Based on the world-renowned franchise, the live-action edition of Attack on Titan was highly anticipated by fans all over the world and on a personal note, I was eager to watch what Yoshihiro Nishimura, the director of Tokyo Gore Police and a special effects magician could achieve with the depiction of the Titans. However, the fact that the initial director, Tetsuya Nakashima (Confessions), left the project due to artistic differences seemed like a negative, although not one to ruin the movie.
Ι won’t get into much details about the general concept, since I believe it is largely known; thus, here is what happens in the movie. Eren, Armin and Mikasa, frustrated by their constraint inside the wall, decide to secretly break loose. However, as soon as they reach the wall, the Titans reappear, demolishing the outer wall and spreading havoc once again among the citizens. During the attack, Mikasa is separated from the others.
The script subsequently moves forward to a few months later, where Eren and Armin have joined the military, training to face the Titans.
Before I continue with the analysis, I would like to note one point. The best medium for transferring a manga to the screen is evidently anime, largely due to its duration that can span for as many episodes as it needs to complete the full story of the printed form. The live action movie adaptations suffer from the fact that they need to condense it in just a few hours. Therefore, due to necessity many of the original story’s aspects are either missing or altered, a practice that usually takes a heavy cost on the film and an even larger one to the fans of the original.
Another point of hardship is that, as with the American comic adaptations based on super humans and supernatural occurrences, it takes a vastly large sum to present them accurately on the big screen, chiefly for the special effects and the set design. In Hollywood though, the budgets can cover that cost, something that does not apply to Japanese productions that rarely manage to produce adequate results. However, in the latest years there has been improvement in the field, with films like the Rurouni Kenshin trilogy, Gantz and Parasyte.
Unfortunately, this particular film does not succeed in the least, with the director, Shinji Higuchi (mostly known for his work on special effects) being obviously out of his depth. Subsequently, Attack on Titan is a dull film with uninspired characters, only making an effort in the last half hour of its duration. The protagonists, Haruma Miura and Kiko Mizuhara in the roles of Eren and Mikasa respectively, add to that sense, appearing in order to impress with their looks rather with their acting, a practice common among idols. Due to the general mediocrity, even actors like Jun Kunimura and Pierre Taki fail to deliver their usual standards.
On the other hand, the design and the general depiction of the Titans are quite skillful, with Nishimura doing an excellent job on them. Additionally the last part of the film is quite impressive, though not enough to cause one forget the rest.
The film was a wide success upon its opening in August, in Japan, taking the first place in the weekend’s box office, gaining over 608 million yen (over $5 million). The film premiered a few weeks before, on July 14 in the Egyptian Theater in California, in another proof of the global impact of the franchise.
Concluding, it is definite that the film will be a commercial success; however, as to the actual result of the adaptation all hopes are with the second part. Personally, I have my doubts.