The live-action film, “Attack on Titan” is based upon the best-selling manga and hit anime series of the same title (Japanese Title: Shingeki no Kyojin) by mangaka Hajime Isayama. 100 years ago, Titans suddenly appeared on Earth. Soon, human civilization veered on collapse due to the Titans. Humans then built a giant wall to defend themselves. Within the giant walls, humans lived in peace, but, 100 years later, the giant wall is broken.
The film started on a rather slow paced and alterations on the original material immediately hailed hardcore manga and anime fans including me. It is worth noting that I haven’t seen a single trailer prior to watching this film because the otaku in me would always inevitably compare the original and the adapted work early on.
One could agree that the original material (manga) is well-received because of the core genre which is “revenge” and yet there is a balance of “action” and “narrative” – at least on the original manga. The movie however was a dire adaptation of one of the most celebrated mangas in recent years. Case in point: let me tell you, Eren Yeager is the “HEART” and “SOUL” of the whole Titan-verse, period. But the movie shied away from the original material and insinuates as if Mikasa Ackerman is the lead character.
For the benefit of those who doesn’t follow the manga and haven’t seen the first season of the anime (yes, there’s a second season coming this 2016), Eren wanted to be part of the Survey Corps right from the start and his resolve to be part of the elite soldiers was intensified even more when he witnessed his mother’s gruesome death at the hand of a Titan.
The Eren I grew to love, is a strong man fueled with determination to protect mankind; with her adoptive-sister, Mikasa – a remarkably strong and talented fighter; and Armin Arlert, Eren’s childhood friend, that at first lacks courage and strength but is an invaluable asset to the group because of his high intelligence. Together, the three of them sets out on a journey for a common goal – to protect humanity. Unfortunately, this wasn’t mirrored on the film version. For me the characterizations of these three are intricate parts of the whole story-telling. These are the basics, sure, you can replace or add new characters but fans will always look for the fundamentals.
Instead, the film took a different turn, but even on their own version, the story is still shallow. Eren mourned when Misaka was believed to be dead and yet there’s no proper closure on his mother’s demise. There’s a moment when the scene cuts to a drunken Souda, still coping for the death of his wife that became a laughing stuff at the cinema, but wait, the guy got a point. He’s been drinking to ease the pain; to grieve. But Eren? Yeah my mother died, okay let’s move on. The writers basically wanted to build a fan service out of Erin and Mikasa so they rushed everything. Shame.
The film is full of non-sense dialogues; hence, wasted screen time. They could have utilized these to let the moviegoers delve deeper into the whole Titan mythology. Moreover, the fighting scenes weren’t choreographed well; there’s a lackluster display of three dimensional maneuver gears; and well, the whole movie is a disaster.
The second-part, “Attack on Titan: End of the World” is due this September. Will it fair better is yet to be seen. In the meantime, if you’re a hardcore manga and anime fan and doesn’t want to get Dragonball: Evolution-ized, then don’t watch this film.