When Guillermo del Toro crafted his modern kaiju picture Pacific Rim, he repeatedly stated in interviews that 19th century painter Francisco de Goya's "The Colossus" was a huge influence on his work. In case you've never laid eyes on the iconic piece of art in question, here's a quick glimpse at all the big naked man butt it bestowed upon civilization:
GDT obviously wasn't the only artist inspired by Goya's sense of scale and overwhelming apocalyptic foreboding (a conflicted conscience during wartime will do that do you), as the popular Japanese manga Shingeki no Kyojin (or: Advancing Giants) directly references this big, nude destroyer of worlds (not to mention Goya's Saturn Devouring His Son) via its own towering, skinless beasts. Written by Hajima Isayama (beginning in 2009), Advancing Giants went on to be known as Attack On Titan as it spread to the West, where it became a massive hit (despite of its rather upsetting subject matter) spawning an anime series, novel, videogame, and live-action spin-offs.
Bathed in blood and memorable for its shocking violence, Attack On Titan finds the planet completely decimated, and humanity has retreated into medieval-styled cities protected by huge stone walls, following the emergence of the Titans, a race of mindless, ravenous giants that eat the fuck out of everything they see. Humans are tasty, as is everything else that stands in their path and holds flesh to its bones. For those looking for meaning, the Titans (which all sport these hideous, Joker-esque, toothy grins) could represent anything due to how random their attacks are: namely the cruelty of God, war, natural disasters, or anything in-between. Of course, the human element is what Isayama mainly focuses on, as they attempt to find ways to combat and take revenge on these shambling, horrific creatures (which, at first, are not explained at all).
Attempting to imagine Attack On Titan in any sort of live-action form seems like a near impossibility, as it's the type of work that lends itself much more to still art and animation. However, that's never stopped Hollywood from trying to adapt something previously deemed "unadaptable"; in fact, a studio re-imagining of the property has been in the works for years. Toho even released their own two-part version in 2015, which wasn't great. For those who've never seen it, here's the trailer, which (understandably) promises a much better experience than the actual movies did:
Now, American cinephiles are going to have their own live-action take on Titan, as red hot IT director Andy Muschietti has been hired to helm an adaptation for Warner Bros. David Heyman (of the Harry Potter franchises) is producing the film with Masi Oka (Mega Man) and Andy’s sibling creative partner Barbara Muschietti (IT and Mama). No official word on who's going to pen (or star in) this new English language redux, but we should probably expect an announcement on that soon.
So, what to make of this? Well, it could be awesome in the most literal sense, because if Muschietti can nail the revolting carnage and images Titan is known for, then we could be in for one hell of a time at the multiplex. On the other hand, Hollywood has never been known for bringing Japanese properties to life with any sort of success (just look to last year's horrid Ghost In the Shell movie for the most recent example), so this could be a major misstep for Muschietti if handled incorrectly.
Personally, this writer hopes for two things:
- No white washing casting controversies (this seems like a no brainer, but let's not hold our collective breath)
- Muschietti's box office success lets him off the leash and able to play visually with the size and scope of the property at hand
Of course, this isn't the first anime adaptation the Muschiettis have been attached to, as they were supposed to bring us Sony's long-in-the works Robotech movie. This trend ostensibly tells us that Muschietti is passionate about this type of material, and should be bringing that love to whatever the finished product ends up being.
Stay tuned y'all. We're definitely going to be watching this one closely.