As the Gods Will

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  • Score: 7.6 (scored by 1,603 users)
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Completed
Ceki
16 people found this review helpful
May 31, 2015
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.0
This review may contain spoilers
If you are not a fan of Takashi Miike whose reputation is notorious (Crows Zero, Ichii the Killer, Audition and One Missed Call are just one of his most famous films and they are quite mild), then you should stay away from this film because it is simply not for everyone.

Just to make everything clear, I am not a fan of gore but I am also not the sensitive type. This film is a mixture of an over the top comedy and suspense. But there is also a lot of blood spurting from everyone and everything, so keep that in mind before deciding to watch the film.

The story is quite interesting and you will either keep nervously looking away or you won't be able to take your eyes off the screen. Besides the apparent craziness and 'trying to survive' chaos going around, there is actually a tiny amount of romance and friendship included, but don't set your hopes high, because this is a suspense and action film, not the romantic one.

The most prevalent theme is the one of survival, and that is why this film reminds me of Battle Royale. What happens when you know that the end is close, would you sacrifice the others in order to save yourself? Is there a limit to cruelty and fear in humans when faced to death and hopelessness? There are actually some really interesting themes that can be analyzed throughout this film.

When it comes to the cast, I am quite used to the Japanese extraordinary expressions so I did not find their acting cheesy and the actors were great. I would not recommend this for rewatching, simply because you won't feel the same after the first time and that means that you should prepare for some huge plot twists. The music is good too.
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* * * BEWARE NOW OF SOME SPOILERS * * *


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Still reading? I warned you. Curiosity killed the cat.
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I lied. I won't tell about the end, which I really liked :p But I will share some thoughts.

The survival game is apparently created by Kamisama (God) and his subordinates. And there are five parts:

1) Daruma - a symbol of perseverance and good luck, but now turns into a deadly Darumasan ga Koronda (Red light/Green light game).
2) Maneki Neko - a lucky charm, talisman.
3) Kokeshi - Japanese traditional dolls, tokens of friendship.
4) Shirou Kuma turns into an evil spirit from a Japanese legend.
5) Matryoshka - a Russian doll, the only element that is not part of Japanese tradition.

Each game tests different skills, but I find them fascinating because of their origin.
Anyway, I liked the film and all its craziness, go and watch it!

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Completed
Sakakibara
11 people found this review helpful
Nov 19, 2014
Completed 1
Overall 9.0
Story 10
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
First of all, I'm currently reading the manga and I'm a big fan of Miike, so I went to watch it with quite high expectations. Aaand it was good, really good.

The bad points:
- The dialogues sometimes were sooo very cheesy
- Sometimes the acting was a bit...er...too much

And now the good:
- the story is totally crazy and over the top, but it never takes itself seriously. Yeah, even all the people in the movie think everything happening on screen is absurd.
- same goes for special effects: you know it's not just badly done CGI, but something that was meant to be so cartoonish.
- there's some gore, but not too much to be unbearable (mind it, the movie is still far from family-friendly, but there's no Koroshiya Ichi-style stuff)
- good looking actors everywhere, everywhere!
- the characters get some backside stories without being overly dramatic
- you can never, never tell what's going to happen next.
- it's fast paced, funny and full of suspense from beginning to end!

All in all, it's a good take on survival games horror, and I am soo much waiting for a follow up! Not for the fainthearted but I would recommend it to everyone else!

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Completed
biniBningPunkista
5 people found this review helpful
Jul 26, 2015
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 10
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 9.0
I watched this movie by chance, and it was gruesomely mind blowing. The gore and the story line felt like I was watching Battle Royal and Kill Bill with bits of alien/game type feature running around the screen.

The first few minutes captured my attention due to so much red beads, blood spatter and corpses... that alone made me curious as to what kind of movie this was going to be because I had no idea what I was getting myself into. After watching up to the end, I realized how much violent and convoluted this film was, but I loved it nonetheless.

There was so many factors in which this movie captured my attention, but most likely it was the story line. A bunch of high school students, running around and trying to survive their circumstances was something that has always been interesting for me. Somehow, the actors and over all story-line made up for slightly lack of polish on the CG effects. Although I would understand that the way they made the CG effects was part of the plan, but I still wished it was more realistic. It would have been more awesome if that was the case.

Over all, the movie was great. Despite the cliff hanger ending and CG; I still would recommend it to watchers who are likely fans of gore and violent movies.

Hope this movie gets a part 2 as well!

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Completed
rei
3 people found this review helpful
Jul 30, 2015
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
What a brilliant movie. Brilliantly odd, I would argue. Chilling music and blood splashing everywhere? Definitely my kind.
I'm a survival games trash. As a viewer, I want to be challenged and left speechless, itching everywhere after the movie ends. And right now my mind feels really itchy.

Firstly, the plot. I had no idea this is directed by Takashi Miike (and I feel so ashamed for that, his movies are my jam). My pick was a simple — what the hell is this — and, now that I've just watched it, it updated to — what the hell was that. But the feel of the story, definitely quality, so familiar to my taste. At the beginning, I couldn't grasp what was going on. There isn't much explanation about what's really going on, and I think this way, it feels more heavy and challenging. But the plot blooms with the action, since it isn't just a simple survival rush. Wouldn't that be too boring?
I really enjoyed the symbolism, so witty and carefully linked to the plot and the characters. If I were to plunge deeper, I might spoil, so I won't do it. I assume some won't know what every survival game stands for, so if you don't, after (or before) watching the movie, take some time to browse about Daruma, Maneki Neko, Kokeshi, Shirou Kuma and Matryoshka. It will help you understand the movie way better (more like, get you to the intrigued but excited mood). I admit at first I didn't pay much attention to that aspect, because I was too busy grinning through the first game, but when I saw Maneki Neko, it hit me — wait, it's more than this.

