As the Gods Will is a rare and strange treat. It is, as other reviewers point out, a combination of Saw and Battle Royale with delightful humor and gore sprinkled throughout. I have to agree with that statement; this film delivers. It is weird but the type of weird that you'd recommend to other viewers who'd want to watch something totally different and refreshing than what we get in our cinemas nowadays.It is absolutely intriguing; even from the start. It is the type of film that hooks you with its opening scene and just makes you guess all throughout the entire duration period, even up to the last minute. There are brutal games that follow one another as we watch this and the manner in which its played is truly creative and imaginative; a feast for the eyes and the senses filled with everything you'd possibly want in a Miike film. Even the gore was done well. The slashing heads and dismembering; some done in a comedic way while others in a dramatic or suspenseful fashion. This film is the one that blends in dark humor; I'm usually very coy about that since most of the time it isn't done very well and comes off as being unrealistic. In here, I believe it's handled perfectly. The gritty gore is complemented by the humor, not a joke pulled off by a character (that will just honestly be strange considering the situation they're in) but because of the bizarre and outlandishness of it all. This film truly has charm amidst the deadly games, I'll admit that.The only thing I'm picky about with this film is that I think they showed too much with the CGI. Personally it would've been better left off just because our minds would have a perfect imagination of some things this film tries to convey but instead it's shown and I wished they hadn't. I would've plucked some scenes out so that the viewer would be left to imagine how it'd look like for themselves. Besides that, As the Gods Will is a delightful and a refreshing film. It certainly plays with the supernatural and has a little bit of everything sprinkled throughout. It is nihilistic in nature and chooses to stay like that for the entire film which increases its charm. It's a rare film I'll say, something that's memorable for its peculiarity. It works here entirely.
This film manages to butcher the source content such that readers of the manga would be baffled by the decisions of what was omitted as well as the large amount by which the movie strays from the source material. The movie feels like the writers decided to stick to the source material faithfully for the first half, then give up and write the second half drunk while being narrated by a five-year-old. The film seems to tease a sequel yet the butchering of the material in the second half basically eliminates the possibility. (unless they reboot or do a film of the second manga instead.)In addition, the film also fails to provide a proper standalone package through the inclusion of unnecessary element such as Enokida Takumi, who gets surprising amounts of character depth even though he contributes nothing but confusion to the film.Personally I find that the film over-complicates the killing methods, choosing strange and "creative" killing methods (red marbles? really?) over the source material's straightforward blow- off-a-head-or-limbs-with-projectiles-or-lasers-and-let-the- associated-gore-fly approach.
WOW! This is NOT my normal fare, let me tell you. Normally I would cross to the other side of the 'street' rather than watch many of Takashi Miike's films. BUT... I had indeed kind of braced myself for a bit of a cartoony gore-fest, although that is NOT my first choice in films. But, this premise was SO damn WAAAAAAAAY OUT there, that I just had to check it out.Man, I truly do not know where to start... I am still kind of reeling a bit from the film, which I JUST finished. Well, firstly, it was not really that realistically gory or graphic; it mostly had a more cartoon-like vibe to it. And, regardless of the director's NOTORIOUS proclivity for extreme, sadistic violence (thus my normal avoidance of his films) this one honestly came off as not really that explicit or 'Real'. Other films of his where he has actual PEOPLE doing horrific, REALISTIC things to other people, I wouldn't come within 100 miles of, but based upon the extremely Fantastical premise, I figured that this would not likely be another one of his super heavy-handed Sadist- fests, and it truly wasn't.YES, the basic premise of what these 'Gods' are doing to these students is of course in principle quite terrible. But, that really wasn't the point of the film; the primary focus was NOT just a big set-piece for a bunch of gory deaths, although those do happen, but for most part, with a couple of exceptions (where I did FF a bit) they were not graphic or overly explicit.At the end, without giving anything away, you are left with a feeling that there are more layers to this than seems evident on the surface. As a matter of fact, the last minute or two actually left me kind of puzzled because I didn't quite understand what exactly happened (so I will be frigg'n LIVING on discussion boards until I find that out!) One underlying level of the film is fairly apparent concerning the one fellow learning to appreciate the life that he has (sort of a Psychedelic, Acid-induced 'IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE' by way of Takashi Miike) But, even beyond that there are other things touched upon and quite unexpectedly thought-provoking.So, I can fully understand how some here (3/5?) who are likely VERY hard core Miike fans, would be BITTERLY disappointed that this is NOT one of his usual more horrific and sadistic films, and probably just find this one totally Stupid. Understandable... BUT... for me, NOT a usual fan of Miike, heh... what I would call by comparison a 'Normal' person (using the term VERY loosely) I think the movie if you give it some thought, actually is more intriguing and entertaining and surprisingly thought-provoking than what might appear at first glance.So, I would say that if you are a hard core Miike fan and you really LIKE his usual hard core stuff, than this film will probably leave you flatter than Chaz Bono. BUT... If you like your Horror films REALLY Imaginative, and you aren't just looking for a bunch of torture-porn sadism, and if you can be patient and give the movie some thought, I think that many people will definitely come away from seeing this with several different feelings and levels that the movie touches in you that you would not expect...
Based on manga with the same title, Kamisama no iu tôri (As the Gods Will) is a story of average high school students forced to play a series of deadly games. Takeshi Miike who has proved capable with such theme is the perfect pick to create a fascinating, occasionally humorous and gory live action of the manga. He has a distinct stylish visual, timely touch of horror and a proper respect to the original source.For such grimly movie, the cinematography is very sleek and cool. Viewpoints from above and panoramic shots are used often to set the ambiance. Visual offers bloody gore with mildly tone down violence. For the part of full blood pool of the manga, this movie counterpart uses a more comical effect yet without neglecting the intensity of the scene. In fact Miike, as expected, produces a couple of nasty gruesome sequences of his own.Humor and philosophical elements are steadily present. The first half sees more comedy for ironic purpose, as the story progresses and the death dealing intensifies the tone tends to be more serious. The movie has taken the liberty of creating more appropriate screenplay for later games. This is due to the fact that it might become overly complex for a feature length movie to display later arcs, and frankly it's not a cause for concern as the new screenplay is still presentable and keeps all the thrilling attributes of the manga.Miike has a knack for the unassuming shift of tone, as seen from Crows Zero and 13 Assassins. Sometimes the movie would transition from quiet scene to a rather explicit one. It doesn't venture into dark territory too much, but it does warrant a mature rating. If there's any concern, it's that the nature of the games is highly inspired by Japanese culture, this might create a rather awkward narrative at some points though it's only a minor hindrance.Equally quirky and disturbing, the myriad of bizarrely captivating games of death is brought to live by Takeshi Miike.