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Entries in Attack on Titan movie (2)

Wednesday
Oct212015

Attack on Titan Part II: End of the World - First Thoughts

Actually, my first thought about the second Attack on Titan movie was a six hour drive to watch a movie that lasts an hour and a half?  (It's that having an eleven-year thing I mentioned in part I.)  The first movie was about the same length.  Why, I wondered for the umpteenth time, didn't they just edit the film together to about two and a half hours or so.  That's about the average length anymore, seems to me.  Then I watched it.  Second first thoughts: oh, that's why.

The first film went out of its way to emphasize the sheer terror and horror of having a bunch of freaky looking giants trample your town and devour your friends and family.  I felt it more or less succeeded on that point.  Part II, however, feels like a completely different film.  The first part is essentially a political/conspiracy story.  The last half giant monster movie.  Honestly, it reminded me of a bunch of the kaiju-type movies I watched as a kid on Chiller Theater - down to the men in rubber suits.  Granted, these suits were much better than the old ones, but that's what it was nonetheless.  As a political thriller – meh.  It was something to hang the movie on.  As a giant monster movie – not bad.  You know who’s going to win, but  . . . it’s giant monsters fighting!

My eleven-year-old Attack on Titan expert assures me the second movie was the best.  She also told me she didn’t like it because of all the massive changes from the manga and anime.  I’m versed enough in the anime Satomi Ishihara as Hange Zoeto know the changes were massive, sort of along the lines of what happened to The Hobbit in parts two and three. Did it ruin it for me?  No.  It was a different take.  (Truth be told, it didn’t ruin it for her because if I’d recorded her two hour analysis on the drive back, you hear more positives than negatives.)  I think the really big thing the director did was include the origin of the titans – something the original story has yet to do.  Spoilers?  I really don’t know.

The cast dwindled if anything.  It was still a violent film.  According y expert and the audience we sat with, Satomi Ishihara as Hange Zoe stole the show.  She was hilarious and dead with the Hange we see in the anime.  All the story was resolved by the end.  There are still titans beyond the wall, but the city inside was saved.  Boy wins girl, and they are able to look out upon the world for the first time (again, different for the source material).  There definitely could be a sequel, and I’d probably end up watching it, not simply because my AoT expert.  I’ve seen a whole lot better.  I’ve seen a whole lot worse.  The Attack on Titan movies entertained me for a few hours.  Sometimes, that’s all I need.

Thursday
Oct012015

Attack on Titan Part I - First Thoughts

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.