(Above fanart poster image by Crowsmack)
Maybe my expectations of the live action ATTACK ON TITAN Movie had not been set too high, because besides the scathing reviews on many a websites (except for Tofugu, the most balanced and conscientious one so far, IMHO), I quite enjoyed the film.
While I may not have read the manga, I had adored the anime series to a fault … BUT, I had not hoped much for the live action adaptation to be a replica of, and any such expectations may well be a foolish notion, as what is seen on differing mediums, might not work on others - ESPECIALLY when it comes to anime-adaptations, IMHO.
When I devoured the anime, I had imagined that it would make a schweet live-action adaptation! But the films before us, did not adhere to the anime, although it utilized numerous elements of it - sometimes to triumphant levels, most times a nod to the fans but otherwise falling flaccid like the 3D manuver gear ran out of fuel and slammed into the wall, unfortunately … but I had instead chosen to look at it as a "new" product, tailored for the big screen instead. "Foolish" of me? Of course, but that is the only way I couled stomach what I had watched, and enjoyed the taste of, otherwise :)
First up, "casting", and one true thing that does not work across mediums, as the film chose to have a predominant "Japanese" led cast, in sharp contrast to both the anime and manga, featuring mixed races inclusive of European, which adds tons to the allure of the story initially, truth be told, and hence design of the situations, geography, architecture etc - which sadly, looses the point of, in the final film, IMHO.
The "acting" was on par with most sentai films/projects/tv series seen thus far, so I did not expect otherwise. "Campy" in lieu of "hysterics", I suppose … but then again, what benchmark are we taking about here? Every other disaster / monster show in Japanese culture, of course ~ LOL
Having said that, if the AOT films make tons of bucks, I would not be surprised to see a Hollywood version of this, inclusive of mixed races casting (and Mikassa WOULD end up being the sole Asian lady in the cast, imagine that?).
Funnily enough, the highest expectation I had were for "Mikassa", and the exotic beauty of the character, but while watching the film, all I could do was wince at "Armin"s non-blonde hair … who would easily be adhered yo in the Hollywood remake (see above para), innit? HAH.
Initially it bugged me silly that most of the males where skinny as heck and utterly malnourished … but then again, maybe they were meant to be so?
And while yes, I was a tad affected that "Levi" was "replaced" by a new character written for the film, it had made better sense in relation to Mikassa's role. Would things change in the second film? Or would it affect the TV series instead? Are the Survey Corps in existence enough to warrant the need for Levi?
I'd more than be happy to wait for the day when the Green Coats appear on the next evolution of the Corps, otherwise my head would explode...
Back to the aforementioned "architecture", which in turn connects directly to the "design" of the film, which I felt was decently thought out, starting from the "dud bomb" Eren was standing on in the beginning of the film, and the image painted on it, alluding to the timeline aspect of the film - from a parallel world on Earth, now seen in the apocalyptical (un-timed) future, where "technology" had also caused the downfall of humanity (see Armin's exchange with his superior officer in the mid-end-scene) … hence the abandoned apartment blocks where the Titans fought would have sort of made sense (besides the context of the European cottages seen in the anime), in context with the "modern" world of the "past"? Small quibbles, methinks :p
The CGI could have been heaps better, of course, but not everyone's a "Lord of the Rings" or "The Hobbit", innit? "Guys-in-Monster-Suits" work fine for me, and reminds me of the kitsch-allure of Japanese-made monster films, anyways … but of course this is a personal preference, which most folks out there might disagree with, but no matter, to each his own.
All I could remember, was the anticipation and excitement at seeing … SPOILER AHEAD … Eren Titan kicking the crap out of the other Titans! LOL
All in all, it turned out better than I had hoped for, and really, condensing the entire story into two films is not an easy feat, IMHO. I had asked a new-found friend if the ending to AOT would excite me to watch the second, with his answer being a resounding "No" … but as I watched it, I could not wait to find out what happens next!
TAKE NOTE: Folks who sit thru the movie's credits, will be rewarded with a mid-credits "trailer" of sequences to happen in part two "ATTACK ON TITAN: END OF THE WORLD", some sequences of which you would recognize from the anime, so I am awaiting with baited breath for it!
Popcorn Rating: 3 & 1/2 Boxes of velvety buttery popcorn over 5 Boxes full.
#watched via online streaming of a decent straight-bootleg, and seeing the youtubed videos, looked like I did not miss too much. All images show here are screengrabs of said viewing.
(Above fanart poster image by JonEastwood)