Live Action Attack on Titan Movie Review

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11B30B4

Well-Known Member
Spoiler Warning….

Who am I? I am a 47 year old guy who grew up watching Japanese live action shows like Ultraman and Japanese Anime (albeit Americanized) Speed Racer, Star Blazers (Space Battleship Yamato in Japan), and Robotech (Macross in Japan) just to name a few. I saw all the original Star Wars Movies on opening day in a movie theater (and Han most certainly shot first). I watched the original Battlestar Galactica series as it aired. I watched all the re-runs of the original Star Trek series in the early 1980s along with all the current and previously aired Doctor Who. I loved movies like Logan’s Run (and the TV series), 2001 A Space Odyssey, Heavy Metal, and a ton of other films and shows too vast to list here. With this eclectic background I figure I have enough a good grasp of how to relate to others who are fans of such movies and shows.

Last night I went to a viewing of the new live action Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin). I have watched all 25 episodes of the Anime series; however, I have not read the Manga. This review will be in comparison with the Anime series.

So the Anime is fantastic, there is no campiness to it and its clearly directed to an older audience in comparison with many other Anime. The live action movie is also directed towards an older audience but there is some campiness in the film (not to worry, its not a real put-off). What is a put-off is the plot changes that make no sense.

Like I said in my review of the live action movie Space Battleship Yamato found here:
http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=247668
Its like the director and writers did not even watch the Anime series. They just got the opportunity to make a film and ran with it. To put it another way, we don’t need to know that the Force is Midi-Chlorians.

Dear God! Where to start? Well first, the world in the movie is a post-apocalyptic world where humans had machines like helicopters and nuclear bombs, all this was deemed illegal because (dare I say it) these things were damaging the environment (#$%!). So unlike the Anime that exists in an unknown alternate reality (think Dunwall in Dishonored) the movie setting has vehicles (which would beg the question if you can have huge armored trucks, why don’t you have better weapons than swords and cannons?) but I digress. The Anime establishes the reason for cannons, horses, and swords early on as “just accept it” and this works well for the series. But if you have a crashed UH1 Huey helicopter leaning on the Maria wall like you do in the movie, why haven’t you scavenged it and everything else to make better weapons and vehicles to combat the greatest threat to humanity? BTW, the movie does not go into any real explanation of the three walls and districts except to say that the walls are concentrically constructed to protect humans.

Next, I am a big fan of character motivation. The characters are a product of their experiences and it explains why they do what they do. This is extremely important in AOT when we start talking about humans that turn into titans. So the main character Eren Yeager in the Anime series is motivated to join the military and eventually the scouts because he sees his mother get eaten by a titan. In the movie he thinks he sees Mikasa Ackerman (another main character) get killed by a titan. This is his supposed motivation. For the viewer and fan of the Anime, we are left with a WTF! Moment because Mikasa is a huge part of the story and to lose her in the beginning makes no sense at all. Alas, we later learn that she did not die and has been living in titan infested land killing titans as a scout. This brings me to another motivation problem. Every person in the movie from the humans to the titans are Japanese. In the Anime series most of the characters are German or something other than Asian. This is the back story of how Mikasa (who is Japanese) came to live with Eren and his family and what traumatic events caused her to harden and become the warrior she is. Without these motivations, here becoming a bad ass makes little sense. Moving on.

So the third most important character is Armin Arlert. In the movie he has a fascination with gadgets and comes off as a smart teenager. This is not as big a leap from the Anime; however, we never see what Armin is truly good at. In the Anime he is an average fighter but he is an expert tactician. He comes up with most of the battle plans that drive the actions of the characters. In the movie he is just along for the ride.

At this point I should mention that there is nothing in the movie about the training of the cadets and the introduction of the 3D maneuvering device. We go from Eren collapsing after he thinks Mikasa has been killed in the first Titan attack to being a full-fledged member of the scouts. I suppose that this could be accepted to compress the story but this film was made in two parts. Each movie Attack on Titan, and Attack on Titan II: End of The World are 1 hour and 30 minutes long. With 2 movies to tell the story, there should have been something about the 104th Training Corps. After all, in the Anime series, it is this group of friends that drive the entire story and provides our characters with the knowledge to determine who the female titan is. Did I mention that the titans are both female and male in the movie from the very start? Oh well just one more story change that made no sense. I won’t even go into Capitan Levi and implied sexual relationship with Mikasa (I know, WTF!).

So what does the movie have? Lots of action, great visuals of the 3D maneuvering device and sword play, lots of titans eating humans, and Eren turning into a titan and fighting other titans.

I read a critical movie review of part 2 on the internet and it mentioned that AOT II did about half as good at the box office in Japan as the first film did. He said it best, “That means that half the people who went to see the first film just couldn't be bothered to see the conclusion to the story, and word of mouth only harmed the movies, failing to bring in a fresh audience.”

Well, should you see the movie, I say yes. For everything it’s not, I was still entertained. I am a sucker for movies, in fact the only movie I ever walked out on was Highlander II: The Quickening. They lost me when we learned that MacLeod was a time traveler or an alien or whatever (What happened to “There can only be one”?). Sure there have been others I wanted to walk out of (Star Wars Episode 1) but I stuck with it and tried to look at the best aspects of the movie. In this same approach, I stuck with AOT and I will most likely go see AOT2 on October 20th (A scathing review to follow I’m sure) but these trends in really getting the movie wrong have me worried for future projects. I thought I heard that there was a live action Robotech/ Macross in the works. I have high hopes but history has taught me to hope for the best but expect the worst.

If you have not watched the 25 episode Attack on Titan Anime series, its available on Netflix and I highly recommend it. If you have seen both the Anime and the movie please let me know what you think of this review.
 

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IronMeg

Active Member
Excellent review thank you, I'm looking forward to seeing this movie. Similar to the question above, is this movie available outside of Japan yet?
 

11B30B4

Well-Known Member
Lear60man, as far as I am aware of it is not available online and the DVD is not availabe yet. I went to a limited movie screening in my local area. There is a website for locations in the us:
http://attackontitanthemovie.com/ticket/?gclid=CNPG24iDpMgCFUcbgQodCAgN8Q
However, I found the web site to be quite buggy. I ended up googling "Attack on Titan Movie Atlanta" and I came up with the limited distribution theaters in my area that were showing and what dates and time. I am not sure where you are but if you are near a large city with a thriving artistic community, its probably showing near you. You may have missed the bus for part 1, I think it was only showing for 3 days but you may get lucky. AOT 2 will show on October 20th at most of the same theaters, good luck.

IronMeg, same comments as above and thanks for the kind words of my review.
 

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