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    Default Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    So this happened.

    To be clear, this is my childhood up on that screen. Battle Angel Alita was one of the first mangas I read, and if my interest in Ghost in the Shell from last spring was academic at best, this strikes at the center of my heart. I don’t watch a movie in theatres every year, but this one is a certainty.

    There’s the issue of the eyes. I personally actively like them: they make Alita look very similar to the source material, they are appropriate for the setting as she’s constantly getting called a “doll” and underestimated, and they of course serve to narratively make her look “fake” and plastic. But I can see why some would find it ugly. Fair enough.

    I see this as an excuse to reread the manga and get hype, but I do wonder if this will be another Ghost in the Shell. Alita’s world is deep, but I do think Hollywood can focus on the coming of age aspect of her story without losing too much of that in the transition to the much more limited movie format. Ghost in the Shell was a seminal classic with philosophic undertones, while Battle Angel Alita is more direct. Also, it’s James Cameron, which isn’t an automatic win for me but at least it’s promising.
    Last edited by Weimann; 2017-12-12 at 04:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Obligatory mention of THOSE EYES.

    The trailer looks better than Ghost in the Shell. Mind you, I don't think the recent GitS adaptation was a bad movie (it was okay), only that it was a bad Ghost in the Shell movie. This looks much more faithful to the source material.

    I am cautiously optimistic.

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    So far it looks artificial, dirty and intense.

    Ergo like Alita should, so: optimistic. :)
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Weimann View Post
    I see this as an excuse to reread the manga and get hype, but I do wonder if this will be another Ghost in the Shell. Alita’s world is deep, but I do think Hollywood can focus on the coming of age aspect of her story without losing too much of that in the transition to the much more limited movie format. Ghost in the Shell was a seminal classic with philosophic undertones, while Battle Angel Alita is more direct. Also, it’s James Cameron, which isn’t an automatic win for me but at least it’s promising.
    I remember Cameron saying that he saw the Avatar series as being more urgent, but I actually think Alita has a lot of sociopolitical subtext regarding economic divisions exacerbated by transhuman science, which don't think even GitS quite explored in the same way. It'd be a shame not to pick up on some of that. I always found the series most charming when it was wriggling in the muck and squalor of the desperately poor in a world with technologies that could theoretically solve their problems overnight.

    Like Elysium, only not terribad. So yeah, I'm torn about whether the googly eyes are a sign of (A) consciously trying to represent the material faithfully or (B) glomming onto superficial aesthetics as a marketing ploy. We shall see.
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    While Alita's eyes are disconcerting, it may be intentional to reinforce the fact that her body's not human. Not enough information in the trailer to really tell on what they're aiming for.

    On the other hand, the Panzer Kunst martial arts looks spot on, in terms of both speed and brutality - Alita counter grabs the guy by his neck strut before slamming his head into the table.

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    I like the idea of the eyes, Ill give them points for that.






    I will still be nothing short of dumbstruck if I go into that theater and Cameron managed to get over himself enough to not make sure that I come out unable to see anything other then the color red, because it's Cameron and as far as I'm concerned he's been a blight on cinema for decades now.
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    I get that the eye thing is intentional...but man does it look bad and distracting. I don't think I could get past that and enjoy the movie.

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    It's been a while since I read the manga but this is recognizably BAA, visually. I would have gotten that even without being told what it was (or accused this of plagiarism it it wasn't BAA). The eyes freak me out but that's probably intentional. Still better than chimeric mess that these sheep have.

    I'm cautiously optimistic, and Rodriguez can be a quite good director. Let's hope he knows how to handle a budget this big. Anyone want to comment on possible whitewashing of Ido Daisuke?

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    Anyone want to comment on possible whitewashing of Ido Daisuke?
    Is...is that character not supposed to be white? Because that character looks straight up Germanic. How do you "whitewash" a white skinned blonde man? And why would anyone care about it?

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    Anyone want to comment on possible whitewashing of Ido Daisuke?
    You mean the blond white man from a culture where everyone is white being played by a brown haired white man?

    The people making this criticism are generally people who don't know the source material.

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    I get that the eye thing is intentional...but man does it look bad and distracting. I don't think I could get past that and enjoy the movie.
    Have to agree, especially considering that everyone else's face is normal, which makes Alita stand out as this bizarre digital creation in every clip. Which is something that wouldn't happen if this was say, a completely computer generated animation production and everyone was like that. It also raises weird questions as to why her face is different from everyone else's, which - and admittedly my memory of the source material is really vague - strikes me as completely missing the point.

