Movie review: Attack on Titan Part 1

PHOTO: Encore Films

Genre: Action, Sci-fi

Duration: 98 minutes

Rating: 4/5

The term "movie adaptation" usually sets very high expectations for fans of a certain book or comic who want to see the movie bring to life their favourite stories and do the original material justice.

In the case of Attack on Titan, while not badly made, the movie adaptation should be thought of as a standalone piece not tied to the original fantasy manga franchise.

Attack on Titan is set in a post-apocalyptic future where only a fraction of humanity has survived after being ravaged by titanic humanoid entities. The remaining population has barricaded themselves behind high stone walls to protect themselves, and for a long time there is peace. The titans soon become nothing more than a distant memory.

Of course, this peace does not last.

The movie introduces the main characters, Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert at the beginning of the film. The movie's setting is surprisingly immersive, and the citizens come alive with relatable personalities which other movies of the same genre tend to lack.

Director Shinji Higuchi allows the characters develop as the plot progresses, forging a emotional attachment that leaves us rooting for them and clenching our fists in hope for the best.

Specks of humour sprinkled throughout the movie helped to alleviate the tension and, at times, sombre atmosphere. Striking a balance is essential in intense films such as this, and Higuchi seems to be wary of bogging the audience down with too much plot or action.

There were times when the cinematic effects came across as a little dated, and at moments you could tell when the scenes were green-screened. However, these instances can easily be shrugged off as they are not too distracting from the plot.

The titans look so much like humans that the movie often gives you a creepy vibe, but this adds to the tension and realism of the film. After all, who wouldn't be freaked out by giant people wanting to devour helpless human beings?

As mentioned earlier, fans of the franchise need to take note that the movie is not a complete replica of the original manga series. There are quite a number of deviations from the original manga, such as how certain characters are portrayed and featured.

Nonetheless, this does not mean that it Attack on Titan is just another run-of-the-mill messy blend of action sequences put together simply for the sake of adaption.

As a movie by itself, Attack on Titan does solidly stand on its own merit, and proved to be so gripping that it creates a brand new experience for fans of the manga. Overall, I found it was a good movie that kept me engaged and on the edge of my seat from start to end.

(Thankfully, we won't have wait one year for the second part of the movie to be on the silver screen.)

Attack on Titan Part 1 opens in cinemas August 13, 2015. Part 2 of the series, Attack on Titan: End of the World, will premiere late 2015.

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