Going back to it after a bit, it's not that bad...still should have been more, however.
It's been a few years, and, out of boredom, I popped it back in. By the end of it, I didn't feel too cheated, I found I was able to enjoy it quite a bit. I did watch it differently than I did last time, though. This time I did what I almost never do with anything from another country: I watched it with the dubbing. Somehow, I found I was able to enjoy it much more than before.
I guess part of the reason for this was that the dubbing made more sense than the subtitles. I watched it in enlish with the subtitles on and noticed several differences in the translations, noticing that the english dubbing took more care in making the lines have an emotional tinge to it than their subtitle counterpart.
So this is what made the difference from me. My grade's less about being cheated by Square and more about the overall film.
That said, It's still a mediocre experience as a whole. While, for the most part, I was able to fully enjoy myself, I was glad that some of the characters didn't have more speaking parts. And that's bad. That's BAD bad. All of the female characters had the most high pitched, subdued, "angelic" quality to it that left me wondering how this made it past the green light. These sheepish voices did not fit in at all with the semi-"realistic" look of the film and would have been better off in some cheap saturday morning anime. Every spoken word by Tifa made me cringe, and the two seconds of dialogue from another sounded completely void of emotion. Yuffie was typical of anime and sounded the least out of place.
Actually, Yuffie brings me to my next grief with this film: the lack of screen time for a major chunk of Final Fantasy VII characters that many of us grew to love through our experiences with the actual game. Yuffie, Cid, Barret, Red XIII, Vincent, Cait Sith...they're all here...for all of two seconds :( . For the purposes of making a decent film it would have been better to just leave them out entirely...they were simply there for fan-service, and a poor fan-service at that. Barret's face looked rather unrealistic (compared to the others), and his voice only made it worse...my biggest dissappointment with the guest appearance characters.
As expensive as it would have been, this film could have seriously used another 1 1/2 to 2 hours to flesh out Cloud's posse, if not the story as a whole. Considering the usual epic-length to all final fantasy games, I would have been most appreciative of this.
But the product we have is what it is. An entertaining, but brief, look into a moment in the FFVII universe. Those who haven't played the game will probably be to bored to tears by the intro to care about the story, so this is mostly something only those who've played should be watching. It's fun, very pretty, pulls a little bit here and there (I find myself feeling sorry for the villian and the hero), and worth a look at. Just don't expect it to be something that'll have you gripping the edge of your seat story-wise. There are no twists, nor are there turns. It's all spelt out quite plainly. I wanted more, but I do like it. I'd view it before dropping coin, though. Not everyone shares my opinion in these matters.