Gantz

By SentaiSeiya on July 13, 2013

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Welcome to another SentaiSeiya Live Action Movie review.

(SLAM review)

The story of Gantz kicks off with Kato and Kurono, two elementary school friends, whose chance reunion is abruptly interrupted with their unfortunate deaths. 

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But instead of finding themselves in the afterworld, Kato and Kurono instead end up in a small apartment, along with a group of strangers and a big black orb. As it turns out, the orb gives peope a second chance at life, albeit with some strings attached. During the day, these individuals are free to live their normal lives. At night, however, they are called upon to defend humanity from the alien threat humans are completely unaware of.

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Equipped with black body suits that give the wearer special abilities and guns that can cause a ton of damage, Kurono and the others have to eliminate various aliens for the sake of humanity and points. The black orb, known as Gantz, keeps track of how many points are earned by each combatant. If one of them can reach 100 points, then Gantz will grant them access to a special menu with two very special prizes.

The story of Gantz is very intriguing; although it may require the viewer to suspend their disbelief a bit. The gritty and sometimes gruesome fights move at a good pace, with each successive fight growing in scale. The three aliens featured in the movie aren’t the most original in terms of fighting ability. However, their design and use in the story proves to be very memorable.   My favorite alien is the 70’s-android-looking, boombox-loving, Waldo-shirt-wearing alien. Don’t let his retro look fool you; he can dish out some very deadly damage.

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Gantz is not all about fighting aliens. After the alien of the night has been disposed of, the team is allowed to go back to their normal lives.  During these parts of the story, the movie explores the lives of the individuals who survive the encounters with the aliens; the story focuses mainly on Kato, Kurono and their new acquaintance Kishimoto.

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If I may derail the conversation for a bit, Natsuna Watanabe is pretty damn hot in this movie! I had previously seen her in the Ranma ½ live action movie and that role didn’t sell me on her female form; which could be due to the fact that she was playing a manly girl in the special. But in Gantz, there is something about that black suit that makes her a hell of a lot hotter!

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Okay back to the movie. The story-centric parts of the movie feel a bit slow, and some even fell like they could have been left out to cut the running time of the movie down a bit. However, since this is movie only covers the first part of Gantz storyline, the scenes that feel expendable may prove to be key parts of the later story. 

 

The acting in Gantz was actually quite good! Kenichi Matsuyama, who played L in the Death Note movies and shin in Nana, does a good job playing the good-hearted Kato. On the other hand, Karunari Ninomiya really sells the progression of Kurono’s character. The rest of the cast also fit their roles well, though they are a bit less memorable, since their roles are less pronounced than Kato’s and Kurono’s.

Gantz isn’t all serious business. There are of well-placed humor pieces in the movie that help to lighten the mood.

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Surprisingly, the special effects in Gantz are very solid. There is no low-budget CG or special effects here. The mix of CG, wirework and costumes is so well done, that if it wasn’t for the Japanese actors and some of the story elements, you would probably think this was Hollywood production. Maybe it would not pass as a fancy big-budget Hollywood production, but i could see this being a smaller scale, well-handled  Hollywood  project.

 Gantz

Time for the verdict! Gantz is a SLAMming good time! Not quite a SLAM dunk, but there is enough action and story to keep you entertained during the 2+ hour running time of this movie.  I highly recommend this movie to fans of Japanese entertainment and sci-fi cinema alike.  For me this movie felt like a much darker, deeper take on the humans-fighting-aliens formula that made the first two Men in Black enjoyable.  Heck, this was WAY better than the third movie in the Men in Black franchise, which says a lot , since that had a lot of Hollywood power behind it.


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