Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Attack on Titan: Part I World Premiere Review: People, Have You Considered Them As A Meal

Kiko Mizuhara
Ollie Barber of Forbes was disappointed by the latest trailer on Attack on Titan, I'm not gonna lie, so was I. Who ever cut it, needs to be cut...or at least eaten by a titan, a giant, that's naked, devoid of reproductive organs who eats people. These horrible giants that eat people have been made famous selling fifty million copies of manga and having a successful anime series. There popularity grew with hopes for a live action film, that even through hardships - the first director left- now comes out in 2015. Now the film has had it's world premiere in Hollywood, California and I can tell you Ollie, there's nothing to be disappointed about.

Haruma Miura, Kiko Mizuhara
FUNimation brought some fanfare to the Egyptian with the World Premiere and a red carpet event. Much of it had to do with the fans, like Tina Trinh, who made special Attack on Titan-themed treats, such as cookies and came cosplaying as a Survey Corps member. "Attack on Titan became huge and I started making sweets," she said before handing a treat to Kiko Mizuhara on the red carpet, she plays a leading role as Mikasa in the film. Tina was able to get treats to the director Shinji Higuichi and the leading man Haruma Miura who plays Eren and had other cosplayers swooning over as they all walked the red carpet. To get into the theater they would have to pass by many fans and cosplayers. FUNimation held a fan event prior to the premiere with prizes. Fans stayed who won entry to the film and to look and awe at the attending cast.

After the monumental movie of fallen limbs and dismemberment came an after party at the Supper Club -was that another joke about titans eating people- just across the street. FUNimation also provided posters, flyers and 3D holograms to those attending with popcorn and free drinks.

The director with Kiko and Miura both welcomed the audience and gave us a quick Q & A at the end. They were delighted by the fan reaction as we were delighted by seeing people eaten. Mr. Miura shared how he enjoyed one scene that had him covered in a pool of lotion. To find out what he was talking about you'll have to read the review below.

Passing the popcorn, there was a lot of guzzling going on the big screen too with Attack on Titan: Part I. If you wanted to lend hints about someone going on a diet, this film should be on the top of your list for them to watch. The stars of the film Kiko Mizuhara and Haruma Miuramight want to give second billing to those lovable creatures called Titans, immortal monsters that look like man, who eat man and women.

Early on from trailers and preview images many like myself were dismayed by how good they would look on the big screen. Those thoughts are now pacified as they are large and in charge and a new horrifying creature to fear. They will give Japanese and American children nightmares.

Spoilers ahead

Before the buffet starts we're introduced to a world devoid of modern technology and behind a wall, there our cast is introduced as wanting more out of their small lives that look stuck in the past. They're pieces looking like some sort of disaster befell mankind long ago all around them too. Taking some distance from the anime we don't see our main trio of Mikasa, Eren and Armin, played by Kanata HongĂ´, as children, but young adults.

Eren is fed up with his life behind the wall, Mikasa is plainly in love with him and Armin is a devoted friend. Under Eren the trek to the wall and plan to head out and see the world, thinking titans are a myth, none have been seen in 100 years.

Before they can even get to the wall they're stopped by the army/police and after a speech on freedom it all comes crashing down around them, the wall that is and what they know of the world. We see a titan for the first time, so big it can look over the wall, which I haven't described to you as blocking out your view of the foreseeable future and as tall as skyscrapers. So vast around their farmland that you couldn't tell where it ended for miles.

The fatalities start and TOHO and director Shinji Higuichi brings us what Japan is known for on the big screen, giant monsters eating people and destruction of whole cities. This moment or moments greatly affect Eren and his friends with some simple thoughts, thoughts of, "Run!!! Dammit, Run!!! We're going to get eaten!" That was how the people in town felt as well.

If you're into horror, I'm not sure if the film would make you hungry or queasy. What happens next is a smorgasbord of disgust where people get swallowed, mashed and ripped apart before your very eyes as the scream for help. You don't have to even ask, yes, yes, you are a bad person to enjoy watching that happen, but then so am I and the audience whose connected same-time screams in disgust must have sounded like heavenly music to the director. People die horribly, and we see that perspective from Eren and his friends as they are trapped like everyone else seeking shelter.