    There have been a number of other digital face/body renderings that have been put on screen recently, and none have been really considered a success, and many have been colossal wastes of money. Notably the whole mess with Superman's mustache. How much money did they spend to give Alita anime eyes? Ten million? Twenty? And how many better uses could a film like this have had for that money?
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    There's an interview where the directors talk about the eyes. Interestingly, instead of talking about them as a sign of artificiality, or even wanting to stay close to the canon appearance of Alita, they stressed the choice as an homage to the manga medium (and as a way of conveying emotion effectively). I'm personally more inclined to see them in the light of the particular source material (where they do have a place) than as a stylistic choice for manga adaptations in in general.
    Last edited by Weimann; 2017-12-13 at 07:37 AM.
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    I get that the eye thing is intentional...but man does it look bad and distracting. I don't think I could get past that and enjoy the movie.
    I also agree with this. Certain CGI effects can make it hard to immerse yourself in a story. The uncanny valley factor here looks like it would make the movie very hard for me to enjoy.

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Agreed that the eyes are distracting in a bad way, but everything else looks on POINT!
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Metahuman1 View Post
    I will still be nothing short of dumbstruck if I go into that theater and Cameron managed to get over himself enough to not make sure that I come out unable to see anything other then the color red, because it's Cameron and as far as I'm concerned he's been a blight on cinema for decades now.
    Cameron is producing, not directing, but, uh... dare I ask why the hate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    On the other hand, the Panzer Kunst martial arts looks spot on, in terms of both speed and brutality - Alita counter grabs the guy by his neck strut before slamming his head into the table.
    I thought the animation there was very jerky, to be honest.

    I do like the attention-to-detail on the design of her arms, though, and I think Christoph Waltz is spot-on casting for Ido.
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    I don't think the eye effect will be that distracting once I've gotten into the film proper, but it's hard to say. Mostly this reminds me of when the Giant changed up the art style so characters' hands became much more noticeable in their inhuman stylization. For a few strips that was glaringly distracting, and then it faded away and I don't really remember it except when I'm zooming in to spot something in a panel.

    And yeah, looking at this from a interior perspective of the film world itself is probably missing the point. As an homage, it's an artistic decision to reflect the source material. A lot of things we transcribe in adaptions don't rest on any kind of internal logic. Whether that's a decision that does keep getting in the way for people watching the film is a much more solid concern.

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    I'm cautiously optimistic, and Rodriguez can be a quite good director. Let's hope he knows how to handle a budget this big. Anyone want to comment on possible whitewashing of Ido Daisuke?
    I like Rodriguez well enough, but his output has been... variable. Hey, there's always Sin City to measure against, right? Right?

    I'll confess that I generally file whitewashing concerns high on my list of First World Problems, but I gather there have been some complaints that Alita is being whitewashed, and... that actually raises all kinds of questions in my mind. (But she's a cyborg.) (There's no indication she's ethnically asian.) (But her name is Yoko.) (But Ido is an asian name too, and I thought we'd settled that he's probably caucasian?) (Isn't giving her huge goldfish eyes distinctly non-typically-asian-looking?) (But isn't that faithful to the comic?) (Wait, don't hordes of Korean women use plastic surgery to go for that exact look?) (Didn't this happen with GitS as well?) (If she's CGI, would hiring an asian actress even count?) (Is this the apogee of unrealistic fembot body standards and harbinger of the apocalypse?)

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    I meant that comment only partially seriously, thinking about the big stink about the whitewashing it GITS (which was effing stupid), and how it isn't really a big deal here because his ethnicity doesn't matter to the story in any way.

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    Cameron is producing, not directing, but, uh... dare I ask why the hate?
    The more recent work his name is attached too is, the more likely I find I am to be given outright political propaganda for Cameron's personal political bias's, and to be bludgeoned over the head with them, and to be given straw man versions of other political positions to levels that would not look out of place in a deliberate propaganda piece.

    His older works aren't totally immune to this, buuuuuut, he's gotten a lot more stuck up about it as time has marched on. To the point were he seems incapable of controlling himself on the matter, and unwilling to put his name on work that doesn't have it.



    This is particularly grating for me as I strongly disagree with many of his personal political positions.




    Also, I really, REALLY did not like Titanic, or Avatar, and I find it Gauling that there in the top 10 most profitable movies ever at all, more so that they ever occupied the number 1 or 2 slots. (I'm not sure if they still do or not off the top of my head.)
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Metahuman1 View Post
    The more recent work his name is attached too is, the more likely I find I am to be given outright political propaganda for Cameron's personal political bias's, and to be bludgeoned over the head with them, and to be given straw man versions of other political positions to levels that would not look out of place in a deliberate propaganda piece.
    I'm pretty sure Avatar was a deliberate propaganda piece.

