Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Alita: Battle Angel’

I loved last year’s Ready Player One.  It is a deeply flawed movie, but if you go with it, you simply don’t care about the flaws, because it’s a fun ride.  Alita: Battle Angel has that same quality.Alita Battle Angel Poster

In the year 2563, 300 years after “the fall”  earth has been devastated, the remains of the population live in a crumbling city all working for Zalem, the sky city floating above them.  Dr Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) finds the remains of cyborg (Rosa Salazar)with the brain of a teenage-girl.  He repairs her and names her after his late daughter Alita.  As she regains fragments of memory it becomes clear that there is a lot more to Alita.Alita Battle Angel 1

Based on a Japanese cyberpunk manga series  by Yukito Kishiro from the early 90’s.  James Cameron has owned the movie rights for the best part of twenty years.  He suggested it would be his next project after the Dark Angel TV series, then again after Avatar.  After deciding to concentrate of giant Smurfs sequels he hired Robert Rodriguez as director.Alita Battle Angel 2

The plot is thin, predictable and filled with every cliché you can imagine, and the exposition is clunky.  These things really don’t matter, how much plot do you need in an action film? For predicable and clichéd, you could read satisfying.  A certain amount of exposition is needed, and it is kept to a minimum here, in fact there are lots of things we are not told.  This I expect is a combination of things the filmmakers don’t deem important, and those they are saving for future instalments.  With roots in genre movies, Robert Rodriguez knows all about shorthand, he makes great use of hit here with costume.  You can track Alita’s accelerated character arc by her wardrobe.  The same can be said of the villains, without giving anything away, you instantly know who to trust and who not too.  This helps things zip along at a great pace.  It’s when the pace drops that the film loses its way, particular in the middle section, but don’t the action soon picks up again.Alita Battle Angel 3

The film looks spectacular as you would expect, but that isn’t enough on its own, the largely animated characters are believable and believable within the narrative.   Alita’s oversized manga eyes are far less problamatic than I expected, although I’m sure they have been toned down since the first teaser last year.  A perfect blend of childish innocence and near fetishized ability, Alita is endearing where she could have been problematic.  This is in no small part due to Rosa Salazar’s excellent motion capture performance.  The success of her performance is vital, if you don’t warm to the character you won’t like the film.Alita Battle Angel 4

The end of the film is something of a risk, leaving the narrative unfinished without an actual cliff-hanger.  If the film performs well enough to earn a sequel, or franchise this choice will look inspired.  If it is Alita’s only outing, it may feel a little unfinished. Alita Battle Angel 5

A perfect example of this type of film, if you go into it with the right mindset, you will love it.  If you use a critical eye and look for the problems, you will find them.  Just go with it!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

A conversation about the recent movie Ghost in the Shell got me thinking about Robert Rodriguez’s adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga; Battle Angel Alita that I heard about last year.  It appears we have more than a year to go until the release of Alita: Battle Angel next July.  I am intrigued by the idea of the master of low budget independent genre movies making a $200 million film produced by the king of excess James Cameron.  In checking on the release date for that movie I spotted a film directed by Rodriguez that I knew nothing about. Battle Angel Alita

Surprised that a Robert Rodriguez film had come out totally under my radar I checked the release information; released on 18 November 2015 and only in France, I did a double take, the release date was actually listed as 18 November 2115.  I looked further, the IMDB synopsis reads: “The content of this film is currently a secret, due to be revealed only when the title is released in 2115.”  The film is stored in a safe with a time lock set to open in 2015.100 years movie

It appears the film made in 2015 by Rodriguez was commissioned by Rémy Martin owner of the Louis XIII Cognac brand.  As mentioned above there is no clue about plot.  After a quick hunt around the internet, I have no idea what the film is about, how long it is how it is going to be preserved for 100 years.  Although nothing definitive there are a few clues. A line from an interview with star John Malkovich suggests it will be “a short film”.  There are three trailers, they however don’t actually show any footage from the film, just imagine how the world will look when the safe opens. The trailers suggest that it will be stored on film in a tin, the way many believe is still the best way to preserve film.  Although this could just be for the aesthetic of the trailer.

The somewhat mundane thing of how the film will be preserved and viewed is what interests me the most about the project.  If I wanted to ensure a classic film, lets for augments sake say Casablanca (not quite 100 years old, it actually celebrates its 75 anniversary, this year) is kept safe for future generations, how would I do it.  In the documentary Side by Side (2012) Martin Scorseese talks about film, whether it be old celluloid film or modern polyester film stock being the best way to preserve films.  As mentioned if you leave a hard drive un-booted for a prolonged period, it won’t work.  It is worth mentioning at this point, that Scorseese is the founder of The Film Foundation, an American based non-profit organization dedicated to film preservation as well as the exhibition of restored classic films.  As also mentioned in Side by Side, I believe diversity is the way to go.  If a film is stored on several types of film, including in print and negative form as well as digitally, it stands the best chance of survival.  As well as an archive that may hold prints or masters of Casablanca, it must be held in various formats by TV companies and distributers who have sold it in one format or another, as well as all the versions people have at home on VHS, Laser Disc, DVD and Bluray.  All this suggests the film will survive, it doesn’t answer the question, how do you preserve a film in a safe for 100 years.  Are there backup copies? Does Robert Rodriguez have a copy that he throws on for a secret screening when his friends come around? Martin Scorsese side by side

We don’t know who has seen it but we have an idea of who will see it; Rémy Martin have produced One thousand tickets/invitations, made of metal to ensure they survive the 100 years.  Recipients are encouraged to pass these tickets to their decedents.  It isn’t clear who these recipients are but they certainly include Malkovich and Rodriguez.  What will happen to the tickets, will people keep them and lovingly pass them on, or will they be forgotten.  Will it be the hottest ticket in France in 2015 with people auctioning their ticket to the highest bidder?   100 years tickets

How much will cinema have changed in 100 years.  It is impossible to say, but we can see how much or how little it has changed in the last 100.  Two significant films of 2015 are: The Birth of a Nation (1915) by D.W. Griffith and Les vampires (1915) by Louis Feuillade.  Two films both extremely dated and surprisingly modern in certain ways.

I am more intrigued wondering who has actually seen the film what it is actually about!  And if you are wondering, I won’t be drinking any Louis XIII cognac, I don’t particularly like brandy and there is the small matter of the £2,500 a bottle price tag. 

Read Full Post »