Attack on Titan: The Movie Part 1 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
January 5, 2017 by Dennis Amith
“Attack on Titan: The Movie Part 1” may not be the film that die-hard fans have hoped for. But for those who have seen many of their favorite comic book stores receive live-action adaptations, deviation from the original source is expected. The most you can hope is that key elements from Hajime Isayama’s popular manga series is incorporated into the film. And for the most part, the first part of the film is entertaining and action-packed and while not a great film, it’s a decent popcorn action film.
TITLE: Attack on Titan: The Movie Part 1
FILM RELEASE: 2016
DURATION: 98 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH and France
RELEASE DATE: October 4, 2016
Based on the manga by Hajime Isayama
Directed by Shinji Higuchi
Screenplay by Yusuke Watanabe, Tomohiro Machiyama
Produced by Yuji Ishida, Genki Kawamura
Music by Shiro Sagisu, Shiro Washizu
Cinematography by Shoji Ehara
Edited by Yusuke Ishida
Production Design by Takeshi Shimizu
Costume Design by Shin’Ichi Mita
Haruma Miura as Eren
Kiko Mizuhara as Mikasa
Kanata Hongo as Armin
Satomi Ishihara as Hange
Nanami Sakuraba as Sasha
Takahiro Miura as Jean
Hiroki Hasegawa as Shikishima
Ayame Misaki as Hiana
Pierre Taki as Souda
Jun Kunimura as Kubal
Shu Watanabe as Fukushi
Satoru Matsuo as Sannagi
Rina Takeda as Lil
When the Titans first attacked, life for mankind was forever changed. Fearing the massive man-eating humanoids, survivors constructed three enormous walls for protection. From that point on, humanity lived safely behind the walls for the time being. A century later, life is peaceful.
Eren and his friends live inside the walls, yearning to explore beyond the borders they’ve always known. But the opportunity comes sooner than expected when a Colossal Titan appears above the wall. With a single kick the barricade is pierced, allowing a swarm of titans to pour in and devour their newly exposed prey. Witnessing the devastation, Eren and his friends vow to destroy the man-eating terrors. The future looks bleak, but there’s more to Eren than meets the eye: he may be humanity’s last hope against extinction.
Back in 2006, Hajime Isayama wrote a 65-page one-shot of “Shingeki no Kyojin”. Inspired during an encounter with an irate customer while working at an internet cafe, the encounter would eventually be the basis of his hit series which is known internationally as “Attack on Titan”.
In 2009, “Shingeki no Kyojin” began serialization in Kodanasha’s “Bessatsu Shonen Magazine” and has spawned a popular manga and anime series, three light novel volumes, multiple video games, manga spin-offs.
In 2015, a live-action film titled “Attack on Titan: The Movie” directed by Shinji Higuchi with a screenplay by Yusuke Watanabe and Tomohiro Machiyama was released in theaters.
The film revolves around Eren Yeager, his foster sister Mikasa Ackerman and their childhood friend Armin Arlert. As they stand around a undetonated missile and see a picture of the ocean, which Mikasa is fascinated with.
Eren wants to show her how the ocean looks like, so the three sneak past a Garrison outpost and climb towards the base of the wall. Because it’s windy, Eren gives Mikasa his scarf.
The three live in Shinganshina and are protected with huge walls to protect them from huge titans that killed many people over a hundred years ago. But now, the surviving humans live in peace within the walls.
But no one has seen a titan and even Eren doesn’t believe they exist. That is until the three fel the ground shake and a Colossal Titan breaches the wall and let other giant humanoid beings enter the village. Many lost their families and friends and for Eren, he not only lost his mother, he was separated from Mikasa and think she may have died.
Two years later, we find out that Eren and Armin are now scouts for the military and Eren wants to make sure that he gets his revenge on the titans that killed his mother and Mikasa.
“Attack on Titan: The Movie” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). Featuring close-ups with very good detail, the film looks very good as outdoor scenes are colorful and interior scenes are well-lit. And for the most part, CG for the Colossal Titan was good for the film.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Attack on Titan: The Movie” is presented in Japanese and English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD. Dialogue and music is crystal clear. Surround channels are primarily for ambiance and music but the overall soundtrack is dialogue and music-driven. While I am more biased towards the Japanese soundtrack, both soundtracks are well-acted.