    On a nitpicky level, what's with the title change?

    Battle Angel Alita rolled right off the tongue. If that's not good enough, Alita seems straightforward 2010s-esque. The colon subtitle Battle Angle just seems kind of schlocky.

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    I thought the animation there was very jerky, to be honest.
    Really? I thought it's pretty much spot on for the technique - the only jerkiness is intentional as she's redirecting his head (and hence mass) sideways into the table and there needs to be some semblance of obeying the laws of physics.

    The pullback, deflect, step in and countergrab is perfectly smooth - if I were doing that technique, there would be a jerk as I transitioned from the throat/face punch (as I can't grab a real person's neck cables) to wrapping my hand around the back of his neck before driving his head into the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    (But her name is Yoko.)
    I believe the name she uses for most of the series is Gally (Alita in the English) and as far as I can remember, there's no mention of her ethnicity being of any importance (octopus lips aside).
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2017-12-14 at 07:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    I was going to say, the two examples of panzer kunst we see in the trailer really pleased me. They looked just like I imagined in the manga: fast, powerful and with a focus on flowing, circular and spinning motions. I also think we've only seen early scenes so far; given how faithful the movie seems to want to be to the manga, we're likely to get to see Alita in her berzerker body, which should improve her combat abilities substantially.
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Metahuman1 View Post
    Also, I really, REALLY did not like Titanic, or Avatar, and I find it Gauling that there in the top 10 most profitable movies ever at all, more so that they ever occupied the number 1 or 2 slots. (I'm not sure if they still do or not off the top of my head.)
    I incline to the view that pretty much all art is either political or confined to inane pleasantries, so that doesn't bother me per se. I'll concede that Avatar is an eco-liberal revenge-fantasy*, and there's plenty more in the pipeline, but isn't most of what he's done in the past twenty years been either documentaries or side-projects? (I mean, you can't really complain about Ghosts of the Abyss being propaganda for sea creatures. That's the whole point.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Really? I thought it's pretty much spot on for the technique - the only jerkiness is intentional as she's redirecting his head (and hence mass) sideways into the table and there needs to be some semblance of obeying the laws of physics.
    I can't really comment on the combat technique, but I mean more in the leadup to the grab itself- there's something weirdly aphysical or weightless about her movements. They might clean it up in later production, but I found it distracting.

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    Alita's origins aren't revealed until Mars Chronicle, but apparently she's a genetic clone of one Kagura Dornburg. So... mixed asian-germanic, possibly? Huh.

    I should warn that Mars Chronicle is showing signs of franchise fatigue, but I like the idea of rounding off the series.
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    I can't really comment on the combat technique, but I mean more in the leadup to the grab itself- there's something weirdly aphysical or weightless about her movements. They might clean it up in later production, but I found it distracting.
    Oh I see what you mean. Personally I would attribute that to her robotic body - if you watch videos of hi-tech robots performing complex human actions, there's a certain inhuman smoothness to them (Asimo for example), but I can see why it looks weightless as something moving that smoothly and quickly would trigger an 'uncanny valley' type of response.
    Interestingly enough, there's mention of a similar effect from 40K Space Marines in the various novels, where between the fully responsive nature of their battle armour and their training, they have an inhuman grace and power, triggering a level on inhuman awe on people not used to them.

    That said, it also happens in animations where there's insufficient detail paid to the physics involved - off the top of my head, the Dead Fantasy series by the late Monty Oum is a good example of this.

    In the end, whether you want to chalk it up to inhuman grace or poor animation is entirely up to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
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    Alita's origins aren't revealed until Mars Chronicle, but apparently she's a genetic clone of one Kagura Dornburg. So... mixed asian-germanic, possibly? Huh.

    I should warn that Mars Chronicle is showing signs of franchise fatigue, but I like the idea of rounding off the series.
    Ah, I've only read the original series where it ended pretty neatly with Figure 4 meeting Alita again since the author became ill and wanted to end the series. I wasn't aware that ending got ret-conned with Last Order and the story continued on in Mars Chronicle.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2017-12-14 at 09:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    I like Rodriguez well enough, but his output has been... variable. Hey, there's always Sin City to measure against, right? Right?

    I'll confess that I generally file whitewashing concerns high on my list of First World Problems, but I gather there have been some complaints that Alita is being whitewashed, and... that actually raises all kinds of questions in my mind. (But she's a cyborg.) (There's no indication she's ethnically asian.) (But her name is Yoko.) (But Ido is an asian name too, and I thought we'd settled that he's probably caucasian?) (Isn't giving her huge goldfish eyes distinctly non-typically-asian-looking?) (But isn't that faithful to the comic?) (Wait, don't hordes of Korean women use plastic surgery to go for that exact look?) (Didn't this happen with GitS as well?) (If she's CGI, would hiring an asian actress even count?) (Is this the apogee of unrealistic fembot body standards and harbinger of the apocalypse?)

