HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lu Over the Wall
She's Funny That Way
Vox Lux
Aftermath, The
Five Fingers for Marseilles
Jupiter's Moon
Favourite, The
Mysteries of the Gods
Coming Home
De Sade
Patti Cake$
Hellbound
Final Destination 2
Romance
Bros: After the Screaming Stops
Cockleshell Heroes, The
Mule, The
Sunday in the Country
Nutcracker Fantasy
Spellcaster
Hipsters
Executive Action
Captain Marvel
Zombie Girl
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Rhinoceros
Monkey King 3, The
Adventurers, The
Stripped to Kill
Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
Aladdin's Magic Lamp
Christopher Robin
Hole in the Ground, The
Daniel
Blue Christmas
Death Trip
She's Missing
Return of the Soldier
Shaft
Summer Lovers
   
 
Newest Articles
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
   
 
  Attack on Titan: The Movie - Part 1 Giant SlayersBuy this film here.
Year: 2015
Director: Shinji Higuchi
Stars: Haruma Miura, Kiko Mizuhara, Hiroki Hasegawa, Kanata Hongo, Takahiro Miura, Nanami Sakuraba, Satoru Matsuo, Shu Watanabe, Ayame Misaki, Rina Takeda, Pierre Taki, Satomi Ishihara, Jun Kunimura
Genre: Horror, Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: One hundred years ago, giant, flesh-eating humanoids known as Titans appeared from nowhere and decimated most of humanity. Thereafter mankind retreated behind a vast protective wall to live in peace. A century later, restless young Eren Yeager (Haruma Miura) is eager to see what lies beyond the wall. Then one terrible day Eren and his lifelong friend Armin Arlert (Kanata Hongo) witness an attack by the largest, most terrifying Titan ever seen. It breaks through the wall unleashing hordes of ravenous Titans that massacre their entire village including Eren's would-be sweetheart Mikasa Ackerman (gorgeous Kiko Mizuhara).

Two years later Eren and Armin join the Scouting Regiment, a team of young draftees sent on a dangerous mission. Armed with powerful explosives the scouts, led by wacky, accident-prone Hans (Satomi Ishihara, in a manic performance much criticized by western media though true to the character) including potato-obsessed hungry girl Sasha (Nanami Sakuraba), big-hearted burly Sannagi (Satoru Matsuo), hostile Jean (Takahiro Miura) and doomed lovers Fukushi (Shu Watanabe) and Lil (Rina Takeda) venture into the Titan-infested wasteland in the hope of expanding human territory. Unfortunately they find themselves entrapped and hunted mercilessly. Swooping to their rescue come a pair of seasoned Titan-slayers, one: the cynical Captain Shikishima (Hiroki Hasegawa), the other: a legendary female badass with ten kills to her name. To the utter surprise of Eren and Armin, she turns to be Mikasa who now seems like a completely different person.

Hajime Isayama's manga sired a multimedia phenomenon (spin-off novels, a 2013 anime series and now live-action movie) with a rabid fan-base to rival Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. Yet it remains among the most divisive Japanese fantasy epics in recent years. In Asia diverging sociopolitical interpretations played a big part in how its various incarnations were received. For Japanese, Chinese and Hong Kong readers and viewers Attack on Titan is an allegory about resisting oppression. By comparison South Korean critics deride Isayama's work as a right-wing nationalistic allegory reflecting what they interpret as contemporary Japanese foreign policy. In fact rumours that a minor character was based on an Imperial Japanese Admiral saw Isayama bombarded with death threats from non-Japanese readers. Meanwhile western critics, largely unconscious of the story's sociopolitical content, dismissed the live-action adaptation as an over-inflated exploitation movie.

Truth be told the live-action Attack on Titan underwhelmed most Japanese critics and divided fans across the globe. Yet speaking as someone that has neither read the manga nor seen the anime, this struck me as a powerful, compelling, often unsettling kaiju eiga (monster movie). The film shares many tropes in common with the current flood of young adult fantasies. Themes such as the class divide, self-sufficient rural communities and the exploitation of youth by oppressive governments obviously parallel films like Divergent (2014), The Maze Runner (2014) and of course The Hunger Games (2012). Even the vast wall that keeps monsters away from a quasi-Medieval society evokes Game of Thrones while the post-apocalyptic pastoral village recalls the Shire from The Lord of the Rings though also the hardy rural communities from Akira Kurosawa's samurai films. Which is not to suggest Attack on Titan is derivative but rather that it echoes themes prevalent in the cultural zeitgeist.

Despite a background in special effects, director Shinji Higuchi foregrounds relationships and social observations above arcane mythology. A solid storyteller Higuchi has his protagonists slowly piece together the mystery of how the world came to be this way. He details the impact the Titans have on society, spawning a world that is tougher, harsher and more selfish: parents sell their children to the army for money to buy food, a single mother volunteers so the state will take care of her child. With human beings suddenly reduced to the lowest rung on the food chain, a survivalist mentality overrides almost every other emotion. As Captain Shikishima shrewdly observes the real enemy might not be the Titans but rather the mentality that drove human beings to fence themselves in like cattle. Higuchi delivers the spectacle and horror fans of Isayama's disturbing manga expect. The cackling, naked flesh-eating giants are truly horrific monsters. When they chow down on their squealing, terrified victims it is grisly and nightmarish, far removed from the colourful fun of your classic kaiju eiga. For the most part Higuchi keeps the action chaotic and messy, bereft of the familiar heroic beats one expects from a Japanese SF action-adventure. The script pulls off several shock twists that keep things refreshingly unpredictable and visceral. It is possible the climactic resurrection of an almost comfortingly familiar Japanese genre trope was one reason this befuddled several western critics. But if you are a fan of tokkusatsu fare it is kind of the last-minute icing on the cake.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1082 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: