It is at least a month until the third season of Attack on Titan airs and I cannot wait.
I have been dying to see more of it so I decided to watch the live actions adaptations to pass the time.
Now, I had not heard good things about the films so coming into the first one I was expecting something on the scale of The Last Airbender or Dragonball: Evolution in levels of terrible.
While, thankfully, the first live adaptation is nowhere as bad as those films, it is still a colossal mess (pun intended) that not only fails to capture the greatness of the source material but as a standalone movie as well.
Directed by Shinji Higuchi and “based” off the manga by Hajime Isayama, Attack on Titan is set 100 years after humanity hid behind three large walls to escape giants known as Titans that have driven humanity to the brink of extinction.
The movie follows friends Eren (Haruma Miura), Mikasa (Kiki Mizuhara) and Armin (Kanata Hongo) who witness a massive Colossal Titan destroy the outer wall allowing the Titans inside.
The film then follows their efforts, and that of the Survey Corps, to eliminate the Titans.
This plot synopsis does seem to encapsulate the story of the manga and anime, however, Higuchi makes many additions and changes to this story that severely undermine it.
For one, Eren’s mother is not in this film so her death cannot motivate Eren to fight the Titans, completely removing a large part of his character.
The worst change to the film story wise though is the addition that the Titans attacked in modern day so humanity have trucks and guns at their disposal.
This eliminates much of the tension that was seen in the original source material, due to the limited technology.
Even worse than the story changes, however, are the character changes.
I may have hated Eren in season one of Attack on Titan but at least he was memorable.
The movie version of Eren is an incredibly forgettable character and Miura gives the worst performance of the entire movie that sometime becomes laughably bad.
Armin is just as forgettable, with no depth or character growth whatsoever.
The only change he got was that he was turned into an inventor in this version but this was pointless because it never came into the story in a significant way.
Then there is Mikasa, who is by far the worst offender.
Her main purpose in this movie is to serve as the love interest for a creepy love triangle between Eren and a watered down version of Levi known as Captain Shikishima (Hiriko Hasegawa).
The worst change about Mikasa though, is how she got her scarf.
I know this may seem like a fanboy nit-picking but it is really not because how Mikasa got the scarf in the manga and anime is integral to her character.
Mikasa saw her parents get murdered right in front of her.
After this, she felt completely lost and alone in the world until Eren wrapped his scarf around her and assured her she was welcome to come home and live with his family.
Thus Mikasa came to associate this scarf with Eren and her strong feelings for him, which is a big part of her motivation in both the manga and anime.
So, how was this translated to the film?
Eren gives Mikasa the scarf because she has a cold… Seriously?
This basically takes away Mikasa’s entire motivation and character development in this part of the story.
Another big problem with the film is the music.
Attack on Titan has my favourite soundtrack of any show I have watched.
It is absolutely incredible and gives a perfect vibe for the series.
In comparison, the music of the film is incredibly cheesy with over the top whimsical music playing in the beginning scene.
Then there is the color palette.
Another great thing about the anime is how beautiful and colorful the environments are.
This makes for a very stark and disturbing contrast when we see characters getting horrifically killed in these beautiful environments, which improves the impact these scenes have.
The movie’s color palette, on the other hand, was incredibly bland and dull throughout.
In one particularly awful shot, the Titans are the same dull grey color as the environment, failing to make them stand out.
Finally, there is the CGI, which goes from good, to passable, to atrocious throughout the movie.
Whenever the characters are using their ODM gear everything looks so incredibly fake that it draws you out of the moment.
I am not kidding when I say that some of these effects were I would expect to see in a Sharknado movie.
There is also a scene where blood splatters on the camera and it looks like the effects were done by Microsoft Paint, the effects are that bad.
All that being said though, was this film completely terrible?
There were some things I did enjoy.
The character of Hans (Satomi Ishihara), who was the movie’s version of Hange Zoe, was spot on in both casting and performance.
The actor did a really great job and I wish she had been give more scenes.
The final thing I liked was the 20 minute scene where the Titan’s attack Eren’s hometown.
This was a genuinely good scene with a lot of great horror moments and tension.
It also featured my favourite shot in the entire movie when, after the Colossal Titan has kicked in the wall, we see numerous Titans, illuminated by the sunlight, moaning as they make their way through the wall.
This shot was genuinely creepy and gave me goosebumps.
However, other than that, this movie was a failure in every way.
The story changes were ridiculous, the characters were terribly adapted, the soundtrack was cheesy and the color palette and effects were atrocious.
This was another bad adaptation of an anime and am I not looking forward to watching the sequel.