Attack On Titan Part 1 film review: Running From Giants

Does the live-action version of Attack On Titan live up to its source material?

A live-action adaptation of the much loved Manga and anime written and illustrated by Hajime Isayame that goes its own way, removes certain characters and makes some changes but still manages to be a fun and entertaining bloodbath.

When a trio of renegades, Armin, Erin and Mikasa head to the tall outer wall that keeps a mass of flesh eating titans out of their city to try to escape suddenly all pandemonium explodes. The luminescent, veiny beasts, some with gnarling Chelsea smiles plastered on their faces, unexpectedly break through the barrier in an explosion of hell and brim fire tearing through the agricultural part of the district and causing mass destruction.

Two years later and the humans who are left embark on a bold journey out of safety to reconstruct the breach in security in an attempt to save all humanity.

Director Higuchi appears to have taken his artistic lead from System of Down’s early 00s ‘Chop Suey’ music video with mad chaos, CGI enhancement and crowds of screaming people running around a lot making up most of the running time. The aftermath of the attack is full of imagery that recalls the fallout of an atomic blast and the accompanying music is a mash-up of metal and classical.

Essentially this is a war movie with giants playing the part of the terrifying enemy and though it occasionally misjudges its tone (there are some amusing but ill-placed fart jokes along the way) Attack on Titan does deliver some exhilarating sequences. Watching cloaked, bad-ass Mikasa slicing and dicing her way through the nape of Titans’ necks (the only way to kill one) as they evaporate into thin air is a particular highlight.

With the focus on action the character development is sorely underwritten with a whole army of young warriors being shoddily introduced meaning their eventual deaths carry little emotional weight but it sure is mesmerising watching the mayhem unfold.

Plus, it ends on a high, with a relentless vomiting collage of gory, gross and inventive carnage cannily priming the viewer for the next instalment.