Movie Name: Attack on Titan
Release Date: July 14 2015 (Hollywood, California Premier)
Release: Theatrical release
Horror Subgenre: Horror/Fantasy/scifi
Mankind is under the terror of titans, a beast in which feast on human flesh. Eren Yeager, a young boy determined to make change when he himself could transform into one. He is humanity's last hope. (Excerpt : IMDB)
Here is a brief summary for those unaware of the source material behind the feature film “Attack on Titan”. It began as a monthly serial circulated in 2009 and was adapted as an anime series (what we in the United States would refer to as an animated series) in 2013. The overall collection of the fantasy/horror manga was composed into Manga (what we in the United States consider “comics” or “Graphic Novels” ) volumes of its own in 2015. “Attack of Titan” is currently a top popular anime in Japan / Asia and in the US ( among anime aficionados of course).
The story centers on a world where humans live in a three-ring tiered wall community. This uncanny living arrangement is to serve as temporary protection against giant humanoids called “Titans”. Titans are creatures of unknown origin and have an insatiable penchant for human flesh. The last recorded attack against the community occurred one-hundred years prior and nearly extinguished the human race. However, humanity exists in a perpetual state of fear from the Titans living outside their walled community.
If you’ve followed any “Attack on Titan” mediums do not expect the film adaptation to be a frame by frame reconstruction of either the anime or manga. The “Attack on Titan” film, is an entirely different medium, a well developed production that more-or-less caters to first time audiences.
The presentation of protagonist, Eren Yager in the feature film differs from his previously established portrayal. The character is seriously underdeveloped and lacks substance. His backstory is seriously diluted and there is no emotional conveyance with him, his purported tragedy or his place in the storyline. To understand the depth of this character it's advisable to watch the anime or read the manga.
Two main supporting characters in "Attack on Titan" are; Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert. Unfortunately, the latter two, these key aspects of the storyline, weren't immune to the screenwriter's butchery. Erin, Mikasa and Armin are childhood friends that supported one another during numerous times of adversity. Did that storyline make it into the film, tragically no. The absence of Mikasa's cool badassery and her relationship with the main character Erin makes her uninteresting. Armin's problem solving trait and intellect also failed to make an appearance. The producers made it clear of wanting the Titans to be the main focus of the movie instead of the backstory rich characters.
This section of the review are commonly reserved for effective (or lack thereof) of frights and chills in the reviewed horror film. However, “Attack on Titan” strays into many subgenres and succeeds in every genre it resides in. In this instance, focused will be applied to the special effects used in the “Attack on Titan”. Breathtaking, amazing, and surreal are words that come to mind when describing the visuals. The audience is not short changed by fright and sorrow as the townspeople fall victim to the carnivorous Titans. The scenes was gut-wrenching to witness and added a heightened level of death and destruction than the anime and/or manga.
The spectacles of carnage in “Attack on Titan” were truly the highlight reel of the movie. Realism was considered when the effects team created the fearsome Titans. Their presence on camera brought a sense of suspense and thrill. The scenes of destruction immediately bring to mind any CGI heavy natural disaster movie Hollywood released over the past years.
“Attack on Titan” has elements of a war movie drama, disaster movie, love story and semi-horror thriller. Although the storytelling was drastically altered from the anime & manga the "Attack on Titan" film stands solid . There were flaws, many to note but whether you’re a fan of “Attack on Titan” or not you’ll enjoy this movie. Also, the ending was cleverly executed, as a viewer you’re left wanting more. This is original source material and its a shame Hollywood hasn’t stepped up to the plate to create a story such as “Attack on Titan”. Perhaps an American remake will be in the near future. In closing, be sure to catch the scenes after the ending credits you’ll be amped up for what’s to come.