Whereas in Hollywood nowadays it is the trend to make remakes and sequels, contemporary Japanese cinema mostly thrives on adapting manga, anime or novels into films. Parasyte, Japanese titel Kiseijuu, is another one of these big budget adaptations that was released recently.
Being an interesting mix of science fiction, horror and some action, the film tells the story of aliens who take over human brains and feed on other people. Shinichi (Shota Sometani), a high school boy, is able to stop the alien parasite just in time, and the creature fails to reach his brain. This results in the shapeshifting creature being stuck in Shinichi’s right hand. Since he failed to take over its host completely the alien knows that in order to survive his host has to survive. He therefor decides to join forces with Shinichi to battle other parasites. The creature, who is called Migi (“right” in Japanese), becomes eager to learn about humans and the way they live. Meanwhile, Shinichi is stuck with a talking alien as his right hand…
I am very new to this story and didn’t know it was a popular comic series and cartoon before director Takashi Yamazaki turned it into a live-action film. Being part 1 of a two part series (Parasyte: Part 2 will be released in April 2015), part 1 is clearly a set up to the second part where everything will eventually come together. The film has some interesting action scenes, but it seems that it won’t be until part 2 until all hell will break loose.
Part 1 is the introductory part of the story and features quite a few talking sequences about the aliens and what their goals are. The majority of the aliens simply want to take over and feed on mankind while another part wants to study it and adapt to human life. One of the latter aliens is played by Eri Fukatsu. I have seen Fukatsu in quite a few films, but this time she goes full on ‘Terminator’ playing her role as the alien. This certainly is interesting to see and she plays it well with a certain coldness that fits her character perfectly.
The main character of Shinicihi is played by Shota Sometani. His character goes through a drastic change during the story and I heard some complains that it goes too fast and that the film lacks a bit when it comes to Shinichi’s character development in comparison to the original manga series. It is a vital element to the story, but this is a common problem with film adaptations of novels or such, since everything has to be squeezed in a two hour window. But even though it is kind of rushed, Sometani handles his character’s change well in the time that is given, and it didn’t bother me much personally.
For a film like this the CGI is very important and the cartoony visuals are a fantastic plus point of this motion picture. Migi is successfully brought to live and I found it a pure join to see the little attached creature talk and move around. Next to this, the other aliens are quite terrifying in their transformations. The film is also surprisingly gory, and isn’t afraid to be so, so expect some sudden blood splatter here and there.
All in all, Parasyte: Part 1 certainly is an interesting mix of science fiction and horror, and an entertaining film. I am looking forward to see how everything is wrapped up in the second part, because that sure promises to be something quite spectacular.