Cinematic Releases: Attack on Titan: Part 2

Attack On Titan II is out. Read our review right now. 

"Do you know
how to fly?"
I was rather disappointed with part one of the Attack on Titan film adaptation. The saving grace of that movie were the great monster special effects done by Tokyo Gore Police director and make up supervisor Yoshihiro Nishimura. The story was a hot mess, with a jumbled narrative, unclear character motivations and overly dramatic dialogue. To be fair, the anime it was based on also suffers from these same issues, but I was hoping that the film would try to condense the story down into something tighter and more compelling. However, the exciting action sequences somewhat made up for these shortcomings and occasionally harkened back to the traditional kaiju films of the past.

That brings us to what should be a thrilling climax to an epic movie—unfortunately, what we ended up getting is a confusing anticlimactic character study with hardly any action to keep the momentum going. The Titans take a back seat to the characters, but they aren’t interesting enough to carry the bulk of the film forward. The ongoing conflict between Eren Yeager (Haruma Miura) and Captain Shikishima (Hiroki Hasegawa) is half-baked and contrived with Hasegawa hamming it up to a hilarious amount, even for Japanese film standards. There are a lot of unintentionally hysterical moments directly resulting from the egregious overacting from every single character. I watch a lot of anime and Japanese films, so I am used to this to some degree, but even I was cringing at the writing and numerous anguished soliloquies uttered by the main characters.

"My burns!!!!!"
While the Titans are scaled back in this film there are two major bad ass fights that are fun to watch. That is where this film shines—giant scary monsters punching the hell out of each other. Part one had lots of gore and scenes of the Titans ripping helpless people apart that made it more akin to a horror film than a straight up action movie. This is toned down quite a bit in part two with it being more of a CGI blockbuster. It’s less Godzilla and more Michael Bay Transformers. The scenes of the Scouts using the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment still doesn’t look quite right and they are definitely the weakest link in the special effects. They used a desaturated color scheme for the look of the film which I suspect was done to make the CGI blend with the live action better. The anime also carried a similar color tone so it’s not out of place.
The explanation they give in the film for the Titans is interesting though, and it would have been great if the director had fleshed out that aspect more. As it stands, it seems more like an afterthought and just adds another subplot to an already crowded storyline. The third act of the film is rushed with an unclear resolution that seems tacked on. Overall, both halves of Attack on Titan combine to make a mediocre adaptation that could have been something special.  Come for the monster fights but don’t expect to be impressed by the plot.


-Michelle Kisner

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