable amounts of destruction. The accompaniment throughout is excellent, with the orchestra continuing impress, while Keiji Kawamori's bass plays an overdriven motif that reappears several times over the track and the track's rock arranger, Kenichiro Fukui, supports with the drum kit superbly. After the second iteration of the chorus, the choir crescendo at 2:17 before startlingly reaching full volume and cutting, a feature that was in Hamaguchi's original orchestration, yet originally lacked coherency; not here, of course. After this, while the duel of fates continues, the orchestra get their second chance to lead once again, as the track moves into a key development taken from the Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks orchestration. However, the second iteration of the melodic motif here features Sekito's guitar leading the melody, bringing back memories of Yasunori Mitsuda's fine employment of the electric guitar in Xenosaga Original Soundtrack's "Omega." His solo continues, eventually playing separately from the orchestra, before all forces suddenly cut out entirely.

The section that follows from 3:16 is entirely original and could be considered the start of the rock band's jam session. Here, Kawamori initially enters, relentlessly playing a single note over and over again, occasionally cutting to the riff mentioned a little earlier. Soon after, Fukui joins him, aggressively playing the drums and really adding to the pace of the theme, allowing the choir's subsequent chanting to glide over the sea of electronic distortion and brash beats below in remarkable fashion. Sekito's solo at the 4:18 mark, though, is probably the most inspiring moment in the piece, virtuosic, flawlessly handled, and somehow quite beautiful, possibly outrivaling all the guitar solos on The Black Mages' album. As the orchestra re-enter, the piece quickly moves into its darkest section yet at the 5:15 mark, which initially features the lowest members of the choir, a 'cello, and drums, before intensifying as all parts crescendo and their is a progressive addition of several other forces, the soprano voice, a muted trumpet, and Kawamori's famous bass riff, before ending in strong fashion at the 6:17 mark. Altogether more coherent, powerful, and original than other arrangements of this piece, this arrangement is not only the best addition to the album from a musical perspective, but one bound to be loved by fans for life. (10/10)

10) Cloud Smiles (Written by Tim)

This lovely piece begins calmly with soothing piano chords, before it's joined by string and woodwind instruments. Having not seen the movie, I can't describe the context exactly, but in listening to this track, I get a sense of an overwhelming burden being lifted from Cloud's shoulders. At about the 1:00 minute mark, the piano becomes the most prominent instrument for a brief segment, until a gorgeous string section comes in and echoes. Later, the piece crescendos very nicely into a more dramatic section containing louder string instruments and some impressive forte piano runs. It then slowly returns to the more relaxing main melody heard throughout the piece. Overall, in an album dominated by rock and heavy-metal-style riffs, I found this beautiful orchestral piece to be a nice change of pace, and indeed, it ended up being my personal favorite track on an otherwise disappointing album. (10/10)

11) End Credits (Written by Chris)

"End Credits" should have been a masterpiece. It does, after all, feature three classic themes prominently ("F.F.VII Main Theme," "Aerith's Theme," and the "Final Fantasy" theme), receives the benefit of full orchestration by Kazuhiko Toyama, and concludes Square Enix's biggest work in years. A quick assessment reveals that this isn't actually the case. It starts off moderately well, with the first few phrases of "F.F.VII Main Theme" being played by a solo oboe against running strings. This builds up effectively into a fairly rich orchestration of the theme that produces an epic feel yet doesn't quite have the same sense of direction as Hamaguchi's Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks version.

Oddly enough, at the 1:43 mark, the key suddenly turns minor with no real reason, as a dark feeling is produced. Shortly after, a second poor transition occurs, this time into a bouncy rendition of "Aerith's Theme" at the 2:35 mark that is pleasant, though neither as emotive nor well-developed as hardcore fans would have hoped. The rendition of the "Final Fantasy" theme constitutes the final one and a half minutes of playing time. It feels rushed, like Toyama had to include too many themes into his arrangement yet had very little time to do it. As a consequence, the emotion that Hamaguchi's orchestration of this provided for the ending themes to Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy IX is nowhere near paralleled.

The truth is that this orchestration has many flaws, with every single reprise of the themes included being outrivaled by Shiro Hamaguchi's equivalent interpretation, mostly on the Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks. Blandness, poor transitions, and use of popular themes in a way that lacks meaning is ultimately the made problem, and Toyama was clearly not he man for the job here, out-of-touch with the series and merely orchestrating three themes he was told to, which could be considered quite generic to him. Indeed, 5:36 is quite a short playing time compared to most Final Fantasy ending themes, though this gives no excuses for the production of awkward renditions of trademark themes that ultimately lose much of their meaning here. Shiro Hamaguchi would have done a much better job. (7/10)

12) Calling (Written by Dave)

After a score filled with rock, action, and some heartfelt themes, the last track on the album is a hopeful one to say in the least. Admittedly, Kyosuke Himuro's voice is a welcoming one in comparison to the likes of Final Fantasy X's Rikki, but, with a lack of any real feeling in his melody, he doesn't compare to the likes of Faye Wong, Yae, or Emiko Shiratori who starred earlier in the Final Fantasy series. (He does, however, overthrow the likes of Mr. Goo and Isao Sasaki, who are both male singers that Nobuo Uematsu has worked with in the past.) The theme is also a bit of underachievement, as with an unyielding, long introduction, it just doesn't compare to the instrumental delights that were offered in earlier Final Fantasy games. The track does pick up though, and although it never reaches the same inspirational heights as the likes of "Eyes on Me" or "Kaze No Ne," it gets the right image of sentimentality across. It turns out to be an inspiring image theme on the movie, even if it is never used directly on there, with its accompanying video enhancing its wondrous guitar solos perfectly. On the whole, this theme has a lot of areas to improve upon, but is one of the most enjoyable and original on the soundtrack. (8/10)


