Attack on Titan: Part 1 and 2 [Shingeki no kyojin and Shingeki no kyojin endo obu za wârudo] (2015)

(aka Attack on Titan and Attack on Titan:  End of the World)

These two were, in fact, released as two separate movies, a little more than two and a half months apart.  But it is hard not to see them as a single movie – which is how they were filmed – particularly as the DVDs, despite being marketed separately, come with almost identical menus and design.

Seeing them back to back also emphasizes that they are parts of a larger whole, where  what looked like loose ends in the first film turn out to be important plot points for the larger story.

What we have here is one of the craziest Kaiju Eiga films ever made.  Perhaps “Battle with the Titans” would have been a better translation of the Japanese title, as the film deals with a post-apocalyptic future, where a mysterious race of giant creatures – who look like parodies of human beings – have forced what is left of mankind into a huge, walled city.

Part one starts with a massive attack by the creatures,.  It then spends most of its running time on a young group of soldiers and their mission to seal the gap in the wall left by that attack, which let the creatures into the protected farmlands around the city.  They are nearly wiped out in a massive battle with the Titans at the end of the first film – only to be rescued by an unlikely savior.

Part two takes a break from the action to give us a little more of the history of this devastated world, and to reveal a lot more secrets about what is really going on and where the Titans actually came from.  However, that is just a brief respite from the giant monster action, as it all ends with an incredible showdown between three of the monstrous creatures.

These are not your typical Kaiju, not by a longshot.  They look like naked human beings, except for their creepy, idiot faces.  They gleefully eat anyone they can get their hands on, with huge sprays of blood and body parts.  And yes, this is not a movie for little children, even if it might seem to the Western audience that anything with giant monsters on a rampage has to be for kids.  Here, the young soldiers would probably have made this yet another angsty teen “Twilight” rip off (and what red-blooded he-man type hasn’t thought, when his girlfriend dragged him to a sparkly vampire movie, that some giant rampaging zombies would really perk things up?).

But who cares whether it is dull enough to be “adult” when you’ve got giant monsters, swords, rockets, soldiers zipping along on harpoon lines they shoot out left and right, even bigger monsters, armored vehicles, bombs, arrows,  a white, 2001-style room complete with monolithic Wurlitzer Jukebox, and one, colossal,  flaming monster bigger than all the rest that towers over the wall.

It isn’t perfect, and maybe, despite the sinister secrets it reveals along the way, there isn’t a lot of “there” there.

But it’s still a hell of a lot of fun.

And what more can anyone ask from a giant rampaging zombie monster film?

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