Subtitles are in English.
“Attack on Titan: The Movie” comes with the following special features:
- Japanese Trailers – Featuring two trailer versions.
- U.S. Trailer – Featuring the U.S. theatrical trailer version.
“Attack on Titan: The Movie” comes with a slipcover, Blu-ray and DVD plus an UltraViolet code.
Having read the manga series and watched anime version of “Attack on Titan”, knowing how most adaptations of manga series for live action are often different, I expected deviation from the manga/anime storyline.
Afterall, I’ve seen it happen also in the United States with superhero films and you just aren’t going to get so much of what is featured in several manga volumes in terms of storyline into one film. So, I expected the deviation and I expected many fans to get upset by the live-action adaptation.
I did feel that filmmaker Shinji Higuchi had no doubt take on a project that would be scrutinized, I also felt that Higuchi, with his work on the anime series “Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water” and the films “Japan Sinks”, “Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess” and “The Floating Castle” had more than enough experience to take on the film, but it would rely on screenwriters Yusuke Watanabe (who worked on the live film adaptations for “Gantz” and “20th Century Boys” films) and Tomohiro Machiyama to bring Hajime Isayama’s popular story to life.
Considering the manga was still ongoing, with two films to write, there was bound to be deviation from the manga series.
But how one felt about the film is subjective. And because so many people were posting on social media, bashing the film, I didn’t have high expectations and was expecting the worse.
But having watched the film, it’s not terrible, it does deviate from the manga/anime series but it manages to take key events from Hajime Isayama’s story and try to incorporate what it can into a 98-minute film.
Eren is no doubt the focal point in the live-action film and while the friendship between he and Mikasa and Armin are showcased in the film, Eren’s relationship with Mikasa is not as signficant as fans of the manga/anime series would have hoped.
The key points of motivation for Eren wanting to serve in the military and also the political and economic instability was also not prominent in the film. So, the scout missions and the role of the military prior to Eren joining the military is not as prominent.
So, key elements were stripped away. Character interactions are changed and so, the adaptation is different. But again, a lot of live film adaptations deviate from their original source, so I gave Yusuke Watanabe and Tomohiro Machiyama the benefit of the doubt. And in the end, I was expecting a popcorn action film that would entertain me for the 98-minutes.
And that’s what I got, a 98-minute film with a lot of action and surprising situations that left me wanting to watch the second film and see how they would complete the storyline.
Am I disappointed about how the film is different from the manga series? It’s like asking a person if they are disappointed with how “X-Men”, “The Avengers”, “Fantastic Four”, “The Incredible Hulk”, “Spider-Man” films, to other superhero related live-action film adaptations that have been made?
I think by now, many of us can expect deviation from the original source, so with that I’m not disappointed. But what about how the film is executed? Having read over a dozen graphic novels, I can’t fathom how difficult it was for Yusuke Watanabe and Tomohiro Machiyama but I have seen Watanabe do it with “Gantz”, “20th Century Boys” and also “Gatchman”. It’s not perfect, but he managed to incorporate enough key elements from the original source but there is way too much story and many characters to fit into one film. So, I’ll give the writers the benefit of the doubt and with what Shinji Higuchi had to work with, he worked with the screenplay he was given and the budget that he had.
Sure, I know I am lenient more than others who have disliked the film but as a popcorn action film and a live-adaptation of a manga series, it was not the worse I have ever seen, nor was it the great adaptation. To me, it was a popcorn live-action film, nothing more and nothing less.
As for the Blu-ray, picture quality for the most part is solid and voice acting for both English and Japanese soundtracks were well-done. Lossless audio was well-utilized for the major action sequences and as for special features, all you get is the Japanese and U.S. trailers.
Overall, “Attack on Titan: The Movie Part 1” may not be the film that die-hard fans have hoped for. But for those who have seen many of their favorite comic book stores receive live-action adaptations, deviation from the original source is expected. The most you can hope is that key elements from Hajime Isayama’s popular manga series is incorporated into the film. And for the most part, the first part of the film is entertaining and action-packed and while not a great film, it’s a decent popcorn action film.
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