I recently caught the live-action movie version of GANTZ (starring Kazunari Ninomiya & Kenichi Matsuyama)
last night at AMC Empire 25 Times Square. After watching the film, I have to say is that it’s a good movie, but there was more potential for it to be amazing.
GANTZ is a science-fiction action manga series that focuses on a “game” where people who died are mysteriously summoned by a black orb called Gantz and forces them to go on missions killing aliens. It is also a very violent series. It chronicles two young men, Kei Kurono & Masaru Kato, and their adventures killing aliens. The movie follows the same concept as the source material, but with multiple alterations. The violence was toned down, some characters were scrapped, and the main characters were in college or working (in the manga, they were still in high school).
movie did the manga some justice. The 1st part covered Volumes 1-8 of GANTZ. However, what was missing was the character development & edginess that made the manga the addictive series it is. Joichiro Nishi’s character was not really nihilistic as it was in the manga. He still acts like a prick in the film, but he doesn’t talk
about how humans are pathetic. Kei Kishimoto (Yes, she was naked in the film) wasn’t subjected to abuse in the Gantz room as she was in the man
ga. There was a scene between her and Kei Kurono and I bet some fans wanted to hear the “pet” reference (in the manga, she asked Kurono if she could become his pet). The only super-serious character development was a scene between Kei Kurono & Masaru Kato when they were happy to see each other, after the Tanaka Alien battle. It looked like they were about to make out. Those who saw the movie know what I’m talking about.
The action was done pretty well and the aliens looked nice. Apparently, the budget was $40 million for the two-part movie. The Gantz suits looked amazing & well-detailed. The weapons were very realistic.
The dubbing started out decent at first, but it grew to become very awkward & horrendous. Whose idea was it to dub the movie in English? It’s not really good and it doesn’t do the movie justice. The dub’s flow was very inconsistent with the actors’ mouth movements. Kazunari Ninomiya even said that he didn’t like the idea of dubs. If one of the
main actors has a concern, why don’t you listen to him and release the 2nd part in pure Japanese with subtitles?
Another thing to point out was the theme of the movie. They made it more of a positive, feel-good attitude (everyone has to make the most of life), when the manga has more of a pessimistic, survival-of-the-fittest feeling. I have mixed thoughts about this, but overall, it’s understandable that the theme has to be more cheerful because you don’t want to turn off movie viewers not familiar with GANTZ and you don’t want to give them a ending suggesting that humans are
nothing but selfish beasts.
As I said earlier, I did enjoy the film despite its shortcomings and I’m highly anticipating the 2nd part this April. It appears that the 2nd part will cover the development of the Tae Kojima/Kei Kurono relationship, the Tae Kojima mission, Seiichi Kikuchi (a character who investigates the Gantz incidents), the Vampires (my favorite characters
in the series), and possibly a variation of the Osaka storyline. Basically, Volumes 14-25 of the manga. The Vampires look pretty cool from the trailers.
Overall, Gantz is a movie that appeals to casual folks, but may detract hardcore Gantz fans. What did you guys think?