Production year: 2010
Runtime: 130 mins
Director: Sato Shinsuke
Cast: Ninomiya Kazunari, Matsuyama Kenichi, Natsuna, Yoshitaka Yuriko
The elements that made the original manga series of Gantz so awesome, are the exact reasons why it wouldn't translate to screen. When the manga worked, it was hyper-violent, oversexed, extremely stylized superficial and pretentious sci-fi horror with the lead character being a sexually frustrated teen who wants some V, fighting unbeatable alien opponents with big-ass weapons and occasionally throwing in unbearably gruesome deaths. Underneath all of that, it highlighted the worst in people when put under extreme situations. It was a strong shot of vodka that left a stinging feeling in the throat.
On the other hand, the live-action film is a water-down version, which leaves you with a throbbing headache.
The plot of the film takes much of the edge out of the original. Instead of a horny teenager, Kurono Kei (Ninomiya Kazunari) is a college student looking for the right company to work at. When him and his old school friend Kato (Matsuyama Kenichi) are hit by a train whilst attempting to save a drunken guy who fell on the tracks, they are teleported to a sort of a purgatory like room with a giant black ball in the middle. They are given suits and weapons and told to kill aliens for points in order to restore their normal lives.
And that's pretty much it. Nothing happens beyond three set-pieces. You learn nothing about why they are in the room, nor anything about the ball, or anything about the aliens they are meant to kill.The film also cuts nearly all of the sexual tension of the manga that made teen boys giddy.
|A shame, cause Natsuna is HAAAAWT!!|
But what it lacks in depth, it tries to make up with the Japanese quasi-emo melancholy. Hooray!! Because when I go see a film about Aliens, I expect to hear a girl rat on about her ex-boyfriend and new guy she has a crush on (sarcasm)!! If you couldn't tell, I think the character development is terrible, especially Kei's character arc of normal guy to naive powerful guy to hero. You've seen it done before (and much better) in the Hollywood movies of yesteryear. It's not as if they had no time. It's 2 and a bit hours long! Who the hell can they blame!?
The cast is a bunch of the most famous and talented young actors in Japan. The lead Ninomiya is a superstar and was the lead for the Clint Eastwood film 'Letters from Iwo jima'. It's a shame that there is nothing in the script that they can work with!!
|Despite being 29, he is still unconvincing at even looking old enough to be a college student|
I don't understand who this film is aimed for. Avid fans of the original manga series will be outraged at how toned down the sex and violence is. Movie-goers who haven't read the read the manga would have no idea what the movie is about and would be unfulfilled by the lack of information. Fans of the actors (especially those crazy Nino-fans) would be upset at how much of a dick the characters are. I guess it's going for the brainless movie-goer who hasn't seen any film beyond 1995.
If you are not the aforementioned idiot, then I recommend you stay far away from this movie and go get The Avengers instead.