Release: Out Now
From: Manga Entertainment
Director: Shinji Higuchi
Starring: Haruma Miura, Kiko Mizuhara, Kanata Hongô
The live-action Attack On Titan was royally slammed even before it opened in Japan this summer. One preview critic said, “I wished the Titans would eat the kids so it would end,” and was blasted on Twitter by the angry director, Shinji Higuchi. It wasn’t as funny as Josh Trank dissing his own Fantastic Four movie, but it came an honourable second.
The first of a two-part story, Attack On Titan is not a good film. It may not even be an Attack On Titan film, as – like Fantastic Four – it makes huge for-the-hell-of-it changes to the storyline. It’s still set on a world where humans cower behind stone walls from man-eating giants, but as the story starts Eren Yeager’s an orphan and no-one’s seen a Titan in living memory. And if you loved Titan for the relationship between Eren and Mikasa (who’s not his adoptive sis now), then be warned: their arc has really changed.
The film’s visually interesting if you don’t demand 21st century “realism”, and like seeing the seams and back-projections. In other words, it may appeal most to fans of vintage Doctor Who and Japanese monster movies (Higuchi comes from a monster-film background). Many of the monster attacks are striking, especially the opening onslaught on Eren’s town, which feels like a bloody puppet show with human actors. There’s a great moment with a Titan baby, and a final smash-’em-to-bits battle that more than does justice to an iconic moment of the story.
The real problem is the long time spent with the silly, unengaging human characters. Their screechy “comedy” turns (including a version of mad Titan obsessive Hange) raise reluctant chuckles but the young actors are excruciating, pretty-faced kids playing at being hard.
Sorry Higuchi, your online critic had a point about rooting for the Titans.
Review by: Tom Arden