I was thumbing through the local paper here in Austin, TX when I saw that a showing of Gantz would be playing at my local theater. Sadly, it was a one time showing and it would be dubbed. The names that appeared briefly in the credits suggest that the dub may have been done in Spain or Mexico. Either way, it was pretty terrible. The story follows two friends Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato. One day while waiting for the train to arrive, a homeless man falls on the tracks. Kato and Kei rescue the homeless man and end up dying, getting hit by the train. Following there deaths the friends are transported to an Tokyo apartment. There they meet others who had died that day, one in particular a girl name Tae Kojima. They all find out that they have been brought to room by Gantz. A man inside a black sphere. They learned that they will have to kill aliens and earn points for there freedom.
Based off the popular anime series of the same name, Kei Kurono is nothing like the character from the anime. I think that a lot of fans are going to debate this film, but movie was two hours long and covered a lot both anime and manga sides. A major difference I noticed also was that the action and sex is heavily toned down. The manga, after all, is famous mostly for how incredibly over-the-top it is in terms of violence, nudity, and the tendency to present humanity as being pretty reprehensible. However, I never walk into an adaptation expecting a true homage. Tom Hanks in Angels & Demons has been the closest to a true adaptation I have ever seen and that is expected since it was a big summer blockbuster. While I personally don’t like that they took liberties with the manga, I don’t see how that’s a valid criticism of the movie itself. So, at this point in the review we still have a solid movie.
This live action incarnation is a slightly mixed bag of sci-fi goodness for genre devotees. If you haven’t seen the anime TV series or the manga I would say read the manga from the beginning. That way you’ll really understand what the dark, twisted, cruel, ruthless, confusing, sci-fi story is about. Despite being dubbed into English, the actors did a fairly good job portraying their characters. It is hard ot judge this based on a dub, because for the most part, I have to go by facial features and character reactions and this has been diminished within the film to a large degree. While I did say the violence has been toned down, the violence that is portrayed is still very brutal and entertaining.
There are many mysteries in Gantz and I am more excited that the fact that it is playing in over 330 U.S. theaters then the actual movie itself. It seems Japan has caught up to us in terms of CGI and Asian films are getting recognized a lot more then they used too. The film is good, not great, but fans of the genre shold wait for a sub to get more enjoyment out of it. I also am aware I haven’t touched to much upon the storyline of this film and that is because as the film progresses little else about Gantz is revealed other than that by fighting aliens Gantz will award points by its whim. I can either judge this film as a stand alone or as a manga/anime adaptation, but whichever way you want to view the film, I can’t deny that it captures the frenzied nature of Gantz. The story ends at a very abrupt and frustratingly conclusion before we see what Gantz is truly capable of. All in all, this film is more of a trendsetter then anything else, and I am glad I was apart of the theater-going crowd on this one.