Director: Takashi Yamazaki
Cast: Shota Sometani, Eri Fukastu, Sadao Abe, Ai Hashimoto, Nao Omori, Tadanobu Asano
Runtime: 1 hr 59 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Violence and Disturbing Scenes)
Released By: Encore Films & Golden Village Pictures
Official Website: http://www.facebook.com/encorefilms
Opening Day: 15 January 2015
Synopsis: One Parasyte latches onto a regular high schooler, Shinichi, but he prevents it from taking over his mind and body completely. Instead, the Parasyte isolates only on his right arm. Shinichi cannot reveal his terrible secret to those around him, and during this time of turmoil, he developed a friendship with the Parasyte creature which he calls "Migi" ("Righty"). Before long, they begin to encounter other Parasytes that launch savage attacks against them and put the life of his childhood friend, Satomi, in danger. Things take a sudden turn for the worse. Shinichi's beloved mother is killed and taken over by a Parasyte. When the creature launches an attack on him, he has no choice but to kill her. It becomes a head-on war between two species- Parasytes and mankind. Are the Parasytes here to wipe us out to restore nature? Which specie ought to win? Amidst this conflict of values, Shinichi and Migi have no choice but to hurl themselves into the fight against the complex attack of the Parasytes.
Adapted from one of the most reread Japanese shonen manga which was crowned the best manga of the year in 1996, Parasyte is recently adapted into an animation series and live-action movies. Parasyte Part 1 is the first of two movies that is due to release. This imaginative sci-fi horror received a lot of hype and was under lots of pressure because of the loyal following of its original series. It was almost mission impossible to be able to remake manga author Hitoshi Iwaaki’s classic. However, many of these concerns became unfounded when the film was first shown as the closing film at 2014’s Tokyo International Film Festival.
Parasyte Part 1revolves around a story worm-like creatures, known as Parasytes, which enters a human body through the nostril or ears. It consumes the brain of the human host it inhabits and continues to feed on human beings while maintaining a human form. Shinichi (Shota Sometani), a regular high school student is different from the other victims. The Parasyte that entered his body was unable to reach his brain, and end up inhabiting only on his right hand (hence the name Migi, which means right). Migi first appeared as an eye on Shinichi’s palm and it was later known that the Parasytes can morph into many forms, including sharp blades and even a bow. These two learn to co-exist and help each other from the attacks of the Parasytes as Shinichi’s knowledge of them poses a threat to their survival in the human world.
The premise of having alien-like creatures invading the world is certainly not an entirely new concept. There had also been many sci-fi horror movies about freak creatures combining with the human body. What make Parasyte Part 1 stand out from the rest are Shinichi, the film’s relevancy and the Parasytes’ ability to learn.
Shinichi started off as being cowardly, fearful of confrontations and totally weak for battle. However after one significant turning point which he underwent a great deal of distress, he began to toughen up. Sometani aced his role as Shinichi and really brought his character to maturity towards the end of the movie when it was geared to the climactic battle.
The Parasytes’ ability to learn is the key reason why they could maintain their disguise well in the human society, which gives you the chills and goose bumps. They mimic human behaviors and infiltrate bureaucracies through the knowledge they pick up from observations, books and even the internet. The film adopts a dark sense of humour and takes this opportunity to ridicule many of our taken for granted social habits and norms through the standpoint of the Parasytes.
Some strict followers of the manga series criticize that the first half of the movie was quite packed and rushed through events. Some also say the creative adaptation of the source material killed the core of the story. Well, after all, the movie attempts to adapt and condense 5 volumes of manga material into 110 minutes. Even so, what is key for any movie adaptation is to serve a film that seeks not only to satisfy the fans, but to achieve a movie’s purpose to entertain and appeal to wide audiences. In this respect, Parasyte Part 1 achieved so and even successfully created a hook for its concluding movie.
Needless to say, there is a lot of blood and gore in the movie that not everyone would be able to handle. The visual impact intensifies the emotional and psychological struggles of the character which make it thrilling to watch. Packed with high quality CG, VFX and decent action sequences, Parasyte Part 1 did not disappoint. This sci-fi horror film may be a little extreme in its way of portrayal, but that's exactly the appeal of it.
(A gentle consumer advice: this is not for meat lovers. And do make sure that you've got a good sense of humour and an appetite for gore!))
Review by Tho Shu Ling