The Attack on Titan live action movie is one of the most hyped up and eagerly anticipated films of 2015. After the manga gained a cult following, and the Shingeki No Kyojin anime was a smash hit internationally, the Attack on Titan franchise has become one of Japan's most lucrative exports. The manga and anime really have it all: a complex and mysterious plot, compelling characters with poignant backstories, and a good dose of horror with the terrifying Titans.
And yet, the first Attack on Titan movie has been panned by critics and fans alike. While the first movie still hasn't been released to American audiences, a few Japanese critics got their first glimpse of Attack on Titan 2: End of the World... and they weren't happy with it either. So just what's so bad about Attack on Titan, and was it doomed by the split into two movies?
Box Office Smash, Critical Disaster
The first Attack on Titan movie really hasn't won itself many fans. It's been criticised for removing too many of the crucial aspects of the anime and manga, as well as having bad pacing, nonsensical dialogue, and over dramatic acting that just comes off as silly.
The reviews have been the most entertaining part of the Attack on Titan movie story: the authors haven't minced their words, and director Shinji Higuchi took to twitter to defend his creation.
"Who's the idiot who gave this guy an early release of the film?!"
Well, he may have to leap to the live action movie's defence again, as critics have not been kind to Attack on Titan 2. Calling it "miserably made", the reviewers have revealed that the second part is plagued by the all the same problems as the first film. Even the impressive CGI can't save Attack on Titan 2 from a bad review...
"It’s incredibly hard to follow why the people on-screen are moving about, or where they’re going when they use their 3-D maneuver gear. Overall, the scenes that combine practical special effects and post-production visual effects fail to produce any sort of catharsis."
Considering the 3-D maneuver gear has been one of the major selling points of the story, creating imaginative action sequences and glorious animation in the anime, hearing this is a real disappointment to many fans. Admitedly it's difficult to achieve something as gravity-defying in real life, but if the animators can do it on a shoestring budget, why can't a blockbuster film compete with these effects?
If reports are to be believed, there is one major mistake that could have been avoided: splitting the film in half to create two movies instead of one. Has the desire for more ticket sales completely doomed the quality of Attack on Titan?
A Tale Divided
Splitting films in half is all the rage right now. After the final Harry Potter book was deemed just too long for one film and thus spread over two, this became the latest way to increase the profits of a franchise. The Hunger Games quickly followed suit with Mockingjay parts 1&2, and The Hobbit was controversially spread over 3 films for just one book (even with extra story injected, the movies dragged).
But wait! I hear you cry. The anime and manga has such a huge story, there's no way Attack on Titan could have been just one movie! Well, this is true. But with the glaring omission of Ymir, Bertholt, Reiner, and Annie, the movie canon is eliminating a huge chunk of the original plot (um, Titan Shifters?! Pretty big deal!). The story's been slimmed down dramatically, and yet still split between two movies. According to the latest review, this creates huge pacing issues that make both films a bore to watch.
"From the beginning, they should have trimmed down some of the overly lengthy sections of the two movies, and made one movie that was about two hours long… That’s how unsatisfying this second movie is"
The second film makes the mistake of solving the mystery too quickly so it feels rushed, and not carefully so it's confusing, and then cramming as much action as possible into the remaining time.
Whether there will be multiple sequels after this two-part movie remains to be seen. The film has done well as far as ticket sales go, and the anime's international fan following will probably ensure the American release is profitable too. Of course, this may be one occasion where bad reviews actually do negatively impact sales: US fans are forewarned that these films may not live up to high hopes, and so may choose to give them a miss.
So what do you think: do these bad reviews deter you from paying to see the films? Let us know in the comics, or write your own post!