Hajime Isayama’s manga and hit anime series gets a film adaptation and the first of this two-parter is quite an adventure for our heroes.
A century ago, monstrous beings known as Titans nearly wiped out all of humanity. As a result, those who survived have put up three walls in order to preserve peace amongst each other. Flash forward to the present day. Three youngsters, Eren, Armin, and Mikasa, long to see what the outside world has to offer but know that they would be at risk of running into the Titans. However, the nightmare once again begins when a gigantic Titan appears out of nowhere and puts a hole in the outer wall, forcing other Titans to move in and continue their decimation. In an attempt to save Mikasa, Eren is separated from her and find her taken by a Titan.
Two years since that fateful day has passed. Eren and Armin have joined the Scouting Regiment. Under the command of Kubal, they have the ability to use some new technology in order to face the deadly Titans. The team also learns they will be working with Captain Shikishima, a legendary Titan hunter and his sidekick, known simply as the Goddess. As the team plan to start a mission by returning to the outer wall, they are under constant attack by the Titans. When Shikishima and the Goddess arrive, Eren soon finds a shocking discovery but that will just be the beginning of what is in store for the youngster.
Hajime Isayama’s renowned manga which in turn became a hit anime series from 2012-2014 has arrived in a live action film from SFX effects wizard Shinji Higuchi. While the first part of a two-part epic has some deviations from its manga and anime counterparts, the film still takes the basis of the story and executes pretty well.
Haruma Miura delivers a wonderful performance as Eren Jaeger, the film’s protagonist, as someone who is seen as a hapless loser who due to an unforeseen incident, finds himself ready to set himself on a road of redemption and finds more than that. When he joins the Scouting Regiment, he is seen as someone who will do what it takes to take on the Titans and at the same time, will not take any lip from the likes of the arrogant Jean Kirstein, played by Takahiro Miura. As for Armin Arlert, Kanata Hongo plays the role nearly to a tee of his original counterpart while a major change is in the form of Mikasa Ackermann, played by Kiko Mizuhara, who starts as the cute girl who seems in love with Eren only to somewhat blame him for her change into the Goddess, a Titan hunter.
Some of the important characters appear aside from Eren, Mikasa, Armin, and Jean. Satomi Ishihara’s Hans (Hange in the anime) is like her anime counterpart, a crazed member of the troopers who wants to research Titans by capturing them alive. Sasha, played by Nanami Sakuraba, is still the scared yet willing to fight type. A major character change is that of Hiroki Hasegawa’s Captain Shikishima, who is based on the original character of Captain Levi, a legendary member of the Survey Troops who watches Eren in the second half of the anime’s first season.
The highlight is the action when the Titans appear. It is here that becomes the trademark for the entire franchise with actors combining make-up and CGI effects to appear as the Titans. Some look extremely insane while others may look normal but they all have one simple agenda: destroy humanity by easting them alive! And yes, much like its manga and anime, it gets pretty bloody and extremely violent. However, just wait until the last ten minutes of the film, in which if you have seen the anime or read the manga, know what happens and this is exactly where part one ends and part two begins.
Attack on Titan: Part 1 is not completely faithful to its former versions, but the core elements are still there and there is plenty of bloody action that all culminates to a cliffhanger that will start up the finale of this 2-part epic.
WFG RATING: B+
A Toho Co. Ltd. production in association with Kodansha, Licri, and Nikkatsu. Director: Shinji Higuchi. Producers: Yuji Ishida and Genki Kawamura. Writers: Yusuke Watanabe and Tomohiro Machiyama; based on the original manga by Hajime Isayama. Cinematography: Shoji Ehara. Editing: Yusuke Ishida.
Cast: Haruma Miura, Kiko Mizuhara, Kanata Hongo, Satomi Ishihara, Nanami Sakuraba, Takahiro Miura, Hiroki Hasegawa, Ayame Misaki, Pierre Taki, Jun Kunimura, Shu Watanabe, Rina Takeda, Satoru Matsuo.