The acting was neat, young and talented actors. Usually when I watch a movie (either Japanese or Korean), there are 80% chances a character would make me go — this actor doesn't suit them at all. In this movie, though, the feel of every actor matches the character. Amaya Takeru left me speechless, I mean, Kamiki Ryunosuke was a match made in heaven.
If it's survival, of course there's going to be blood. But oh, the gore displayed in this movie is just so damn hilarious and entertaining. Just like in Lesson of the evil. Unnecessary gore lefts me disappointed. And the music, on point - either thrilling, emotional or simply sassy. Such a classy combination.

Another great thing about this movie is the visuals. I wouldn't call them stunning, but neither poor; simply atmospheric. Japanese movies would either pull your soul into the screen or leave you internally crying, because it's just so hard to watch. Given the plot, this could have been a really, really awkward trip for the eyes, if the visuals were screaming failure. But it was truly fun and colorful. Each level of the game feels different. I can't type enough how good the atmosphere was.

So the blood, the music and the visuals, all knitted together to fit the psychological theme. The usual — who's the strongest? who's the smartest? are the kind ones the weakest? can trust be harmful? what qualities do you need in order to survive? is there a reason to survive? Personally, the relationship between Takahata Shun and Amaya Takeru kept me on my toes the whole time. It felt so interesting, exciting, but a little lacking. Maybe because I was expecting more? I don't know, but I wish it were more. We were given the challenge to choose (or not) between those two strong characters, but with no real closure to their real selves. What do they really believe in? How do they really see each other? Parts of them were displayed mainly through the games, symbolically, with dim peeks into their individual state. There are so many questions left unanswered and I can't help but fry my mind trying to find some hints. If that's what the movie wants, then yes, thank you, it will definitely stain my mind for a long time. Those plot twists and the ending caressed my soul.
There was so much going on, it would have been impossible to fill those holes without killing the fresh pace. And for that, this is what I call a very smart, wonderfully challenging movie. It's meant to leave questions behind, and answer as little as it can. I blame the wonderful Miike for this addictive feel.

The movie can't be rewatched for the thrill, but I would rewatch it more for the fun it manages to give. I recommend this to every thirsty brain out there. The dark humor squad would definitely enjoy this one, I assure you.

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Completed
1004_blue
3 people found this review helpful
Jun 17, 2015
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 5.0
Whoa. Not for the faint of heart.

I have not read the manga. I have not seen other Miike films. I have a fresh slate going into this movie, with nothing but the summary on this website.

The concept seems simple enough: death games to find the ultimate child of god. Emphasis on "death." This director did not hold back on the death. I got so uncomfortable watching some of those students die, especially the scene in the white cube (after the giant porcelain cat in the gym…). The games are clever, strategy-based games that make you think. You learn how to win the game as the characters (or more like with Takahata Shun as he seems to be the student with the highest IQ in the entirety of Japan's youth…) do, and it's impossible to tell who will survive.

I really enjoyed Fukushi Sota in this role; definitely easy on the eyes. Takahata Shun was intelligent, but also human, and you can see him evolve over the course of these games to be confident and daring enough to do everything it took to make sure as many people as possible survived. But the guy who really hit the nail on the head here was Kamiki Ryonusuke as Amaya Takeru. His character is enigmatic, and Kamiki really gets that… look… in his eyes and that sound in his voice that really sent chills down my spine and I really loved it when he was on screen.

The music is intense, and although I didn't really pay much attention to it, I realize now that I probably felt as nervous as I did because I didn't register the music as music… I'm not explaining myself very well here, but yes, it's very good at heightening emotional and intense scenes.

Overall, an engaging movie that made me want to find and read the manga. Be careful though; blood is not something this director is afraid of. There is gore. There are painful agonizing deaths. But the story is engaging, and not something you want to watch for giggles.

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Completed
Jianne
0 people found this review helpful
Feb 13, 2016
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 7.5
Directed by Japanese director, Takashi Miike who is known for its rather violent and bizarre films often uncensored films; this is the first of his works that I've actually watched (and I think it won't be the last).

Truth be told I did watch this because of Fukushi Sota, although it has an interesting and intriguing story. Japanese films are known for either its love stories, action and horror. Well, As the Gods Will being based on a manga, surprisingly is quite refreshing. Although the initial concept of teenagers fighting against each other for survival isn't new (Battle Royale/The Hunger Games), the idea of using children's games as a mean for the plot to take place is interesting and ironic at the same time.

While the movie has its fair share of gripping scenes, sometimes so violent that I had to avert my eyes, it's still one of the those films that have its typical tropes. Exhibit A: that one sadistic student that everyone should be wary of. Some cheesy out-of-nowhere lined romance (I get the purpose but really though...) and the fact that there wasn't much background to begin with left the story hanging, though it makes everything open-ended. I did love how it also took some risks...that surprised me.

As for the characters...they lack depth. I know it's a survival movie and we don't have time for that but in order to root for someone or at least feel a connection with the people who are fighting to live, we must at least get to know them. Fukushi Sota is such an eye-candy but his acting is still so mediocre. I did think that the actor who played the sadistic student was better. The CGI was okay...wasn't top-notch but wasn't too bad as well.

All in all, I think it's still an entertaining watch.

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