Written by Chris

Final Fantasy VII Advent Children's soundtrack is an adequate fan's service that suited the film fairly well. It does little more than this, however, neither paralleling Final Fantasy VII's soundtrack nor producing much musically interesting material. If you take out the superb choral works, i.e. the Divinity themes, "The Promised Land," and "Advent: One Winged Angel," as well as the heartfelt "Cloud Smiles" and the quirky "CALLING," all that is left is a mixture of some bland or unoriginal reprises of old themes, a few dull piano-based tension tracks, and copious amounts of generic rock devoid of any original or melodic qualities. Despite its greater popularity to the VGM world, this score pales greatly compared to Elliot Goldenthal's rich and beautiful score to Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within. Let's concentrate on the album's problems in more detail.

Firstly, it must be said that the score lacks any real balance. While the rock arrangements would largely be welcome, the fact that they are almost all featured in the second disc makes that disc gradually become repetitive and oppressive, leaving the first disc largely devoid of substance or character. While the resolution of the soundtrack is dealt with effectively, it lacks a convincing introduction and development. Though the action basis of the second half made it a little harder for variation to seep through, deviations in the Divinity themes and "Advent: One Winged Angel" demonstrate the advantage of creative approaches to action themes rather than 'wall of sound' rock pieces.

In addition, far too much old material from the Piano Collections, live concerts, and The Black Mages is re-used. While having old motifs reappear is a good idea in principle, simply translating arrangements over to movies is sloppy and defies the fundamental idea of underscoring. It also makes the scores disappointing for hardcore soundtrack fans. The most obvious exceptions where some more creative efforts to integrate old themes were taken would be "The Promised Land," "Water," and "Advent: One Winged Angel." The former two are likely to be relatively inaccessible to audiences, however, and "Water" exemplifies just how overused "Aerith's Theme" is throughout the score. Only "Advent: One Winged Angel" reuses an old theme in a truly rousing way, even if themes like "Opening" and the piano renditions of the female character themes were mild functional successes.

To add insult to injury, the new compositions created were neither successful in being memorable nor creating atmosphere within the film. Take "Beyond the Wasteland," "Sign," and "For the Wasteland," for instance. Each rely on repetitive piano motifs, fail to sound convincing in the film, and are devoid of any harmonic subtleties. It's hardly the dramatic return Nobuo Uematsu fans had in mind. "The Promised Land" and Divinity themes are exceptions, though Uematsu wasn't truly responsible for them. To sum up, therefore, this score's only merits lie in a handful of themes, which the score is likely to be worth purchasing for, though is not worthy of much praise overall. It just about worked in the movie and pleased most fans mildly, though is very average overall and a major disappointment. (6/10)

Written by Dave

On the whole, I was fairly disappointed with this soundtrack. Truthfully, there was always something in the back of my mind saying that it would never live up to the hopes and expectations of the majority of the fans, but I never expected it to be this uninventive. I was hoping for a lot of new material to be featured on the album, but with a selection of old, pre-arranged, themes making up the majority of the album, these initial thoughts were destroyed. The tracks entitled 'Piano Versions', for instance, were taken directly from the Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections and some arrangements were based on items from Tour de Japon - Music from Final Fantasy and The Black Mages. To me, this showed a lack of effort from the composing team, who just wanted the score over and done with.

Most will agree when I say that the soundtrack focuses far too much on the rock contributions from Tsuyoshi Sekito, Kenichiro Fukui, and Keiji Kawamori. Although this isn't a bad thing on its own, and it worked fairly well within the context of the film, it makes the soundtrack dull and uninventive. Of course, they produced the finest track on the soundtrack — "Advent: One Winged Angel" was an amazing theme that was arranged to its full potential — but with there being plenty of mediocre themes from them, too, their contributions are a mixed bag.

Overall, I would only suggest buying this soundtrack for sentimental reasons rather than for enjoyment and fresh material. There are a number of great new themes, such as "Advent: One Winged Angel" and "The Chase of Highway," but with these clouded by some dreary past themes, it just lacked a sense of direction for me. If you are in need of new Final Fantasy material, then my suggestion is to wait for the new Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack to come out. Since Hitoshi Sakimoto, a composer who is renowned for fulfilling high expectations and creating excellent themes, is behind this album, I can assure you that this is likely to be a much better buy. Underdeveloped, lacklustre themes litter the Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Original Soundtrack, and this is the reason for my score. (7/10)

Written by Merziloss

I didn't care for the album at all, sadly. The orchestral scores and piano renditions were enjoyable, as always, and some of the choral work was interesting, but the rock, which dominated the soundtrack, was either completely uninspired or simply 'wall of sound' composition. I honestly couldn't listen to some of the more blaring battle themes towards the end without developing a severe headache. Thus, I'd give the album a 65%. It's worth checking out for the few bits of interest, but only hard "distorted guitars turned up to 11" rock fans truly need apply. The straight re-used material doesn't help, either, of course. (6/10)

Written by Totz

I think the album worked well within the context the movie, but I was sorely disappointed with the use of previous arrangements from the Piano Collections and with the arrangement of "J-E-N-O-V-A." Even if it's related to the game, the use of that many older themes was a bit unnecessary, and so was the overkill that was "Aerith's Theme." It's absolutely everywhere! Sure, she was important, but enough is enough. The biggest flaw of the soundtrack was that there was no "Cid's Theme." What's up with that? Uematsu could have opted for something like Final Fantasy VI's "Ending Theme" as the ending. That would have been great. Or he could have done something like that when all the characters appear. But nope. (8/10)

Average of Summary Scores: 7/10