Shingeki no Kyojin, probably better known as Attack on Titan, is currently one of the most successful manga and anime properties in recent times. The franchise now enters the live-action movie foray, and we’ve lived to tell the tale, unlike most of the civilization of that story. Here is our Attack on Titan movie review! (WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS!)
Attack on Titan’s main premise deals with humanity’s survival in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by mindless giants (or kyojin). The story starts out 100 years after humanity has been decimated by these Titans, where the remaining survivors are living behind a giant Wall meant to keep the Titans at bay. This is where the movie and the anime/manga starts to deviate.
One who has either read the source manga or watched the initial 26-episode series would immediately see the glaring difference in direction the movie took. Here in the movie, some technology somehow survived, including a supposed remnant of a bomb that was used in a previous war. The main lead trio, Eren Yeager (played by Haruma Miura), Mikasa Ackerman (Kiko Mizuhara), and Armin Arlert (Kanata Hongô), look noticeably older here compared to their anime/manga counterparts. The most glaring change in the trio’s dynamic though is the fact that here in the movie, Eren and Mikasa are not siblings (well they never really were) nor did they grow up in the same house. They are however being ‘shipped’ as the main romantic pair for the film. This is a pivotal change made for the movie as most of the things that Eren went through was a result (both directly and indirectly) of this creative decision.
Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that change. As the movie goes along though, the execution of the stuff that involved Eren was pretty much forced. Him having a secondary love interest (Hiana, played by Ayame Misaki) didn’t really help either. As it stands, anime-Eren was able to elicit a lot more reaction from me than movie-Eren did. Even stuff like Eren and Jean’s (Takahiro Miura) rivalry, which was in the original material, felt empty. We did get a Seth Rollins-level knee to the face in one of Eren and Jean’s scraps though.
Another creative change that was apparent in the movie were the cast changes. Most of the Survey Corps higher-ups aren’t in the movie, though it is pretty doubtful if them appearing would have had a significant effect in the movie. Levi was not in the movie, but someone else filled up the role (albeit with pretty questionable intentions). Sasha (Nanami Sakuraba) and Hange (Satomi Ishihara) were on point though and were just some of the best things in the movie.
The movie Titans were both disgusting and funny. Pretty sure they used some of the same tech being used in modern Ultraman flicks here too. The Colossal Titan’s appearance scene was quite nicely done, some of the best CG in the whole movie. The Titan designs are pretty much one of the best things the movie made. Maximum brownie points go to the baby Titan. And by baby, think a 1 year old child transformed into a gigantic Titan. Imagine such a grotesque figure throwing a tantrum after eating a human being.
I’ve never felt this indifferent to a movie adaptation since X-Men Origins: Wolverine. There’s certainly a lot of cringe-worthy moments (that “Do you want to touch my boobs, Eren?” scene takes the cake in the cringe department) which didn’t really fit the overall tone of the franchise. It kinda felt that the movie fell flat in supporting the the new Eren-Mikasa dynamic, though it appears that it will be in play more in the second movie End of the World.
If you plan to watch this movie expecting the anime or manga events play out, then please leave your expectations out of the cinema and walk in as if you never knew the franchise. The new dynamic has promise, but be ready to not get the pay out right away.