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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Aug 19, 2015

'Attack On Titan' - Crudely Made & Unimpressive

CURRENTLY ATTRACTING crowds is "Attack on Titan", based on a Japanese comic or manga series that started in 2009. It was a big success in manga and millions of volumes have since been printed, including an English version. An anime adaptation was made on TV in 2013 and now, it's turned into a big screen live action movie, just like another popular manga series, "Rourouni Kenshin".

In the story, it's said that giant creatures called Titans, who have no sex organs, suddenly appeared 100 years ago to eat people, nearly finishing the human race. The survivors now live inside a wall that protects them from the Titans. They've lived in peace for a century with many of them not even having seen a Titan.
The hero, in what obviously is meant to be just the first movie in what they aim to be a franchise, is Eren, along with his friends Mikasa and Armin. One day, the Titans destroy their protective wall and invade them so their world is turned upside down and they have to defend themselves. The Titans eat Eren's mom and even Mikasa, who they thought was killed.

Eren joins the military, vowing to kill all the Titans. In the ensuing battle, one of the Titans succeed in eating Eren, but he manages to get out of the Titan's stomach and he is transformed to become a formidable Titan himself. But he doesn't eat human beings, only other Titans. This is where the movie ends and the suggestion is there would be a sequel.

Personally, we don't care to see any sequel. The story is told in an awkward manner and you only get annoyed by the characters instead of rooting for them or sympathizing with them. There's no meaningful character development and everything looks so contrived. At one point, I really wish that the Titans would succeed in eating all the human characters to get it over with.

Even technically, the movie is a failure. We know it's based on a popular manga series, so maybe they would like to keep its look, costumes, location, atmosphere on the screen. But truth to tell, they all look cheap, not at all attractive on the big screen. Many of the scenes are shot in darkness and the CGI special effects work is so poor and shoddy you can almost imagine shooting them on an empty green screen. Even the giant monsters called Titan do not really look creepy enough but quite funny. They seem like real people who are made up and costumed to look like giant monsters without any sex organs.

The action scenes likewise look unconvincing with obvious computer generated backdrops, lacking in correct sense of proportion and speed. If you're used to the expertly executed special effects work in Disney and Pixar animation flicks, the CGI work here looks quite crude and unimpressive.

But no doubt the movie is gory as it's just revolting to watch the Titans bite into the bodies of their human captives, heads being ripped off, blood and guts exploding and spilling on the big screen. It looks so violent, no wonder the MTRCB gave it and R-16 rating as it will surely appear so gruesome for kid viewers. The movie is really quite a mess that we're sure those who loved it in the manga and TV anime series will be disappointed with this big screen adaptation.