In all the unadulterated eating we're left seeing Mikasa in harm's way, a hungry happy titan women about to eat. Eren can only look on before being knocked back and soon we cut to two years later.

The film skips the learning curve of the anime and we're soon introduced to Eren, Armin and the Survey Corps of the army now ready to seal the hole that the giant titan from events two years prior made. Armin and Eren are already "trained" and ready to fight the titans alongside young soldiers.

We're introduced to many new characters: lunch, dinner, appetizer, snack...sorry thinking like the titans. We get a whole crew of  young men and women who have to get explosives to the wall left open that when exploded will seal it off. If you watched any army movie or rag-tag team heights films, you can fall in love with any of the characters and their different personalities.

We're off to our first major fight and the audience was on edge waiting to see the the omnidirectional gear in use. Going at night, the battalion of soldiers is meant to be kept quiet. Titans are sleeping at night unless they hear humans. Though the good intentions of a young, hot single mom and and Eren get paid back with titans being alerted. Now we see how well the survey corps can fight....

Look from yonder sky, who could it be? Like a goddess from Heaven it's Mikasa back to kick titan butt. *Note titans can only be killed by taking out a portion of the back of their neck, all other attacks only buy you a few seconds. Soon we see her and Shikishima played by Hiroki Hasegawa, taking down titans and get the first looks at how live action omnidirectional gear looks. It ain't Spider-Man style, it's it own technique and it works with flashes of violence that cut through the air. You would want to be able to use the gear too if you were into parkour or some other annoying sport that would be a constant nuisance for those around you.

Reunions can be bittersweet, given some time after waking the titans the battalion makes camp and some drama drops. Mikasa has lost the love for Eren and with little subtly eats an apple with Shikishima, Eren looks dead inside. He's found by that hot young mom and after she proposes that he become the father of her child, if you know what I mean, things go bad.

Wait a second, falling in love or about to do "it" in a horror movie, bad idea. It's our friends the titans who are very hungry. Now we see titan fighting with a whole squad. As you imagined things don't go well, as the titans vs the survey corps has all out action going on everywhere has goliaths battle people who are almost flies to them.

Soon after a lesson from Shikishima, Eren is devoured and missing appendages. Remember when we talked about that lotion scene earlier, we see Eren in a titans stomach and he's not happy. That titan suddenly has a stomach ache. Mikasa in a rage takes on too many titans at once and whose not eaten in the corps is about to. Until Eren comes back. He comes back as a titan, through reverse eating? It's not quite throwing up as it is someone reaching out of you.

Now we have the head smashing fun of Eren as a titan, he's that Godzilla that helps people, he's out to take down titans and he knows some martial arts. So you're seeing blood splatter on a new level, a giant level where opponents don't go down until there head is gone.

Seeing this visceral carnage will make that friend you want to lose weight want to not only diet, but start working out as the beating are so severe, you would say, " He's already dead, stop killing him!" That and, "That giant guy must do cardio." Those scenes will live on and get acted out by young Japanese children who will see the film when there parents lent them stream it or rent it.

We're left with Eren "powering down", it's gross  how that happens, and the mission to blow up the hole in the wall still on the table with a promise of more drama and going beyond the wall in the next film.

Big congratulations to TOHO for pulling off a new generation of guys and gals in suit films with people that are almost naked. It's the new tokusatsu and it's frightening, forget monsters looking fake, when they look that human, it really pains you to see someone get eaten. So special effects easily get a pass.

You could argue special effects are not on the level of Hollywood and there's some fast-paced nature to the film. I'd rather that the Japanese tackle the film than Hollywood ruining it and changing it so much that the original vision be ruined. The director and studio did work with the creator and get his okay on the film.

I know some reviewer will call it cathartic, when people are devoured brutally. That's nice reviewer, using the the word-a-day calendar are you? Just consider it a wonderfully monstrous film that will make you either hungry for Part II or full from all the unspeakable carnage. I can't wait for seconds!