Friday, July 22, 2011

Jmovie review: Gantz

Gantz is one of my favourite mangas. Its is a story where people who have died are called to participate in this life or death game whereby they have to kill aliens within a certain time frame and the only way out is to score 100 points. Someone who reaches 100 points can also choose to resurrect someone or gain a more powerful weapon. What makes the manga so fun is not the violence and nudity but rather you grow very attached to the characters and anyone in the story can and will probably die. The other thing is the sense that anything can happen.

The famous image from the manga. Hhmm, where's the dog that liked to lick Kei?

A lot of things in the manga just don't make sense and you wonder whether the mangaka is putting story elements in for fun or does he actually have an explanation for everything? Its a manga where ultimately, its quality will be judged by how well the ending can tie everything together.

Somehow Watanabe Natsuna's face doesn't fit Kei's.

Gantz, I am happy to say is a pretty good action movie. Of course Battleship Yamato makes every action CG movie look good but I am quite impressed that the makers of Gantz did not fall into Yamato's pitfall. If the movie were to follow the manga, the cost for a movie would be at least $100 million dollars. The manga has action scenes that only a combination of Michael Bay and Takashi Miike can dream of.

This view however, matches her character as Nino sits and contemplates the meaning of life.

Gantz the movie has probably didn't even have Yamato's budget so they had to rework the story to fit its budget and the film makers did the smart thing. They tried to minimise the use of CG throughout the movie and save it for the big finale. Even then, they would use more reaction shots. Yamato did the opposite and blew its wad in the first 10 minutes of the movie.

Yoshitaka Yuriko knows how to overload her character with enough sweetness and kawaiiness to give me a heart attack.

Such sacrifice does affect the story as well. Only the two leads get to see any action Kurono and Kato get to see any action which is kind of sad as it gets rid of the team feeling from the manga. One of my favourite characters, the ojisan is in the movie but he does nothing whereas in the manga, he is an awesome supporting character. He does get to say his famous line from the manga though.

This is not the manga Gantz. There is no way that they can do anything close to the manga with their budget. The best way to enjoy this movie is to think of it as a Gantz story set in an alternate universe. The one thing missing in this movie for me is that Kato never really got to show his leadership skills. I also liked how they raised the characters' ages. The downside is that we lose Tae's lolitaness but Yoshitaka Yuriko does her best bringing forth Tae's innocent qualities.

Looks 10 times better than all the crappy CG in Yamato and 20 times more exciting.

Nino is the one Johnny who can act and he does an awesome job as Kurono. Kenichi Matsuyama didn't impress me but that's more because Kato was whining and crying all through the movie without showing the leadership and self belief that he had in the manga. Not to hot on the actress playing Kei though. She didn't have strong screen presence and there are plenty of more attractive actresses/gravure idols with a more Kei like bust size.

I hope this Aisha ad was not done merely as a nod to the Reika character.

There is of course a to be continued ending and it seems that the second movie will take a very different route from the manga. I bloody hope that Reika is in part 2. My hats off to the makers of the first movie. A really think they did as good a job as they could have. I was impressed by the action and CG sequences. Storyline sacrifices had to be made but I'll always have the manga. Bring on part 2!

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