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    For me, i've never read the manga, but i am intrigued by this. Need a better trailer though

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    I incline to the view that pretty much all art is either political or confined to inane pleasantries, so that doesn't bother me per se. I'll concede that Avatar is an eco-liberal revenge-fantasy*, and there's plenty more in the pipeline, but isn't most of what he's done in the past twenty years been either documentaries or side-projects? (I mean, you can't really complain about Ghosts of the Abyss being propaganda for sea creatures. That's the whole point.)
    Politics are fine. Wedging open my mouth and backing up a cement truck of your political beliefs is hamfisted and cringy at best, rather disturbing at worst. Avatar is fine, if you shut your brain off and just watch giant blue people fight giant robots, if you think about it for any length of time the politics hit you like a crashing 747.
    Last edited by Blackhawk748; 2017-12-14 at 09:28 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Ah, I've only read the original series where it ended pretty neatly with Figure 4 meeting Alita again since the author became ill and wanted to end the series. I wasn't aware that ending got ret-conned with Last Order and the story continued on in Mars Chronicle.
    Last Order is good but uneven. The individual sub-stories are decent-to-great in isolation and the setting is intriguing- I particularly liked Homme de Feu and Caerula Sanguis- but based on what I recall Alita herself was all over the place in terms of motivation and less than entirely likeable (to say nothing of her ungodly catgirl incarnation.)

    I would say it's worth checking out, though. It does round off her relationships with Ido and Figure 4 a little less abruptly than the original, and the overall premise of the ZOTT provides a much more cohesive narrative scaffold for bridging the scrapyard and tiphares.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    Politics are fine. Wedging open my mouth and backing up a cement truck of your political beliefs is hamfisted and cringy at best, rather disturbing at worst. Avatar is fine, if you shut your brain off and just watch giant blue people fight giant robots, if you think about it for any length of time the politics hit you like a crashing 747.
    There are some obvious real-world analogues, sure, it's just that the message seems so unobjectionable to me. We could talk about the pros and cons of military culture, but I'm scratching my head to think of a reasonable argument for why amazonian copper mining operations should be allowed to exterminate indigenous peoples.
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    There are some obvious real-world analogues, sure, it's just that the message seems so unobjectionable to me. We could talk about the pros and cons of military culture, but I'm scratching my head to think of a reasonable argument for why amazonian copper mining operations should be allowed to exterminate indigenous peoples.
    I dont really think anyone objects to your second part. What bothered me about the movie (once i decided to just think about it) was the portrayal of the military. Though that may have more to do with the fact that a rash of movies making the Military the Super Evil Bad Guys had come out around the same time and it was just starting to piss me off in general. Then Avatar does theres and it was just to much.
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    I dont really think anyone objects to your second part. What bothered me about the movie (once i decided to just think about it) was the portrayal of the military. Though that may have more to do with the fact that a rash of movies making the Military the Super Evil Bad Guys had come out around the same time and it was just starting to piss me off in general. Then Avatar does theres and it was just to much.
    Weren't those guys less military and more private security of whatever corporation was in charge of the mission?
    Ex-military maybe in most cases maybe, but for good reasons by my impression.
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kantaki View Post
    Weren't those guys less military and more private security of whatever corporation was in charge of the mission?
    Ex-military maybe in most cases maybe, but for good reasons by my impression.
    I know Avatar isnt the best hill to die on over this, but i do believe they where former military, and its the fact that they portray former military like that that bugs me. Everything we know about that CO was that he was in the military (or something similar) and that he wasnt kicked out or anything else, he just left. So someone who, by all evidence, simply retired from active duty to go into civilian security work is portrayed like he was is annoying at best, insulting at worst.

    Really its more of me being annoyed at that particular Hollywood trend and it doesnt seem like they stopped it in recent years.
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    Default Re: Alita: Battle Angel - yay or nay?

    I felt at the time like they were a crack on Blackwater and other PMCs more than anti-military bias (outside of the blatant Apocalypse now references) , they were in the news a lot back then. Still a terrible movie though, how Ferngully with furries and blue lights made so much money I'll probably never really understand...

    Anyway, I vaguely remember reading Alita years ago, based on the trailer it looks similar to my recollection but it didn't really leave a mark either way
    Last edited by thorgrim29; 2017-12-15 at 12:36 PM.
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