Final Fantasy Should Be The Next Big Videogame Movie

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Final Fantasy 7 battle royale

Way back in 2001, video game fans were “treated” to Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, a CGI movie that attempted to translate the fan-favorite franchise into a big-screen adventure. The movie was a dud with critics and fans alike, but I think it’s time to throw a Phoenix Down on this franchise’s big-screen potential. With that, I’ve got a pitch hotter than a Mako reactor ready to blow: it’s time to translate Final Fantasy VII into a live-action film.

One Piece Proves A Live-Action Final Fantasy Movie Will Work

one piece

Before I level up this argument, it’s worth addressing the elephant in the room: why do we even need a live-action Final Fantasy at all? There are several answers to this, including the success of the live-action One Piece series on Netflix. Live-action adaptations of anime have usually been completely awful, but the success of One Piece gives me hope that a big-screen film could capture the essence of an anime-adjacent video game like Final Fantasy VII.

No Better Time

On a more meta-level, this is the perfect time to adapt the hit PlayStation game into a live-action film because audiences have learned to appreciate a perfectly balanced blend of action, humor, and (no pun intended) fantasy. The John Wick series, for example, elevates the “lone hero out for vengeance” trope into an entire cinematic world full of colorful characters and action sequences that are so insanely choreographed that we’re basically watching ballet with bullets. 

Critics and audiences alike have enjoyed these films so much that, frankly, I think they are ready and willing to embrace blockbuster films that blend human drama with ancient magic, mystical weapons, and a coterie of creatures that includes giant dragons.

Final Fantasy VII Is The Obvious Choice For Good Reason

Now that I’ve established why Final Fantasy as a genre would work well in live-action, it’s time to address the bigger question: out of all the games in the franchise to turn into a theatrical film, why Final Fantasy VII? Some of the reasons are shallow (if practical), including the fact that this game is back in the zeitgeist thanks to the recent release of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

Successful films often depend on brand recognition (hence, all the sequels, prequels, and remakes), so it would make sense to adapt Final Fantasy VII to the big screen while the remakes are at the height of their popularity. 

Advent Children Was A Major Hit

There’s also the simple fact that Final Fantasy VII has already proven itself on the big screen…sort of. The CGI film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children released direct to video in 2005 and was generally a hit with fans but baffled many of the professional critics who reviewed it. 

More to the point, this film recently got a belated theatrical release ahead of the remake game Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. Fans blew up social media gushing over how cool it was to see Cloud, Tifa, and the rest of their favorite characters on the big screen, and it’s obvious that a live-action film adaptation of the original game would prove even more popular.

The Answer To Superhero Fatigue

Final Fantasy VII

Speaking of characters, one of the most compelling reasons that Final Fantasy VII would make a great live-action movie is that it has characters casual audiences can generally understand: Cloud Strife, for instance, is a super-soldier haunted by the past, reminiscent of popular characters like Captain America. Tifa Lockart, meanwhile, is the charismatic girl next door with a righteous cause, much like Sharon Carter. Barret Wallace is a man with a robot arm who wrestles with whether he is more hero or terrorist, making him the Bucky Barnes of this quirky trio.   

By the way, if you want to use Barret’s gun arm to shoot me for those MCU comparisons, I perfectly understand. But the depressing truth is that Marvel was such a dominant theatrical force for so long that general audiences can’t easily appreciate characters that break the mold (one of the reasons we had to endure “well, that just happened” dialogue from assorted movie characters for about a decade after the success of Avengers). Final Fantasy VII happens to have characters that fit within these general archetypes while having their own distinct personalities and stories, giving us the best of both worlds.

A Mind-Bending Ending

Finally, if a Final Fantasy VII movie actually stuck to the ambiguous ending of the original game, we could have the kind of climax audiences spend decades debating. The ending of the game involved unleashing a powerful spell to defeat Sephiroth, and because the spell was designed to eradicate anything threatening the planet, one prominent character questions whether it might wipe out humanity.

We won’t spoil anything, butt how cool would it be to see a blockbuster Final Fantasy VII film with such a mind-bending ending? For that matter, the characters’ motivations to use extreme measures to protect the planet are arguably more resonant now than ever thanks to the ongoing threat of climate change.

A Movie For Everyone, Not Just Gamers

final fantasy vii

Listen to the gamers, y’all: it’s time for a movie filled with breathless action, unforgettable characters, and scenes that double us over with laughter and bring us to our knees in tears.

This is a moment fans of the original game have spent decades waiting for. It’s time for a live-action Final Fantasy VII film, and I simply can’t wait to see the memes. I also can’t wait for the cross-dressing Cloud scene to break the internet. After all, what are the culture wars but one annoying, active-time battle that never seems to end?