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Gantz

A movie directed by Shinsuke Sato based on the hit anime series

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Fight To Live...Vanquish or Die....Again?

  • Mar 25, 2012
Rating:
+4
After the success of the live action manga adaptations of the “Death Note” (two part movie franchise that includes “Death Note the Last Name“), it would be a good move for producer Takahiro Sato to follow up on adapting manga-anime material. This time, he adapts Hiroya Oku’s manga series “Gantz” which was also adapted into an anime series. Along with director Shinsuke Sato, they have made a live action franchise divided into two parts ( review of Gantz: Perfect Answer here) just so they could incorporate as much detail into the live action films. I was a little skeptical about this “Gantz” project, since I didn’t exactly finish the anime series. But honestly, it seems like this new two-part film franchise is on the right track.



Kei Kurano (Kazunari Kamiya) is in a subway station when he spots a childhood friend, Kato (Kenichi Matsuyama) who is attempting to rescue a drunken man in the train’s tracks. Kei somehow ends up with Kato on the train’s tracks after rescuing the drunk man, and the two ends up in the path of a speeding train. The two then find themselves in a room full of strangers (that includes a naked woman named Natsuna played by Megumi Kishimoto) with a black sphere. Before they can grasp what he is going on, the group is whisked away to an unknown location with instructions to kill an alien life form. Seems like this is the beginning of a mystery; now armed with high-tech guns and a suit that enhances strength and speed, they must fulfill missions for the mysterious black sphere…until perhaps they can be set free.

The screenplay by Yusuke Watanabe and the direction by Shinsuke Sato does drive the film through a lot of foreshadowing, questions that may be answered and how a group of strangers may deal with a certain odd situation. It was wise for the film to go about this direction, as we see the situation through the eyes of three people. The viewer is taken along the mystery, that the more things they encounter, the more questions or answers are revealed. This way, the film is filled with revelations as well as they get to adjust to their mysterious situation.





Most of the film is all about the three leads finding things out for themselves as well as learning who they are. There are some nameless supporting cast, but they were there merely to provide a needed emotional sense of confusion and a feeling of urgency along the script. They weren’t so much as they were ‘fillers’ but rather they were necessary to develop the mystery. Much of the film takes Kei and Kato into the center stage, and the actors were able to connect with a form of chemistry. Their past gives them dimensions and allows the viewer to feel their fears and desires the more they go into peril. Main supporting casts are made up of Megumi Kishimoto (plays Natsuna) and Yuriko Yoshitaka (plays Kojima Tae). Natsuna’s character is more of a supporting one for Kato while Kojima is more of a link to the real world for Kei. No doubt, she will play a more vital part in the development of the story in its second chapter.

The film does have several sequences of action to keep things moving. One thing that I really enjoyed is how Kei was more able to adjust to the situation. He began to explore the abilities of the suit bestowed by the black sphere. It would come as no surprise also that Kei becomes more of the main protagonist, as with his more active personality and heroic side, he would have little qualms about facing down alien entities. It was nice to see the technology that makes “Gantz”. Living or dead, it was nice to see people slowly materialize, and the guns and the suits were very faithful to the look in the anime series. The film does look very cool, the atmosphere is done perfectly and the screenplay was kept at an even pace.





The action scenes started out a little slow as our characters adjust to their situation. The alien creatures come quite outrageous (there were four) and the more the group goes into these mission, the tougher their opponents became--both in size and strength. The effects were made of animatronics, make up and CGI, and they were pretty well rendered as they had a certain personality around them. Now the direction does not hold back in the violence and blood. I have to say, although the limitations of its budget somehow hampered its production, the blood effects were quite traditional and fitting to the film’s premise.

“Gantz” is a good first chapter to a two-part movie series. The rules of the sphere were slowly developed, and it perfectly sets the groundwork for the next film. I liked the way the mystery was developed, as it asked more questions rather than provide easy answers. It sets the groundwork for the final chapter with a "to be continued" at its climax. One thing is for sure, the coming resolution to all it had set up will not be pretty. It does set a pretty grim tone and potential for darkness in the coming sequel. I have to say, “Gantz” has gotten me interested and I am ready to see “Perfect Answer”. I hope that they will be able to wrap things up and come up with surprises and action galore.

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]
Note: Continue watching until after the credits.



           
Fight To Live...Vanguish or Die....Again? Fight To Live...Vanguish or Die....Again?

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March 28, 2012
I will be seeing this, lets hope the second part is just as good or better, can't wait for your review to let me know.
March 29, 2012
Thanks, Alex! review of the second chapter is now posted here
 
March 26, 2012
Hmmm...I think this looks kinda cool. But is the anime/manga a prerequisite? I'm only vaguely familiar with the title.
March 26, 2012
Oh no. You can easily get into this movie. It actually is better paced and competently written for the first chapter of a two part adaptation. I will be reviewing the second part by this coming weekend.
 
March 25, 2012
Good story and action pictures too!
March 25, 2012
thanks!
 
1
More Gantz (2011 film) reviews
review by . June 04, 2012
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You may not know this, but aliens are here.  They’re out to get each of us.  Whether it is our essence or our souls or our humanity, they’re bound to come for us, to take whatever it is they want from each of us, and there’s nothing we can do to stop them.  And, by the way … some of us?  When we die?  We don’t quite make it to Heaven or whatever serves as an afterlife.  In fact, some of us get hijacked and put into service on behalf of …
Quick Tip by . February 02, 2012
posted in ASIANatomy
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Based on the hit anime series from the filmmakers who gave us the fantastic "Death Note" live action adaptations, I am very hopeful to see this first chapter in the "Gantz" franchise. I am very curious as to how they managed to make the effects. I hope for a faithful rendition of the characters.      Full review coming soon.
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Director: Shinsuke Sato
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Foreign
Screen Writer: Hiroya Oku, Yûsuke Watanabe

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