Naked giants attacking a post apocalyptic city and eating the residents? Sounds intriguing. With no knowledge of the franchise John tries out Attack On Titan: Part 1.
Shingeki no kyojin (Attack On Titan Part 1) (2015)
I’m not averse to watching films from around the world, subtitles don’t bother me either. It’s the content that interests me, not the language.
So it was with interest last year I saw the trailer that Will posted for the film Attack On Titan: Part 1. Large giants attacking survivors of a post apocalyptic world, what’s not to like?
From the article, I discovered that the film is based on a successful manga (comic book) title which has already been converted into an ongoing anime (animated) series.
I haven’t read or watched either of the source materials, so it was with a completely blank slate that I sat down to watch this film.
Mankind is under the terror of titans, a beast in which feast on human flesh. Eren Yeager, a young boy determined to make change when he himself could transform into one. He is humanity’s last hope.
Warning: Contains Spoilers
What the hell did I just watch?
As the film opens, a narration explains that in the future humans live in cities surrounded by huge walls that have been built several hundred metres tall. These were built to protect us from the Titans, huge, naked giants. They attack and eat humans, for seemingly no purpose.
However, the last Titan attack was over 100 years ago and many people have been born and raised without ever seeing one. Many believe that it’s a myth, especially Eren Yeager who wishes to escape the walls and see for himself what lies beyond.
When Eren takes his two best friends, Armin Arlert and Mikasa Ackerman, to the wall to start climbing, they are stopped by Souda, the captain of the garrison. He prevents the children from being shot and explains to his men that they’re just being curious.
Souda goes on to explain that for the first time since they can remember, the High Council is about to approve a scout mission to explore beyond the city walls. Eren takes a keen interest in this new information, however, a huge booming crash shakes the earth.
A huge Titan, devoid of skin and larger that anyone has seen before, towers over the defensive wall and kicks a hole at the bottom allowing a flood of giants to come storming through.
This is where the tone of the film suddenly shifted and in a way I was glad I had not seen any previous material for this film.
Attack On Titan is violent! People are stomped into the ground, bitten in half and even pulled in all four directions at once with plenty of crimson spurting everywhere. I really wasn’t expecting this and it genuinely took me by surprise.
Our three heroes initially survive the attack but the young girl, Mikasa, disappears believed to have been a tasty meal for a Titan.
Fast forward two years and conditions in the city have detoriated. The Titans attack had breached the outer defensive wall. They now inhabit the outer lands of the city known as the agriculture sector. With a lack of food, the remaining survivors are squeezed into the city’s inner hub.
The military has decided to take the city’s last batch of explosives to the outer wall to close the gap and seal off the Titans. Then hopefully they can hunt the remaining beasts trapped within the city.
This is where the film takes a major pause and introduces several new characters, most of whom I didn’t really care for. There’s a spoilt rich kid from the inner city who thinks he knows best. A young single mother who has signed up for the dangerous mission so that she will be paid child support in return. Finally and most bizarrely, a young girl who is more interested in stuffing her face with potatoes than anything else that goes on in this film.
The new squad has been trained in the use of gas powered grappling lines that can be fired whilst in the air, allowing the user to fly amongst tall buildings and attack the Titans by cutting the base of their neck, their only weakness. Any other attack is useless as Titan’s have the power to regenerate.
It’s the last part of this film where it really starts to fall apart and become ridiculous.
It’s really no surprise that once the squad is back out on the field and under attack, Mikasa reappears to help kill the Titans. She has been trained by Captain Shikishima.
Once Eren overcomes his initial shock of seeing his friend again, he tries to woo her but his interest is rebutted. So he walks out into the open to vent his anger by screaming. This emotional outburst is normally acceptable but not in a film we’re told that Titans are sensitive to human voices. Not surprisingly this starts another attack by the giants.
Whilst the action is great for entertainment, it shows up the squad as rather useless. One soldier attacks the giants by slashing their Achilles tendons so they come crashing to the ground. What’s more mind blowing is that the same soldier performs a martial arts throw and tosses a Titan over his head! Believe me, it sounds just as stupid as it looks on screen!
Another female soldier uses a bow and arrow. Not explosive tipped arrows, or arrows with some hidden secret but normal, plain arrows! As you’d expect, they’re pretty much useless!
All of the soldiers seem to forget that have the gas powered grappling systems to use to their advantage and stand around in awe and shock as Mikasa and Captain Shikishima do all the hard work.
Then comes the point which makes no sense what so ever, especially as I had no former knowledge of the source material.
Eren is attacked and loses his leg in the final battle. His best friend Armin is about to be eaten by a Titan and so sacrifices his life so that his friend may live. We see Eren slide into the belly of the Titan and start to be digested by the stomach acids, at least, that’s what I presumed was happening.
Mikasa’s gas runs out on her grappling system and she falls to the ground. She is about to be attacked by the aforementioned Titan when its body starts to glow and there is a look of shock and pain upon its face.
The Titan explodes from within revealing another new Titan. This new giant then starts to smash and kill its way through the other Titans, smashing their heads into skyscrapers with explosive force. Soon the remaining foes become fearful for their lives and flee.
The new rogue Titan roars in defiance before falling to the ground where Mikasa exclaims that the base of the neck must be cut open to free Eren before he is absorbed by the Titan. The neck is cut and a scarred and alive Eren is freed from the body of the Titan.
Do you want to read that last paragraph again because I had to rewind the film to watch it try and make sense of what just happened? I sit here writing this review and I’m still none the wiser. I feel that a major part of the source material may not have made it to the final film.
This is where the film ends but during the credits, much like The Matrix Reloaded or Back To The Future Part II, we have a trailer for part two. I plan on seeing the second half in the hope it can provide some answers.
As you can tell, I feel the film has many problems especially with the script but that doesn’t mean the film isn’t visually impressive to look at despite its below average budget.
Attack On Titan: Part 1 doesn’t have the huge megabucks of a Hollywood blockbuster but it does extremely well with what they had.
The CGI is put to very good use and works well in the film. There are many times where the budget limitations show through but don’t let this distract you. As for the Titans themselves, well to put it bluntly, there creepy as fuck.
They have no reproductive organs and there’s always something about them that hints that they’re not quite human, albeit strange facial features or the way that they move. They really are the highlight of the film.
It’s just a shame that as a total newcomer to this franchise, the film left me completely confused by the end.
Have you seen the original Manga or Anime? If so please let me know your thoughts and comments if you’ve also seen this impressive but bewildering live action adaptation.