Blu-ray Review: Attack on Titan – Movie 1
24/06/2016 Leave a comment
The Attack on Titan franchise continues to be popular as while Manga Entertainment UK continue to push-out a re-release of the anime series, and Koei Tecmo Europe releasing a video-game based on the anime in August, we find ourselves seeing Animatsu Entertainment release the live-action adaptation of the franchise from Toho Studios. So; does this live action film deserve your attention? Well that all depends on your perspective but we take a closer look to find out what this UK Blu-ray release has in store.
Fast-forward 100 years. What remains of the human population now survives in relative peace behind massive walls erected in defence against the Titans. That peace is shattered when a Colossal Titan, measuring over 50 meters tall, smashes through the wall and allows a horde of other Titans to enter.
Eren Yeager had resigned himself to a life confined behind these walls. “Nothing I do would make a difference”, he thought. But when he joins the ‘Outer Wall Restoration Team’ set up to fight against the Titans, he is reunited with Mikasa, a childhood friend. The new recruits embark on a mission to plug the gaping hole in the wall and stop the waves of titans once and for all. With humanity’s survival on the line, will there be a future for Eren and Mikasa, and for mankind itself?
When it comes to live-action adaptation of popular Japanese manga series we never really know what to expect from the film until the end credits begin to roll and while some live-action adaptations tend to follow the source material, such as the Death Note and Parasyte movies, this Attack on Titan movie makes opts to take a different path and offers something completely different to what you may have been expecting. Personally it makes me wonder if the director and script writer had ever read or seen the source material the film is supposed to be adapted from as while it uses character and weapon names everything else is pretty much independent to this film; including the story.
A loosely based manga adaptation is what Attack on Titan – Movie 1 offers and while it is a disappointing fact it does lead into a new type of Attack on Titan universe; and no I am not referring to the Junior High spin-off. In this first live-action film of the franchise we see ironic trio, Eren, Armin and Mikasa, attempting to lead an ordinary life within the walls that were setup 100 years ago however after being caught trying to sneak-out the colossal titan arrives and destroys part of the wall allowing masses of titans to invade the town and cause mass destruction with Eren, Armin and Mikasa caught-up in it all. Fade to black and fast forward two years into the future and we see that Eren and Armin have joined the military in order to reclaim the land they had once lost by plugging up the hole that was made by the colossal titan several years prior. This mission takes the entire Survey Corps squad outside of the wall and into enemy territory which means that the squad must now defend themselves from the titan onslaught while protecting their precious explosives. It’s a simplistic one-minded-aproach to a story and very little for character development or relationship building; but then again this is only just half of the story being told.
The events which occur within this first film are very reminisce of the opening few volumes (or episodes) of the Attack on Titan franchise except for some crucial plot differences. For starters when the film begins no-one has seen a titan since the walls were erected and more importantly as the scout regiment does not exist Eren has no interest in joining the military; so why does he join the military? A valid reason is given – revenge – but unlike the source material it has nothing to do with the death of his mother. Other crucial differences include character personalities, such as Eren being the one in love with Mikasa rather than the other way around, the ODMG Gear not existing until the scout regiment was born and a moment which sees Potato girl and Armin develop a crush for each other. In hindsight it’s a completely butchered version of the Attack on Titan experience that you may be expecting to receive but while notable storyline and character differences can be seen (and dissected) there are some positives to be had.
The positive aspects come from the actual presentation of Attack on Titan universe as a live-action film; as well as iconic moments from the original source material recreated in live action form. For instance titans roaming the streets eating humans, the ODMG battles with the titans and the amusing death scene between the love-bird soldiers are all here and present. It’s just unfortunate that the director opted to put their own spin on the story to deliver their own variation of the Attack on Titan storyline; otherwise it may have been a really entertaining experience.
This Blu-ray release of Attack on Titan – Movie 1 contains no bonus features; it is strictly the film in High Definition with removable English subtitles.
Media: BD 50
Running Time: 1:38:34
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (Japanese), LPCM 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White/Grey)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
This first Attack on Titan movie is basically one director’s attempt at creating a different spin on the story we are all familiar with and while it is an attempt to be commended it does not manage to hold on its own. Storyline elements which we take as fact are altered and changed; the location of where Eren, Mikasa and Armin used to live for example or the fact that the scout regiment, or even the ODMG, doesn’t even exist when the film starts. It’s these little details that deter fans of the franchise from immersing themselves into the film but even if you weren’t a fan so little is explained that you’ll find yourself hard to fully grasp the situation at hand; it literally just throws you in at the deep end hoping then you’ll already have prior knowledge of the characters portrayed within the film – which is easier said than done.
In terms of a story then it’s one which sees the inital titan outbreak begin followed by a daring mission to plug the hole that caused it; no training, character development or ODMG tutorial is given it’s pretty much straight to the objective and wait for death to arrive. It’s a very shallow experience and while it offers an alternate look at the Attack on Titan universe its sadly not one I would recommend watching – especially if you are in it just for the fights with titans as these are short lived and relatively scarce with most characters just running around on the ground. Of course it’s worth mentioning that this film sets itself up for the second half which, judging from the trailer during the end credits, promises to be a more exciting and adventurous film.
Ironically enough negative comments are not just at the overall film as this Blu-ray release by Animatsu Entertainment isn’t nothing to shout home about and it actually reminds me of the old MangaUK authored titles. For starters there are no bonus features on the disc and as such the only piece of content you will receive is the film in either stereo or surround sound with removable subtitles and secondly the main menu, although looks nice, is relatively basis (although steam can be seen coming from the titan itself). Possibly also worth nothing that the artwork cover for the disc and main menu have no real relation to the events of the film itself so it partly feels disconnected from each other.
Personally I am surprised that not even a promotional trailer was included in the bonus features; as there are several seen online – but I can only assume that Animatsu Entertainment were not able to secure the assets required. In any event the Attack on Titan – Part 1 film looks great, sounds great and even features some great acting by the cast but from a story and presentation perspective then you won’t be missing much if you opt to skip this film. My advice would be to read the manga or watch the anime series; as these both deliver a better titan experience than this would. On the plus side it can act as an nice ‘introductory’ for fans that don’t like anime but enjoy the prospect of this film (case and point my dad enjoyed elements of the film). Not one for fans; but could be useful for newcomers who are not too fond of anime or manga.
Attack on Titan – Movie 1 will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 27th June 2016.