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Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (CGI) (PG-13)
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This came out in 2005 in Japan, and a year later in North America. (Actually, I'm fairly sure it was released in Japanese theaters just a few days before it was released on DVD and UMD, so I feel that it just barely qualifies as a theatrical film rather than an OVA.) A director's cut with "Complete" added to the title was released in 2009, but that's not the version I saw. The special edition DVD I got was the original version, even though I didn't see it until 2015. Anyway, the film is a sequel to the video game "Final Fantasy VII," and it's set two years after the game. I've never played that game, nor any of the games in the Final Fantasy series (not that the other games would matter, since as far as I know the different volumes are unrelated to one another). So, I had very little idea what was going on; I'm sure I would have appreciated the movie more if I had played the game, but I'm not sure how much more. Basically, there's a huge backstory that I know very little about (in spite some exposition within the film), as well as knowing nothing about any of the characters. And the plot of the movie itself was confusing. But the visuals were nice, and the battles were cool.

Anyway... there was this villain named Sephiroth, who had been defeated in the game by a bunch of heroes, the main one being a guy named Cloud Strife. But also following the events of the game, the world is in a kind of post-apocalyptic state. Cloud was apparently living in a broken city, along with one of his allies from the game, Tifa Lockhart, as well as some orphans. (It sounded to me like there were a large number of orphans in their care, but I could have been wrong about that. The only ones we ever see are a girl named Marlene and a boy named Denzel.) But at the start of the movie, it seems as if they haven't seen Cloud for awhile. He's spending a lot of time alone, apparently because he's all angsty about the terrible stuff that went down in the game, or whatever. Also I should say there are a bunch of children, including Denzel, who have a weird illness called Geostigma, which Cloud also has (though I think he was keeping that a secret). And um... Cloud gets attacked by a gang led by a guy named Kadaj. They're apparently all "remnants" of Sephiroth, whatever the hell that means. But the geostigma was related to them and their plans for a "reunion" with Sephiroth. And they're trying to find their "mother," Jenova, who I think was some alien or something, which had been used by a company called Shinra to create super-soldiers, who had included both Sephiroth and Cloud. I think. But, you know, Sephiroth had gone insane and turned against Shinra, and the whole world. And now Rufus Shinra, the former president of the company, is hiding Jenova from Kadaj's gang. Oh, also, there are a couple of guys who work as like bodyguards or whatever for Rufus, named Reno and Rude. (Reno is a snarky wiseass, probably my favorite character in the movie, though that's not saying much.)

Anyway... the plot bounces around from battle to battle. Cloud gets some help from a guy named Vincent at one point, and later from several other allies from the game, whose names I didn't catch. (But I will say that one of my favorite parts of the movie was when they each took turns helping accelerate Cloud in a jump to catch some kind of dragon thing that he had to fight.) And I'm not sure what else to say. A lot of stuff happens throughout the movie, most of which seems random to me. I mean, it mostly seems connected to the overall plot, but it was rarely clear to me how exactly point A progressed to point B. But, you know, the good guys win in the end, and I guess that's all that really matters. At least I was never really bored... though my mind did sometimes wander (mostly to stories I thought it would be fun to write, somewhat inspired by stories like the one I was watching, though hopefully they'd be more coherent than this).

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