With the live-action Attack on Titan Part 2: End of the World hitting local cinemas, Team Anime Inferno have hit their participating local cinemas to check it out!
The second part of the Attack kicks off with a recap of the first instalment, which was a nice touch considering one of our staff hadn’t seen the first – so he could quite easily get a grip on the story. After the recap the focus is back on Eren, who is being held captive by the Military Police Brigade and threatened with execution…
The one word I can say to sum up Attack on Titan: End of the World is ‘rushed’. The first movie had great pacing and character development, but this just seemed to cram way too much in just to give it an ending – which is probably the most cliché I’ve seen to date. One of the most engrossing things in the first film was the horror theme. The lower class Titans showed sheer terror in the first film but unfortunately this was absent here. They only showed three massive Titans battling it out on screen – which to me was more like a 2015 version of Godzilla. On the positive side they certainly got the music right this time – it was more gritty and energetic. The CGI was still done at an awesome level – which would match the latest special effects of a Hollywood blockbuster.
I would say this – if you’re an avid fan of Attack on Titan – you’ll probably pull this to pieces as it strays far from the source material, it’s rushed and clumsy at times. If they included every girls Attack on Titan crush ‘Levi’ – some things may have been forgiven by some fans – but not in this scenario. However if you’re up for a bit of Japanese Live Action and don’t really know too much about it – you’ll probably have a ball!
After the first instalment it was evident the filmmakers were going for their own spin on the Attack on Titan story while retaining some familiar elements. This time they took that ball and ran with it bigtime into completely new territory. Where the first movie was scant on broader details and backstory, the second is exposition city as we learn about Eren’s past, the goal of the rebels who seemed like a sack-faced afterthought in the first movie and jump into an out of place Matrix-esque scene to learn the origin of Titans.
I’m going to be one of the contrarians. Deviating wildly from the known Attack on Titan story was what kept this filmic adaptation from feeling stale. While Shikishima just seemed like a creep in part one, his motivation is fleshed out in the second instalment (He’s still mostly a creep though). Where they just seemed like a bunch of pricks previously, the Military Police become a much more sinister force. With the introduction of a new unique Titan, the fights become more personal than just slaughtering waves of low-class Titans as the few remaining members of the Survey Corp clash with the Rebellion while they work towards their goal of closing the hole in the wall, which leads to a pretty intense Titan battle for the film’s climax.
It’s still cheesy, but the cast do a serviceable job. The Titan fights, a mix of rubber suits, puppetry and CGI, are still the best part of it all. As with the first movie, it’s the pacing that hurts it the most. This could have been better handled with a bit more time in the editing room to cut it down to a single, punchier two-and-a-bit hour movie instead of two 90 minute parts that muddle about awkwardly for a good portion of their respective running times. These films are not without their problems, but I found them to be entertaining distractions. The original isn’t some untouchable holy masterwork by any stretch, and these movies have done a fine job of crafting their own version of this world and story. Oh, and if you go see it, stick around to the end of the credits.
I enjoyed the first Attack on Titan movie overall, not having expected too much of it, and was happy to get a chance to go and see the second part only a couple of months later. Even though there was such a short intervening period between the two, I appreciated the recap montage at the beginning of the movie to refresh us on what had occurred previously. The second movie isn’t really a standalone story but is a direct continuation of the first, focusing on the main conflict and climax.
The movie focused on the big, bad titans rather than the usual run-of-the-mill bumbling herd. These titans were quite scary, especially in close-ups, but the illusion is lost a little when they’re shown in full body shots. Despite that they still felt huge and powerful, with people getting smashed left and right like mosquitoes filled with Aeroplane Jelly.
