HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lodgers, The
Eagle vs Shark
American Assassin
Die, Mommie, Die!
All the Money in the World
Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The
Black Panther
Children's Hour, The
Mayhem
Sphere
Guyver, The
Night School
Loveless
Ragtime
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wound, The
Scalawag
Let's Get Harry
Girl with Green Eyes
Sunchaser, The
Tom Jones
Downsizing
Defiant Ones, The
Centerfold Girls, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Police Academy 3: Back in Training
Safe Place, A
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
   
 
Newest Articles
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
   
 
  Attack on Titan: The Movie - Part 1 Giant SlayersBuy this film here.
Year: 2015
Director: Shinji Higuchi
Stars: Haruma Miura, Kiko Mizuhara, Hiroki Hasegawa, Kanata Hongo, Takahiro Miura, Nanami Sakuraba, Satoru Matsuo, Shu Watanabe, Ayame Misaki, Rina Takeda, Pierre Taki, Satomi Ishihara, Jun Kunimura
Genre: Horror, Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: One hundred years ago, giant, flesh-eating humanoids known as Titans appeared from nowhere and decimated most of humanity. Thereafter mankind retreated behind a vast protective wall to live in peace. A century later, restless young Eren Yeager (Haruma Miura) is eager to see what lies beyond the wall. Then one terrible day Eren and his lifelong friend Armin Arlert (Kanata Hongo) witness an attack by the largest, most terrifying Titan ever seen. It breaks through the wall unleashing hordes of ravenous Titans that massacre their entire village including Eren's would-be sweetheart Mikasa Ackerman (gorgeous Kiko Mizuhara).

Two years later Eren and Armin join the Scouting Regiment, a team of young draftees sent on a dangerous mission. Armed with powerful explosives the scouts, led by wacky, accident-prone Hans (Satomi Ishihara, in a manic performance much criticized by western media though true to the character) including potato-obsessed hungry girl Sasha (Nanami Sakuraba), big-hearted burly Sannagi (Satoru Matsuo), hostile Jean (Takahiro Miura) and doomed lovers Fukushi (Shu Watanabe) and Lil (Rina Takeda) venture into the Titan-infested wasteland in the hope of expanding human territory. Unfortunately they find themselves entrapped and hunted mercilessly. Swooping to their rescue come a pair of seasoned Titan-slayers, one: the cynical Captain Shikishima (Hiroki Hasegawa), the other: a legendary female badass with ten kills to her name. To the utter surprise of Eren and Armin, she turns to be Mikasa who now seems like a completely different person.

Hajime Isayama's manga sired a multimedia phenomenon (spin-off novels, a 2013 anime series and now live-action movie) with a rabid fan-base to rival Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. Yet it remains among the most divisive Japanese fantasy epics in recent years. In Asia diverging sociopolitical interpretations played a big part in how its various incarnations were received. For Japanese, Chinese and Hong Kong readers and viewers Attack on Titan is an allegory about resisting oppression. By comparison South Korean critics deride Isayama's work as a right-wing nationalistic allegory reflecting what they interpret as contemporary Japanese foreign policy. In fact rumours that a minor character was based on an Imperial Japanese Admiral saw Isayama bombarded with death threats from non-Japanese readers. Meanwhile western critics, largely unconscious of the story's sociopolitical content, dismissed the live-action adaptation as an over-inflated exploitation movie.

Truth be told the live-action Attack on Titan underwhelmed most Japanese critics and divided fans across the globe. Yet speaking as someone that has neither read the manga nor seen the anime, this struck me as a powerful, compelling, often unsettling kaiju eiga (monster movie). The film shares many tropes in common with the current flood of young adult fantasies. Themes such as the class divide, self-sufficient rural communities and the exploitation of youth by oppressive governments obviously parallel films like Divergent (2014), The Maze Runner (2014) and of course The Hunger Games (2012). Even the vast wall that keeps monsters away from a quasi-Medieval society evokes Game of Thrones while the post-apocalyptic pastoral village recalls the Shire from The Lord of the Rings though also the hardy rural communities from Akira Kurosawa's samurai films. Which is not to suggest Attack on Titan is derivative but rather that it echoes themes prevalent in the cultural zeitgeist.

Despite a background in special effects, director Shinji Higuchi foregrounds relationships and social observations above arcane mythology. A solid storyteller Higuchi has his protagonists slowly piece together the mystery of how the world came to be this way. He details the impact the Titans have on society, spawning a world that is tougher, harsher and more selfish: parents sell their children to the army for money to buy food, a single mother volunteers so the state will take care of her child. With human beings suddenly reduced to the lowest rung on the food chain, a survivalist mentality overrides almost every other emotion. As Captain Shikishima shrewdly observes the real enemy might not be the Titans but rather the mentality that drove human beings to fence themselves in like cattle. Higuchi delivers the spectacle and horror fans of Isayama's disturbing manga expect. The cackling, naked flesh-eating giants are truly horrific monsters. When they chow down on their squealing, terrified victims it is grisly and nightmarish, far removed from the colourful fun of your classic kaiju eiga. For the most part Higuchi keeps the action chaotic and messy, bereft of the familiar heroic beats one expects from a Japanese SF action-adventure. The script pulls off several shock twists that keep things refreshingly unpredictable and visceral. It is possible the climactic resurrection of an almost comfortingly familiar Japanese genre trope was one reason this befuddled several western critics. But if you are a fan of tokkusatsu fare it is kind of the last-minute icing on the cake.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 672 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: