By Aiden Harmitt-Williams
Since the initial announcement of the Attack on Titan live action film, many were excited. Then the first trailer was released and then everybody was sceptical. I wasn’t particularly swayed either end but for the problems at hand were big problems.
Let me begin by saying that it could be worse. It stays largely faithful to the source material, and because obviously the source material is very good, the story remains decent at all times. However, because of the medium that a film is everything moves very fast in comparison with both the series and [I assume] the manga. This kind of helps the film, but it doesn’t aid the story, and those that have seen the series will be wondering where everything went.
The fact of the run time [which is about 1 hour 30 minutes] being short means that character development is at a loss. Eren is just an angry teenager, Mikasa is a mysterious mostly absent teenage girl, and Armin is still the nerd of the group who is surprisingly less irritating and useless than his animated counterpart. The Survey Corps members, who had a relatively fleshed out development cycle of their own are all introduced in literally one scene when they’re all about to undergo their first mission.
The world is more post-apocalyptic compared to the manga/show which I think makes sense considering the whole world went to pot. Apparently 100 years wasn’t long enough for the world to get back into tip top shape. It helps maintain the aesthetic throughout but for purists it won’t bode well. One thing this film retains however is the violence, and because now it is live action, it’s much more visceral, when the effects hold up that is.
Ever since the release of the first trailer there were many comments on the CGI, especially surrounding the Colossus Titan (shown below). In its final form I just accepted the fact that a limited budget would leave the titans looking a bit lacklustre in comparison with bigger budget films. The smaller titans do look batter though, and look clapped [see: ugly] enough to be scary, and because they’re based on the likeness of humans I suspect it was easier to recreate them, although they look kind of janky when eating people and whatnot. The practical effects hold up better though, blood and the like.
The film revels in the fact that the story is a grim one, spare the odd gleeful time here and there and turns it up all the sadness all the way to the top. There are the odd times of goodness which are ended almost instantly by someone being eaten or pulled apart or something. It’s also a more mature film than the series in that there’s more adult orientated content. There is one particular scene where a new female character, Hiana gets Eren to feel up on her and well, that gets ruined as well.
THAT scene involving Armin and Eren is alright I guess, I was taken aback because you know, it’s real. But the fact that everything happens in real time [and quickly] takes away from the surprise and suspense of certain events unfolding. Some of the changes are a bit strange as well. I understand that the makers probably wanted to differentiate itself from the other mediums some of them were just strange. For example, this love triangle between Mikasa, Eren and Shikishima I felt was misplaced and was a bit creepy.
If you’re interested in getting into the Attack on Titan lore I suggest that you please do not start with the films (the second part is supposed to come out later on this year), as it just isn’t representative of the quality of the show [this could change with the second part though]. But if you’re just looking for entertainment, than yeah it’s definitely entertaining without too much to think about. Just don’t expect the Attack on Titan series.