Okay. Had to drive three hours to watch this movie at a theater in the state of Kentucky, not because I wanted to necessarily. I had to. It's called having an eleven-year-old child who loves to watch anime and read manga. You can no doubt guess her favorite - watch the trailer here.
I will say that I could have said no, but having watched the anime myself, I was curious. My initial reaction about twenty minutes in - "Man, this movie's brutal." Forty minutes in - "Geesh, this thing's brutal." At the end - "Wow, that was brutal." On average, I thought the movie was brutal.
Is that good? Well, it was very true to the anime (I can't speak for the manga) in that there were lots of people devoured, ripped apart, and squashed like bugs. At times, blood poured down on hapless citizens by the buckets full. Over the top? Perhaps, but I have no way of determining the reality of the situation. I will say that the blood-rain created a quite appropriate mood of sheer terror and hopeless caused by the munching Titans. I felt it more effective than the anime. The titans themselves were more bizarre looking - quite unnerving at times.
Another strong suit for the movie was the setting itself. Unlike the anime, the movie never lets us see outside the walls (in part I at least), so what you see is the only world these poor characters have known. And it is much more squalid and lived in as opposed to the neat Renaissance-ish look of the anime. The wall too is ugly and looks hastily built. The coolest part to me, though, was the glimpses of relics from the past. There is a helicopter on a platform near the top of the wall, and there's an old bomb casing. They even mention nuking the titans in the great war before humanity fell.
The other bit I like was the characters of Hange Zoe and Sasha. They were straight out of the anime and a delight to see. The other characters were there for the most part, some were dropped, some composited due to time restraints. Armin was pulled off well enough, I thought, though my little anime-lover thought he looked too old. And he wasn't blonde. Mikasa and Eren were nice, too, though even I wasn't thrilled with how their backstories were changed. Fan favorite Levi, you might have heard, has been replaced. I wasn't thrilled by his replacement. Instead of an air of detachment and confidence, this guy was a jerk.
My biggest beek agains the film is the CGI. It was like Syfy channel effects for most of the movie. At times, it did interfere with my susupension of disbelief (as much as you can have, anyway, with a bunch of giant things running around eating people).
Overall, I liked it. I was entertained. I've seen lots better and lots worse. I think if you're familiar with the story at all, you'll want to check it out. I've already bought tickets for Part II because I am curious to see how they finish out the story.
Have you seen it? Let us hear what you thought.