The acting tended to be more on the level of J-dramas in some places, rather than a Hollywood blockbuster, but that’s hardly unusual for movies of this genre full of gore and men in rubber suits and it didn’t particularly bother me. There were a few cringe-worthy scenes, especially the initial scene that was a little drawn out with no real heartfelt drama going on, but once the action got underway the movie became more interesting. Eren’s struggle and determination remained central, Shikishima (and his moustache) continued to not respect others’ personal space, Sasha provided great comedic relief as well as a rather sweet scene with Mikasa, and Hange got her chance to shine in all her mad scientist glory. Jean unfortunately was pretty one-dimensional though – cranky, cranky and more cranky – and I got a bit sick of his movie character.
If you hold the original storyline and characters very close to your heart and expect a word by word translation to film with top tier Western style cinema acting, you might come out annoyed by the differences between the movie and original source material. But if you’re not too attached to the original series and can enjoy an alternative story and Hunger Games-style interpretation, you’ll come out of the cinema probably having had a light-hearted good time with the Attack on Titan movies.
I really don’t have many positive things to say about this movie. The biggest complaint most people had (and I could even hear people discussing it in the cinema) is the deviation from the original plot, which was missing some incredibly key points that could have easily been incorporated into the movies storyline. I am well aware they had to make some big changes to create something that easily flows into two movies, and still has a somewhat solid and rounded ending. But they couldn’t even really do that, and I totally agree with Inferno that it was rushed and there were quite a few things that just didn’t make sense.
There were a few awfully filmed scenes or some that appeared missing, and some with music that did not quite suit the moment. It was like they just dumped a soundtrack over the top and hoped it would somehow connect with the current scene’s mood. The ‘on screen’ blood splatters were completely unnecessary and didn’t add anything to the moment of action, it was just distracting and silly. When Eren and Shikishima were in the white room with the little wine glasses, I was half expecting someone in the audience to yell out “KISS HIM!!!”! I am not sure if Hiroke Hasegawa (actor) was aiming for Shikishima to make our skin crawl, but he sure did a good job. Invading someones personal space is one thing, but with that suspect expression is another.
All in all I don’t think I wasted my time going to see these movies even though I have been a huge complainy-pants. They were entertaining at the very core, and gave fans an insight to the possibilities of how a live action Titan could be created for cinema, and how the story can be altered from it’s original path to give us something new and fresh. It’s not the best manga to movie adaption out there, and I think there are a few things hardcore AOT fans would still appreciate underneath the scorn most have already given it.
I for one, was happy to see Hange and Potato Girl still kickin along at the end of it all, totally made my day.
Attack on Titan: End of the World starts with a summary of what happened in the previous film, which is basically nothing much. It’s really just a showcase of monstrous cataclysm.
After the needless recap, a flashback showing a father conducting experiments on his son ensues. The flashback sort of explains how Eren, who we last saw transform from a novice fighter into a fearsome Titan, got his special power. The exposition, however, doesn’t end there. Afterwards, revelations are piled one after the other. Characters expound, while revealing their true colours. Film clips of life centuries ago are displayed. Higuchi does everything to drive the film back to earth, detailing in such a heavy handed way how the film’s dystopia world of humanity kept safe by concrete walls relates to present.
The action scenes come too late. Not only that, they arrive with an underwhelming thud instead of the resounding bang that is to be expected after the first film’s outrageous flair of mindless gore and catastrophe, limiting the battles to a closed brawl between evolved Titans. I called it when the Colossal Titan appeared, I knew Kubal had ‘died’ too early for a character i was starting to like to hate.
The CGI was even better than the first, and the music score fit better than the preceding film, but still wasn’t great. The lack of Titans did allow the human characters to showcase a bit more acting finess than the first movie, but some scenes still retained their cringy over-exaggerations. It still riles me that Hans is the most knowledgeable about the Titans and still insisted on shouting and screaming whenever she saw something she considered cool.
Whatever promise of irreverent morbidity the first film and its visual excesses managed to make has been quickly abandoned for the sake of acceptability, and just like the first, it strayed from the source material. For those who are fans of the AoT anime and manga, the second movie still won’t redeem this adaption for them, but for those who don’t have the same background knowledge, it is a very good watch.
Tickets were provided by Madman Entertainment to the authors for the purpose of this review.