Attack on Titan

3 Overall Score
Acting: 4/10
Action: 5/10
Story: 1/10

Uhh... giant monsters eating people and decent special effects.

Everything else.

Attack on Titan

(Shingeki No Kyojin)

Director: Shinji Higuchi  

Screenplay: Yusuke Watanabe, Tomohiro Machiyama

Haruma Miura, Kiko Mizuhara, Kanata Hongo

2015

I am aware that Attack on Titan is actually a very popular anime and manga series by Hajime Isayama.  That is about all I knew of the source material before watching the Shinji Higuchi helmed live-action adaptation.

A hundred years ago Titans (flesh-eating, humanoid, zombie giants) attacked and nearly eliminated the human race.  The survivors of the attack erected a large wall to keep the titans out and started a new life within it.  One day, as three friends (Eren, Mikasa, and Armin) explore the outer wall, a titan decides to come a knockin’ and creates an opening for all the other titans to come in and wreak havoc on the small agricultural community.  The town is destroyed and the survivors retreat into the inner wall.  Two years pass and Eren and Armin have enlisted in the scouting legion seeking revenge against the titans.  They go on a last ditch effort to seal the wall and reclaim the farmlands.

The film was produced by Toho, a studio famous for Godzilla and other giant monster movies.  I myself am a fan of said giant monster movies.  But for whatever reason, Attack on Titan just didn’t do it for me.  First off, the entire opening of the film is very rushed.  We are introduced to the three main characters very quickly and given very little back story to make an audience remotely care for them.  Within thirteen minutes, the first set of Titans attack and we are rushed through a giant monster action sequence.  This would have been super exciting if not for the fact that I was more concerned with the poor sound design than anything (words I never thought I would I ever use).  At one point a Titan is looming over a person and begins giggling which seemed out of place.  This is not because it would be out of character for the Titan to giggle, but because the sound didn’t seem connected to the character at all.  I thought initially that it was someone off screen giggling.  Also, I just wanted to point this out to everyone… if a giant monster can break through a massive wall, chances are hiding everyone in a wooden hut and barricading it might not be your best line of defense.

Before you know it, we are two years into the future and again are grasping at straws in terms of connecting with our protagonist.  When we finally do get some character development from Eren, it turns out he’s just a douchebag.  This became ever so clear later on in the movie when a single mother throws herself at him, asks him to be the father for her daughter, and attempts to engage in sexy time.  Eren is horrified at the proposal, so much so that he remains quiet as the Titan behind them breaks through the wall, scoops her up and devours her… way to dodge that bullet bro.  Seriously though, I can understand the complete freak out, but I would not let the giant monster eat her to get out of saying, “um… no.”  Maybe his reaction had something to do with the poor acting, and the inability to express anything beyond complete shock and that loner brooding sad face.

Also, what was up with the neo-Nazi get ups, complete with red armbands and giant red banners flying everywhere? The only thing missing were the swastikas.  It was an extreme costuming choice for a group of people you barely get to know.

The last thing I will mention, because I could go on, is the tone of the film.  I don’t think they ever quite hit their mark on this.  The fluctuations between melodrama, action, and humor are poorly handled, to the point that nothing resonates.  The humor isn’t funny, the melodrama is hilarious, and the action is stale.  Frankly there are far better films that have handled this mood blending immensely better.

If you are a fan of giant monster movies and anime, go watch something else.  Hell, watch the anime Attack on Titan, I’ve heard good things about it.

 

 

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Dan Folgar
Author: Dan Folgar View all posts by
Dan Folgar received a degree in Cinema Studies from the University of Central Florida in 2008, and is currently working on an MFA in Fine Arts. He is an avid film watcher and an enthusiast who is prone to ranting. Follow on twitter @grim842.

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