GANTZ Live-Action Movie Blu-ray Review

GANTZ is a Japanese live-action movie based on the anime and manga of the same name. Adaptations are always a mixed bag, but one thing’s for sure, GANTZ is one of the better ones. I should have guessed so since it is from the same producers as the Death Note live-action movies, which were also good adaptations.

STORY
What I love about GANTZ is the unique plot. Imagine being brought back to life after death only to realize you are forced to play a dangerous game of hunt-the-alien. That is exactly what GANTZ is about. The story follows friends Kato and Kei who at the beginning of the movie get hit by a subway train and die. They are transported to an empty apartment room in a half-alive-half-dead state where they meet other dead people. The only thing in the apartment is a giant black ball called GANTZ that gives them orders to hunt aliens, and in reward achieve points to eventually claim their lives back.

ADAPTATION
Part of what makes GANTZ unique is the technology and equipment that the black ball GANTZ provides. These elements turned out great in the action film. Body scan transportation looked realistic and gave an x-ray view of the human organs. The skin-tight body suits were complete with blue lights and muscle enhancement features. Thankfully it didn’t look weird on the actors.

Another important element of the original GANTZ is the high level of violence and nudity. The movie turns down the violence level a few notches but still delivers suspenseful action sequences. No more flying heads and body parts but still a good amount of blood. Nudity is just about non-existent. Kishimoto’s famous nude transport scene will not show anything except rear and side body view. I felt the nudity in the original was excessive anyway, so the movie worked just fine without it.

The movie plot actually veers away from the original story but in a good way. I remember the anime carrying a very negative view on human life. Kei would always have negative thoughts in his head, labeling everyone as hypocrites. In the live-action film, Kei is portrayed as a hero making mistakes and growing into his shoes. Kishimoto is not as annoying and clingy as the original story, instead, she proves to be more valuable in combat.

PICTURE QUALITY
The Blu-ray provides crisp 1080p video throughout the movie. The DVD in comparison didn’t look well in low light scenes and the suits lost all detail in the dark night scenes. CG visual effects were surprisingly good for a Japanese live action. The aliens penned in manga are ridiculous looking, but the CG used on the aliens made them believable.

SOUND
TIP:  WATCH THE MOVIE IN JAPANESE LANGUAGE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES. I emphasize this because the English track does not do justice for the movie. The English voice acting did not capture the character’s emotions and the sound effects sounded unnatural and fake. To be fair, I think GANTZ is just one of those movies that requires subtle detail in sound which is very difficult to emulate in a post-recording studio.

Aside from that, the 5.1 DTS-HD sound comes out great. Kenji Kawai composed a riveting soundtrack that kept the pace up and suspense going throughout the movie (He is largely known for composing the Ghost in the Shell movie soundtracks).

CONTENTS
The Blu-ray release is a 3-disc set comprising of a Blu-ray movie disc, DVD movie disc, and an Extras DVD disc. The packaging is very straightforward with the discs. The extras disc was disappointing. All it had was a 30-minute interview with the director and movie trailers. I expected to see more behind-the-scenes extras, like interviews with the cast and in-depth look at the equipment, suits, and visual effects.

WRAP-UP
The producers and director Shinsuke Sato did a good job adapting the GANTZ storyline for movie release. Fans of the original GANTZ anime/manga and sci-fi action enthusiasts will enjoy watching this movie. The North American release date is set for August 30, 2011.

Reserve your copy now at the New People Entertainment website or at Amazon. A sequel called GANTZ: Perfect Answer aired in Japanese theaters last April. We should expect the sequel to be released in North America sometime later this year.

Pros: A good adaptation from anime/manga to live action with an improved plot. GANTZ suits and equipment are well done and look cool.

Cons: Horrible English dubbing and soundtrack. Lack of worthwhile extra features.

Grade: B+

Movie Trailer:

Source: New People Entertainment

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Jonathan Ofalla
Jonathan Ofalla 20 posts

Jonathan Ofalla works full-time in the video electronics industry. Besides being an Anime/Jpop/Jdrama fan, he is an MMA enthusiast and trains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. On his time off, he contributes to Nerd Reactor. <a href="http://nerdreactor.com/about/">Meet the Nerd Reactor Team</a>

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