Director: Shinji Higuchi
Cast: Miura Haruma, Hiroki Hasegawa, Mizuhara Kiko, Kanata Hongo, Jun Kunimura, Miura Takahiro, Sakuraba Nanami, Watanabe Shu
Runtime: 1 hr 27 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Violence)
Released By: Encore Films and Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 24 September 2015
Synopsis: Having transformed into an ultimate Titan right in front of everyone, Eren now faces suspicion and fear from the rest of human kind. He is held captive and tortured by his own kind, who demands to know the truth behind his ability to transform into a Titan. Just when he is on the verge of receiving a bullet to his chest, he is saved by yet another powerful Titan, one with intellect just like him. Shikishima tells Eren about his past, where he was used as a subject by his own scientist father, who injected Titan DNA (that triggers explosive cell divisions) into Eren’s body when he was still a baby. Eren then reunited with his friends and fought to plug the hole in the wall, only to be prevented from doing so by strong forces. Yet another twist occurs towards the end of the story as the protagonists’ ult imate nemesis---the colossal Titan that destroyed the wall in Part 1---appears and threatens again to wipe out what’s left of human kind. Numerous deaths and injuries follow, as Eren and his friends fight for honour and freedom and to reclaim what is rightfully theirs.
Now, the final battle begins as they give their all to restore peace in their homeland…
Attack on Titan: End of the World makes a great study piece for all film students- in terms of what not to do when making a film. Sequels are usually not terrific but Attack on Titan: End of the World takes the cake for being a terrible follow-up act to the first movie.
The plot is simple and continues from where the first movie. The squad, transporting explosives to blow up the upper part of a wall to create rubble to fill up the hole in the lower part of the wall, wants to carry on with this mission although all their explosives have been used up. Filling up this gap in the wall is pertinent to mankind’s survival against giant monsters known as Titans who can enter through the wall and feast on helpless humans. The simplicity of the plot – go on a journey fraught with danger to plug a gap in a giant wall- is not the failing of this movie. After all, many great movies had similarly simple plots. Case in point: The Lord of The Rings trilogy- go on a journey fraught with danger to get rid of a gold ring.
Rather than the plot, the movie screwed up (yes, screwed up) on almost everything else. The sole exception is the audio track which was the least distracting and strange thing about this whole movie.
In my review of Attack on Titan - Part 1, I mentioned how director Shinji Higuchi marred the movie with illogical context and character behaviour. In this second movie, he takes the lack of logic to greater height, displays great laziness and terrible direction, completely ruining this film. Practically every time there’s a need to further the plot, boom! somebody becomes a Titan and hey, we can carry on. Such a lazy way to move the story along results in the audience no longer viewing Titans as the scary human-eating creatures that they are but rather as giant fighting machines.
Higuchi’s laziness is also evinced in how he fails to develop the characters and their motivations. Towards the end, Captain Shikishima miraculously puts aside his extreme ideals and sacrifices himself to save Eren all because a minute ago Mikasa delivers a cliché line to him, questioning him about his inner wall. Rather than use the most logical explanation of Shikishima being Eren’s long-lost older brother to explain Shikishima’s sudden change of heart, Higuchi stubbornly holds on to his illogical bent and chooses to have the audience believe Mikasa has the hidden ability to change people’s minds with words (perhaps she escaped from the X-men franchise). The lack of character development proves extremely helpful to the audience who didn’t experience any anguish or sadness when characters die (and they do that quite a lot). The only character whose death might result in you feeling a slight tinge of pity would be that of Sannagi, portrayed commendably by Satoru Matsuo under a terrible script and equally bad director.
Satoru Matsuo and Satomi Ishirara (portraying Hans) aside, the acting is contrived. Eren is reduced to a character full of teenage angst who keeps crying out in anguish at everything that doesn’t go his way; Mikasa is a brooding girl whose sole expression is to look like she carries the weight of the world on her shoulder; Shikishima is a wannabe; Jean is basically a spoilt rich kid; Sasha behaves like a mute while Armin is just too much of a smart alec. The only bright sparks are Sannagi, a likeable big brother figure and Hans, a soldier obsessed with technology and weapons. Such consistently bad acting across almost the entire cast points to Higuchi’s poor direction.
Higuchi’s strange attempts to pander to yaoi (boys’ love) andyuri (girls’ love) fans of the anime and manga (ironic considering how he took huge liberty with the source materials) results in out-of-place scenes with homoerotic overtures. Captain Shikishima captures/rescues (depending on how you look at it) Eren and seduces him ideologically. At the same time, Shikishima’s hand wanders around Eren’s face, neck before finally stopping at his chest as he looks lingeringly at Eren, hinting at another kind of seduction. You see similar meaningful looks exchanged between Sasha and Mikasa as Sasha brings Mikasa flowers and offers her precious potato to Mikasa. What makes these scenes strange is not the homoerotic overtures but the fact these are very forced exchanges as prior to these scenes, there were absolutely no build-up or even hints that these ‘couples’ saw each other even as acquaintances let alone objects of desires.
There are also issues of continuity and awkward scene changes. Being bored by the horrible acting, I found myself noticing and wondering why the room where Shikishima and Eren talk about ideals abruptly transformed into a mini-beach completed with deck chairs and Eren and Shikishima wearing matching outfits. Eren’s complete acceptance of what seemed like magic only made the lack of continuity more obvious. Higuchi applies the same abruptness when, during a cliffhanger moment when the audience doesn’t know if Mikasa’s actions will end up killing or saving Eren, he chooses to cut to another scene showing that Hans lived through the collapse of a clocktower. While these scenes were weird, the most terrible scene was when Mikasa and Eren stretched out their hands towards each other in mid-air as rubble fell around them and they sparkled (yes, like Edward in Twilight did), resembling a photo with an badly chosen filter applied to it.
Despite how lousy this movie is, I’m sure it will reap a handsome profit thanks to a steady fan base. If there’s a third Attack on Titans movie, my advice is not to watch it unless there’s a change in director.
(I gave it 1.5 stars only because of Satoru Matsuo and Satomi Ishihara’s acting as well as the decent set, costume and audio design. Seriously, don’t bother watching this)
Review by Katrina Tee