She’s the best part of the movie. No joke.
So I had the not-so-good fortune to watch the Attack on Titan movie last weekend, and, well, I sorta wish I hadn’t (or at the very least, I feel like I should have just waited for a digital release) – lest I wouldn’t have had to pay. Suffice to say, and as a general note for the rest of this post, I did not like it. And trust me, I thought long and hard about what exactly about the movie I disliked. At first I thought it may have just been my inner anime hipster (which I would have lived with), but I also like to believe that I’m a fair judge of movies, and stuff in general. Sometimes too fair, even. Sadly, I just can’t find it in me to give this flick a pat on the back.
I’ll preface this post by saying that I haven’t been reading the manga, but the anime covers enough material (in relation how far in the story made it to the big screen) so I think I have some validity. Oh, and *spoiler warning, ’cause y’know, formality.
Hange (or, Hans, as the movie has it). Period. She’s the only character that they almost got right. Whether she’s supposed to be an expy of the anime/manga Hange is beyond me, but aside from the minor tweak in the name, they also went and knocked her skills and seniority down a peg. Character-wise, however, she was spot-on. Oh, and she’s gorgeous. Sasha and Hiana (movie original character) were nice cast choices as well. Everyone else was pretty meh, with the exception of Eren (I’ll explain later).
The Colossal Titan was a spectacle, no doubt. I’d imagine they spent a loooooot of time rendering the big guy. The “normal” titans looked weird and gross – which was weird and grossly awesome. Titan Eren was alright. The 3D maneuver was.. clunky at times, but overall it was still pretty good. The music/score was okay (save for the ending theme, which was wrong on so many levels).
The movie original stuff (which is, like, 70% of the movie), and key parts of the anime/manga that they omitted.
This is was the part which I had to just sit down and let the scenes play-out in my head again. And after a night or two of doing that, I came to a conclusion – it really wasn’t all that good. I’d love to rewrite this bit again when a digital copy starts floating around the Webs, but in the meantime, I’ll just jot ’em down. (This is all from memory, so if I miss something, it may’ve been not as bad, lol).
Soooo, let the nitpick begin, starting with;
- Eren’s mother is never shown/not part of the story at all
- Eren is a natural brawler from the get-go, so no need for Annie
- Timeskip (from the first breach on the outer wall, to Eren and the gang joining the military) is barely, if at all, noticeable
- Other than Annie, we also don’t have most of the recruits (Reiner, Berthold, Connie, Krista, Ymir, Marco.. to name a few)
- No training scene.
- The walls have no names. The military divisions don’t exist/not expounded on.
- We get to see Hange, but the rest of the Levi squad is non-existent.
- Except we get a Levi expy (Shikishima) that’s oddly arrogant for not much reason
- Unnecessary NTR scene between Levi expy and Mikasa
- Notice how I haven’t mentioned Mikasa until now? Armin has it worse.
- Eren gets it on with a single mom. Yeah..
- Some random military recruit judo throws a titan to oblivion. Also uses an axe in combat.
- Hange doesn’t know much about titan anatomy.
Okay, okay. I’ll stop here (but there’s probably more). Now some of the stuff you may or may not agree with me on, but hear me out. Taking characters out was a given, sure. But why keep a character like Sasha over more plot relevant characters? (because potatoes) Why make an expy of a character when he’s really just the same guy? (because more Japanese). Why retool a character (Hange) into a slightly lesser version of herself?
Why call it an adaptation if most of the stuff is going to be reworked?
Yes. These are obvious nitpicks that on paper don’t really affect the movie as much. And yes, most of the ones I pointed out are far from drastic. But the way they handled it was.. messy (for lack of a better word). For instance, the lack of a more definitive passage of time between events left much to interpretation and assumption. Which, in turn, takes away from much of the development of supposedly more prominent characters (Mikasa, Armin). Whether this was the effect of being limited to an hour and forty minutes or just a matter poor decision-making is beyond me, but in their defense, there’s A LOT of story to cram in that small amount of time.
Foregoing the lore (walls, military) was, admittedly, forgiveable. They can’t really do commercial-cut exposition slates like they do in the anime. Adding that amount of exposition would have just made the movie that much more confusing.
Let’s go back to the first thing I listed up top: Eren’s mother is never shown/not part of the story at all. Which, subsequently means the scene where she gets eaten right before Eren’s eyes doesn’t happen. Eren’s mother doesn’t get eaten.
This scene (or the lack of it, rather) marked the slow downfall of this movie. And this should have been near the beginning of the story!
This was not only a key scene; this was THE key scene of the first half of the series. This scene set the tone for the entire narrative of Attack on Titan. This was the scene that gave Eren purpose to kill every last titan. This scene MADE Eren. Without it, Eren thematically has no actual reason for fighting (Shikishima/Levi even jokes about this exact thing at one point). From being the embodiment of humanity’s revenge, Eren’s is reduced to an irrationally angry boy that likes to tussle around. It leaves a bad impression early on, and really just messes with how you come to terms with Eren’s character in the movie..
Which was sad. Haruma Miura was, for all intents and purposes, a good casting choice.
This movie would have been better if it was an off-shoot, unrelated story inspired by Shingeki no Kyojin. If it hadn’t been attached to that title, well, maybe it would have been a halfway decent. if not a good movie. (Or, maybe I’m just unconsciously very biased towards anime.)
Could this movie have been handled better? I honestly don’t know. If anything, I think an hour and forty mintues is simply not enough. I really wanted this movie to succeed, but maybe it just couldn’t be done. Would I recommend it? Heck, why not? Give it a watch. I don’t know about you guys, but it always feels nice to support the industry in any way I can – though I don’t really know how much from ticket sales in the Philippines actually go to the people who made the movie.
If you have watched the movie, well, how was it? 😀