Monday, 30 May 2011


Gantz [Review]

Opinion: B

As out of this world and box this film is, which is based upon a popular manga series, it is still an intriguing and suspenseful genre crossbreed of action, horror, and science fiction. Enhanced by impressive visual effects and a mind-boggling premise, this film is certainly one of a kind where almost nothing can be anticipated, less you're a loyal reader of the manga series.

Summoned by the mysterious black sphere known as GANTZ, humans who are coerced into fighting an existence known as "seijin," aliens that take on various forms.

Protagonists Kurono (Kazunari Ninomiya) and Kato (Kenichi Matsuyama) find themselves in an outrageous situation which they cannot escape unless they exterminate enemy aliens. Kurono chooses to fight for survival while Kato refuses to engage in battle, rejecting the world controlled by violence. Kurono and Kato and the others sharing their fate are pushed to their limits as emotions collide. In their relentless battle against the aliens, what is the ultimate decision they will make in this absurd world?

For the record, I went into a screening of Gantz without any prior knowledge of the manga/anime series that it's based upon. This is fortunately or unfortunately, translated into a bizarre mind-boggling affair for me especially during the first half of the film.

Despite saying so, the curiosity within me grew exponentially and decided to pin my entire attention span onto the silver screen along with my two pairs of eyes (I'm bespectacled). The film decides to drop you off into the middle of weird happenings, akin to tumbling down the rabbit hole of no return, from the first supposed death to the witness of a gigantic black ball.

From suspense to mystery to riddling sci-fi action, this film takes almost every popular genre expectation and subject them to an amazing well-balanced mix that doesn't seem out of place at any point in the film. Mind you that the nerve-rattling graphic gory violence (a visual trait in the original manga series according to fans) in the second quarter of the film may be unsettling for some, but it serves its purpose by setting a dense tone for the audience to begin instilling a strong message. 

Think down the line of torture porn series SAW, it gets people reconsidering how precious life is and what death really beholds.


Getting people who lost their lives in the real world and coercing them into a gritty battle against aliens on a regular nightly basis sounds very much like SAW's jigsaw traps for the tested victims. Here in Gantz, one has to accumulate a hundred points by killing aliens before they get a choice of either erasing their memory and exit the Gantz regime, or to resurrect any player of their choice. This again sets humanity to a further test of moral virtues.

Gantz set them to fight to live, not just to live for themselves but in mind of others as well.

There's a subtle notion of how each of the characters later really pushed their survival instincts to the extreme not simply because of their desire to live, but rather the hope of surviving and getting to see their loved one again.

What SAW did gruesomely, Gantz did it through high-octane action sequences with a few memorable battles against a range of aliens. From the burly onion boy to the thousand arm Buddha, the creators of Gantz displayed their infinite realm of imaginations and allow them to go really wild.

As oddball Gantz may be to some, it is still relatively refreshing and of interest.

Kudos to good acting performance by Ken'ichi Matsuyama (of Death Note fame) and towards the second half, the surprising influential performance by Kazunari Ninomiya (of Letters of Iwo Jima fame). Ninomiya displayed a great example of a role shift between a protagonist and an anti-hero, to the extent that I only managed to determine his true stance towards the ending chapter of this film.


Do stay till after the end of the credit roll for the trailer of the upcoming second finale chapter - Gantz: Perfect Answer. From the looks of it, there's lots of potential for the film to score in the sequel much like the previous Death Note saga.

But we all have learnt of the common fate of sequels, so let's cross our fingers for this.


  1. I hated "Gantz". It was hideous and bored me to death.

  2. Hey George, true that not a lot of people liked it. Maybe it's the oddball factor that drew me in. Either that, or I'm the oddball. LOL!

    Thanks for your opinion share! :D


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