Hi! It's been a while again. YOU KNOW I'VE GOTTA DO IT THO XD
Alita: Battle Angel is out! It's great! You should go see it! It's really fun. The CG can be a bit obvious sometimes so I'd recommend seeing it in 3D if you can, just to take that edge off. Some of the grotesque cyborgs looks particularly dodgy, but for me that just adds to the charm of it. Alita herself is fantastically realised, the Big Eyes thing doesn't really factor into it after the first few minutes, Rosa Salazar kills it with her performance and I stopped seeing Alita as CG very, very quickly.
I feel very, very lucky to be a fan of this weird, obscure manga and not only have it NOT butchered and neutered, but realised in such a meticulous and ...expensive... way. you can tell James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez are fans, all the bits are in there that you want, including nods to later volumes. I definitely saw some nice references to Ashen Victor, and I'm pretty sure there were some references to some Last Order stuff too. It feels like they went through the manga and the anime, picked out all the great bits and made sure they happened, even if they had to bend a few bits to fit. And for me, I really enjoyed and appreciated the changes that were made. The spirit is still there, the core of schlocky violence crossed with unapologetic emotion is definitely front and centre to this movie. The manga and anime were the gateway to comics for me, and honestly changed the direction of my creative life. I would never have got into comics or made comics without Alita's influence, so seeing all this on screen 20 years later, mostly as I imagined it 20 years ago (?!!) is such a trip.
I think that's what stands out to me about this; it really feels like it came from another time. The CG and effects and direction are all modern, but the story and violence comes from 80s/90s, 2000AD style pulp. And it commits hard, there's no Marvel style wink to the camera that says "yeah, I know, this is a bit silly, isn't it?". I don't think you can watch it ironically and still enjoy it, it doesn't really give you permission to. You're either up for it or you're not.
But if you ARE up for it ...AAAAAAAA!!! How good are the fight scenes?! There are so many! I really liked how the action scenes played out like the manga; there was a great sense of story within the fight and choreography. The feel of the movie, the cartoony, borderline horror, censorship skirting violence that both leaves things both to the imagination, but then shows someone's head kicked into a wall. It's visceral, straight ahead fun with rockets attached (literalllllyyyy oho). The design of the characters and the world all look so nice. And how great is Rosa Salazar? She nails Alita's personality, convincingly going from a fresh faced innocent to the warrior that enjoys the rush of violence a little too much.
I DO NOT STAND BY IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL!
haha! Who says shit as cool as that anymore? So awesome.
My friend Michael said it best I think; it's a great remix. And I think it's also the best anime/manga live action adaptation I've ever seen. And I'm so, sooo happy that it also happens to be based on my favourite.
Spoilery thoughts ahead!
- Hugo's actor ... could have been better. Or grubbier. Or both.
- I was wondering how the'd do Ido's rocket hammer. I really liked it.
I bet he makes a mean creme brulee
- Chiren's... brain?! I nearly cheered when I saw that haha, THERE'S BRAINS IN A JAR! But I'm not sure it makes sense given the rest of the story in the manga though...? HMMMM!!!
- No Blue Oyster Cult references that I could see, which is a shame. -¿-
- Nova's takeovers were cool as fuck, and totally the kind of thing he would do. Loved that.
- Makakku's wiggy worm body made me laugh, it was great. They called him the anime name though, that I can't remember. Interesting how the translation seemed to be taken more from the anime than the Viz translation. Zalem!
- I didn't like the new Deckmen. The manga ones were gross and funny, the new ones reminded me of optimus prime's "face" XD
- [Visits idyllic lake in the the desert with plants and a waterfall 10 minutes drive from Iron City] well why the fuck don't you live THERE then
- The mars ship was wicked though.
- Also loved that they kept saying it was URM
Was that in the manga? Or was that new? It's so dumb I love it.
- Also dumb as hell; the pressurised water-wall around the city was never explained and looked cool as shit, and I'm glad for both of those points XD
- The rat-cleaners on the pipes were scary as fuck! The anime did those really well from what I remember, but this movie one-upped it.
- I found the "Hey wait she's older than we thought" bit a wee bit creepy, in a not good creepy kinda way. I get that she ages-up in as a character at that point, but I think that could have been done better. "OMG she has boobs now" is a part of the 80s/90s that should have left behind I think.
- it's weird how different things hit me harder in live action than in the comic. Alita's dismemberment followed by the flip-and-stab was way more affecting, and fucking awesome, than I thought it was going to be. The F-bomb probably helped.
- I loved that barfight so much. The feeling of weight fluctuates throughout the film, but that fight was really nice and crunchy
The kicking of the glasses! They did it!!
- Sorry... buuut... I can't help but wonder if they made Alita's eyes smaller, if it would have made it a bit more palatable. I mean, I got used to it quick, but there were a couple of moments when I just wondered if there was some anime-nerd-waifu going on there. The only advantage I can think of of that creative decision was that some of the flashbacks with other characters also like that looked EXACTLY like Yukito Kishiro's artwork, which was amazing!
But other than that... was it worth it? I kinda get that they couldn't *just* use Rosa Salazar's face, given how all the other faces looked so stuck on and Alita didn't; but they didn't seem to have as big a payoff of her having those huge eyes. It just needed a "they're so big so she can see in space", or "huge eyes on these 300 year old models!" something like that. I don't hate it... and I think it works well for what it is, but I was hoping there would be an explicit reasons rather than implied ones.
- which reminds me, oh man, moon-fighting!!! MOON FIGHTING!
- I also really loved the ending. Holy shiiiit! So great when the logo came out. I kinda hope they'll make a sequel as I'm interested to know where it goes from here given how they've bent the story around. But also I'm perfectly happy to leave it there, I got what I wanted!
I feel like I've been lucky enough to get this, I almost don't want to push my luck with a sequel. XD
- I've seen it once. I'm gonna watch this as many times as I can, in 3D, while it's still out.