by Heinrich Domingo
Both in manga and in television series, Attack on Titan won over fans all over the world for presenting a post-apocalyptic story discussing human nature, inevitable death, and a haunting past of humankind. The live-action film adaptation cannot bank on this superb narrative as it is dragged down by a failed CGI animation.
Set in a visually realistic environment, the film kicks off with an excellent introduction. The chaotic bustle of streets, the foreshadowing of events, and the overview of characters became nostalgic to fans while engaging their first-time viewers. The well-arranged sequence of events made the audience wait for succeeding scenes.
In the film’s entirety, the production designers must be applauded. Their work made the battle scenes visually appealing. One can immediately notice that the film tried to imitate the images established in the animation series. This was supplemented by a commendable acting from the cast. Haruma Miura (as Eren) was able to bring into life a character that is both a warrior and a lover, a protector and attacker, and a friend and a foe.
These elements prove the international effectiveness of Attack on Titan. It is promising. Yet, in the entry of those humanoid monsters, they do not only consume their human preys but also devour the beautiful introduction build by the film’s opening scenes.
From a promising start, the film gradually stumbles down to imperfection and inadequacy. Little by little, the flaws in editing and cinematography were revealed.
For one, this live-action adaptation was intended to extend the visual appeal that manga and animation series cannot offer. The filmmakers wish to humanize the characters in the hope of continuously engaging the fans while inviting new audience. Yet, when the computer-generated animation (CGI) came through, it was a flop. The unrealistic and harmless depiction of Titans does not give justice to what other media have displayed. Those supposed monsters looked like anything but grim and evil.
Moreover, aerial shots are done clumsily often delivering a subtle reflection on the film’s low budget. As the camera pans above, shots continuously disappoint the crowd. Skies exude unrealism and the fights shot above the building look rather absurd.
If only films can solely depend on the ingenuity of stories, this film could have been a success. Attack on Titan is a proof that if a plot is transcribed into a new media, it must innovate. If it fails to do so, it must at all cost remain in its comfort zone.
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