Battle Angel Alita

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Is anyone (irrationally?) holding out hope for the live action movie of this?

On the one hand, I’m kind of stoked to see an actual release date… BAA has been my favorite manga series for many years, and I was convinced it would languish forever while Cameron made his next six Avatars or whatever his plans may be. But the choice of director doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. I think it would’ve been better off in the hands of the Wachowskis, or Doug Liman (the Edge Of Tomorrow director).

In any case, if you haven’t read the manga, I think most AF fans would enjoy it. There are superficial similarities in its plot and visual style (anarchic female action hero vs. unscrupulous male scientist; skintight outfits and body modifications galore) but I’m thinking more about Kishiro’s emphasis on the inner worlds of his characters. It’s not as subtle or as morally ambiguous as Aeon Flux, but neither is it straight ahead dystopian chop-socky. There’s an underlying theme of consciousness expansion running through the series, and some scenes have left me with a lot to think about.

The 1994 anime adaptation is decent, but arguably ends where the manga starts to get interesting… I’d recommend the first series of nine volumes above anything else, then look into the follow-up series Battle Angel Alita: Last Order and Gunnm: Mars Chronicle if you want more.

Yukito Kishiro’s site
Battle Angel anime

Blair Gilbreath, Tuesday, 8 November 2016 03:43 (seven years ago) link

Also, between the recent discussion of Prometheus and Peter Chung’s mention of Westworld, I got to thinking about when I first watched Aeon Flux (late nineties/early zeroes) and the sort of media that was around at the time. It was a really interesting period, with a lot of science fiction films that tackled transhumanist themes and big questions about human consciousness. A.I., existenZ, the first Matrix and The Animatrix, Tezuka's Metropolis, A Tree of Palme. Maybe now that we’re seeing a renewed interest in cyborgs and artificial characters (Alita, Ghost In The Shell, Blade Runner 2049, Ex Machina, Westworld), we’ll start to see an increase in thoughtful sci-fi again.

Blair Gilbreath, Tuesday, 8 November 2016 03:51 (seven years ago) link

The public response (or lack thereof) to Speed Racer was really unfortunate. It's the Wachowski's best work, and everything since has lacked that level of cinematic audacity.
I'd have really liked to have seen James Cameron's rendition of Alita- more than the Avatar sequels we'll be getting.

I remember the Alita manga mainly for its insanely engineered roller derby battle sequences. I never read it in translation, so I'm unaware of any deeper thematic undercurrents. I had the Japanese volumes before any English versions were available. I'll check them out.

For me, the one I'm most anticipating (and also dreading a bit) is Alien Covenant. In a way, I don't want some of the mysteries posed in Prometheus answered. The answers are going to have to be very good.

Peter Chung, Thursday, 10 November 2016 10:28 (seven years ago) link

I'll add that I'm looking forward to the 5th Transformers movie. The last two Transformers movies are pure escapist 3D eye-candy. They are pure, decadent CG robot action porn. It would be hard to explain exactly the peculiar connection I feel towards the characters and that universe, having spent years working on the original series and animated movie.

Also strangely satisfying to see some of my designs rendered in 3D CG in the latest Ninja Turtles movie.

Peter Chung, Thursday, 10 November 2016 11:42 (seven years ago) link

Yeah, I was thinking of Speed Racer when I mentioned the Wachowskis. Though my favorite film of theirs is Jupiter Ascending. It's just so bizarre and opulent, like an Iain M. Banks novel brought to life. And weirdly emotionally affecting at times.

Having seen everything the Wachowski sisters have directed (except Revolutions), I think they're incredibly uneven, but even their worst films have some terrific ideas. I liked the first season of Sense8, and I'm curious to see if all the elaborate setup eventually pays off.

Blair Gilbreath, Friday, 11 November 2016 00:10 (seven years ago) link

It's the Wachowski's best work, and everything since has lacked that level of cinematic audacity.

I totally agree with this. I've met a few other people who also loved it, it knows what it wants to be and goes for it, completely uncompromising.

I'm looking forward to Rodriguez' take on BAA, and I hope Rosa Salazar has the presence to make it succeed. I really like the casting for Zapan and Dr. Ido.

El Tomboto, Friday, 11 November 2016 02:23 (seven years ago) link

Also hopefully as the movie gets closer to release they'll put out new paperback editions of the original 9 volumes. Fingers crossed

El Tomboto, Friday, 11 November 2016 03:15 (seven years ago) link

two years pass...

Coming out of the Alita movie, I was reminded of some of the discussions here. It's definitely a case of "too much plot getting in the way of the story"; so many plot threads from the manga were braided together that they tended to trip each other up. I wanted emotional and thematic cohesion, but alas, it was not to be.


I didn't like the decision to have Desty Nova push the button on Hugo, and it really weakened the ending for me. The only elements that should be in that scene are Alita, Hugo, and an uncaring automatic security system. It would be like if, when Sybil and Onan make their final run at the end of Thanatophobia, a hockey-masked Trevor Goodchild were to jump out from behind a corner and cut Sybil's legs off with a chainsaw.

I missed Makaku (I guess brain-eating went too far for a PG-13). The last fight with him is where Alita learns empathy, more or less (and sets up the theme of "agency vs. social structures" that runs through the series).

And this has to be the most cheerfully decorated dystopia I've ever seen. We're told how stratified Iron City is, but nobody really seems that bad off. I missed the sort of wacked social commentary/sarcastic humor that the manga had. Like, people with syringes stuck in every available surface.

On the plus side, Rosa Salazar made a convincingly badass Alita, Zalem and the Motorball scenes were a treat for the eyes, and the fight choreography was boffo. If they do eventually make a sequel, I'll be there; I'll just make sure to turn off most of my brain for it.

Blair Gilbreath, Monday, 18 February 2019 10:37 (five years ago) link

Pretty much agreed. I would totally be down for a sequel, and maybe finally catch up the whole damn manga

Nhex, Monday, 18 February 2019 19:19 (five years ago) link

It would be so worth it to get a good depiction of Alita's trip to Zalem.

I was listening to a bunch of Alita reviews last night, and found this: I don't necessarily agree with all of it, but it was kinda nice to hear some critical discussion of the manga.

Blair Gilbreath, Monday, 18 February 2019 22:57 (five years ago) link

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