Hollywood Gantz Premiere Report

Ughhhh, I don’t want to start off another post by apologizing for my absence, but I’m sure all of you understand that I have gainful employment matters to take care of before I can post sometimes. Making my car payments and being able to pay for groceries is unfortunately more important than blogging. There WILL be more posts very, very soon and that is a PROMISE.

Last week I went to the Gantz movie premiere in Hollywood, which was also broadcast live across the country to other theaters. There isn’t much to say about the Hollywood premiere other than that Patrick Macias of Otaku USA hosted the event, there were tons of screaming fans for the stars of the movie, no one upheld the no photos policy and that Deb Aoki’s About.com article has much better coverage of the witty banter between the stars during the Q&A.

So now that it’s been almost a full week since the Gantz one night event and lots of people have already had their say, here’s what I think about the movie:

It shouldn’t have had Kazunari Ninomiya in it. For one, I’m not a fan of his acting. He was horrible in the live-action movie adaptation of Ooku: The Inner Chambers, where he had the emotional variations of a stone.(Seriously, half the charm of a Fumi Yoshinaga manga is the way she draws people’s emotions. Acting fail.) Gantz was better, but only because Ninomiya could smile like a creepster at the appropriate moments. Second, I’m pretty sure the fact that Ninomiya is a popular idol, singer and actor under the management of Johnny’s Entertainment is the reason why Gantz became a PG-13 summer action flick instead of the gory NC-17 mess it was supposed to be. Idols have carefully crafted images to maintain after all.

Admittedly, I haven’t read the Gantz manga yet and I didn’t go to the premiere expecting to care about the movie, but talking to Deb Aoki of About.com and flipping through a copy she had, I wanted the movie to have tits, gore and a dog in it. A dog. Who left out the dog? That was a bad choice and I am mad at them.

Which brings me to the point that watching the movie did make me interested in the manga. I managed to get past the bad dubbing, where the leads sounded like ESL students and all the background characters sounded like they were from the Bronx, and see the enjoyable movie that lay beneath. I probably would have been creeped out to death by guts flying everywhere in movie form, but in manga, I find that kind of stuff bearable. There were also some really great aliens that the people under the control of Gantz (that big black ball, in case you didn’t know) had to face. The first set, ugly looking aliens with green hair weren’t all that great, but the second alien was a smiling plastic robot with a boom box who made great faces despite the whole plastic face thing. The third was a set of possessed Buddhist statues that had the essence of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who at first, sneaking up on enemies while they weren’t looking. Also the idea of a giant Nio or thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara statues as villains is just cool to me.

In essence, Gantz really just committed the same error a lot of action films have–not leaving enough time for the audience to care about the characters, why they’re fighting and how they die. I’m not entirely sure why this happens, since I’m pretty sure a normal scene developing the characters must cost a lot less than a CGI-ed action scene, but the attractive actors will spur movie-goers into shelling out the cash anyway.

So in other words, Gantz is an entertaining movie. But if you’re a die hard fan of the manga, you’re going to be disappointed by the cheesy idol flick. If you’re an idol fan, then you’ll be just fine. Everyone, wait for the DVD release because the subtitled version should be better than the dubbed premiere for sure.

And sorry idol fans, but Kenichi Matsuyama, the other star of the film, is so much more fine than Ninomiya.

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5 Comments

Filed under manga, news, opinion, reviews

5 responses to “Hollywood Gantz Premiere Report

  1. I thought it was funny how both the actors also almost-dissed the dub afterward :)

    My SO, who is a huge Gantz fan, and I were also disappointed at the lack of dog.

    • It *was* pretty funny. I mean, they tried to be so nice about it, but it was obvious they would have preferred subbed too.

      There should have been a dog, no question. But clearly this was not that kind of movie and we were expected to take this thing too seriously. I haven’t even read the manga and I wanted the movie to be more like the manga. What does that say about it?

      • I don’t even think it necessarily had to be more like the manga (and I’m glad it wasn’t in some respects, because the manga can be terribly exploitative of its few female characters), but it had to decide on a tone. I couldn’t tell exactly how serious you were supposed to take the whole thing, and so ended up laughing about it more often than not. (And the dub really really didn’t help!!!!)

        The other thing I really liked from the anime was a snappy, upbeat theme song. Maybe it’s just a personal preference, but the doom-and-gloom Final Fantasy-esque soundtrack didn’t do it for me.

        • Well, I certainly can understand that, but it killed the personality of the movie by making things so clean. -sigh-

          I had a huge time taking it seriously and but I felt that they wanted us to take it seriously. I got the feeling from the manga that while it was deep & dark, it didn’t take itself so seriously at times.

          Um, but the dub. Why were the main characters’ voice actors fresh-off-the-boat Asians? Not to be rude, but I thought it was a little weird/racist to cast VAs who sounded like they barely spoke English for a film like this. But I guess they weren’t too concerned about quality with THAT dub. -_-

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