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Old 01-29-2019, 05:55 PM
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Alita: Battle Angel!


<<<THERE WILL BE OPEN SPOILERS IN THIS THREAD!!!>>>

Alita: Battle Angel is set to be released mid-February (I''ve seen both the 13th and the 14th listed), after an incredibly long production.

"How long?", you may be asking. Well, we've had threads about it before, but they were brief and have prolly been forgotten.

James Cameron -> Battle Angel Alita is a thread from 2005 that Sage Rat started.
James Cameron to make "Battle Angel" trilogy is from 2008, courtesy of Sattua.

I thought we had another one just this past year, but for some reason I didn't find it in my search.

Anyway, it's here! I started this thread now because there is a sneak preview in over 30 cities in a few days and I thought people might want to know about that and might want to discuss the film.

Tickets for the sneak preview are available free except for providing a valid email address. Yes, I'm sure this gets you in a bunch of data sets; sorry, but that's modern life.

Okay, now: the movie!

I have not read the manga at all. I know nothing about this story other than what the movie previews have shown me and frankly may not read much of this thread until after I see the film on Thursday night. But what I do know and see is knocking my fucking socks off.

So far the hype is low level unless you're paying attention; but if you're paying attention, it's starting to go thru the roof. Mr. Cameron made a video for Instagram and Facebook to personally announce the sneak preview, for instance.

I have really high hopes for this film. It looks exciting, action-packed and thoughtful, with an emphasis on the characters and their emotional bonds; I hope it really is like that and not just a stupid CGI-fest (like Avatar).

Who's with me?
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:26 PM
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Yeah, I remember James Cameron saying this movie was his next....unless he got that Avatar movie going.

I hope it works out to be a good movie.
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:29 PM
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You know Cameron didn't direct this right? It was by Robert Rodriguez, who kind of sucks.
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:53 PM
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Those eyes! And they get a pass because the character is supposed to be genetically/cybernetically enhanced.

Re. free tickets: "Seating is on a first-come first-served basis" "theater is overbooked to ensure full house". I may just wait until the regular release.
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Old 01-29-2019, 07:24 PM
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You know Cameron didn't direct this right? It was by Robert Rodriguez, who kind of sucks.
Yes, I am aware. The screenplay is by James Cameron and he remains a producer. It's the same project as he was working on a long time ago; he just isn't directing it. Laeta Kalogridis co-wrote the script back in 2005-2007 with him and that script is the one in use.

So, he didn't direct, but it is the same movie.

Robert Rodriguez, if controlled and monitored, could do a great job.

This could be a disaster or a great thing. Or nothing much at all.
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Old 01-29-2019, 07:30 PM
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You know Cameron didn't direct this right? It was by Robert Rodriguez, who kind of sucks.
I know that, but I'm glad: I've enjoyed far more of Mr. Rodriguez's films than I have Mr. Cameron's.
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Those eyes! And they get a pass because the character is supposed to be genetically/cybernetically enhanced.
I seem to be nearly alone in finding the eyes interesting and attractive and not at all creepy.
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Re. free tickets: "Seating is on a first-come first-served basis" "theater is overbooked to ensure full house". I may just wait until the regular release.
Aye. There's the possibility that I'll have to wait until the actual release to see it, too. But I figure I'll show up early (rather than pass out) and hope for the best.
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Old 01-29-2019, 07:33 PM
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This could be a disaster or a great thing. Or nothing much at all.
Agreed. I hope it's an amazing, fun and exciting movie. But it could be another Mortal Engines (although A:BA cost more: $200M is what I've seen).
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Old 01-30-2019, 01:16 PM
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Those eyes! And they get a pass because the character is supposed to be genetically/cybernetically enhanced.

Re. free tickets: "Seating is on a first-come first-served basis" "theater is overbooked to ensure full house". I may just wait until the regular release.
I had a WTH moment when I saw the eyes, then I laughed. It's kind of creepy to tell the truth, but I'll watch it out of curiosity.
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Old 01-30-2019, 01:40 PM
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The eyes definitely put her into the Uncanny Valley, but then, this is a character who should be in the Uncanny Valley. That's part of the point: That she's not exactly human.

I've never read the manga, but I did see the anime, way back in the day. The ending was a major downer-- I have to wonder if this version will keep that, or give her a happy ending. And I'm honestly not sure which I'd prefer.
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Old 01-30-2019, 01:45 PM
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Colour me surprised that they are actually offering tickets to showings in Canada for this. However, not surprisingly, the show is already at capacity.

Fingers crossed for stand by.
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Old 01-30-2019, 01:58 PM
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Huh, this could be fun. I'm getting a kind of unselfconsciously campy wibe from the trailer. I really liked last year's Ready Player One (and the book, natch) so this might be for me. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 02-01-2019, 02:23 AM
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I did not get in to the sneak preview. I got to the theatre about 35 minutes early and there were already about 300 people in line. I was maybe 50 or 60 back when they told us it was full and there were at least 100 people behind me.
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Old 02-01-2019, 09:13 AM
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Did anyone get to see it? Toronto showing was full as well.
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:06 AM
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I got in last night here in New Orleans. I got in line 1.5 hours early.

The showing was on the Dolby Screen, and they had some brand new (at least I had never seen them around here) Dolby 3D glasses that we were told can not leave the auditorium under any circumstances (leave them on your seat if you go to the bathroom!).

The movie wasn't bad but I did have problems with the the main character and her eyes. The behind the scenes showed how they did some of the "performance capture" stuff for her, and I wonder if the way they animated the character was still a problem for me or if the performance capture did it's job well and it was just that the actress was bad. Hard to say.

The Q&A at the end was OK, Robert Rodriguez always impresses me and Christoph Waltz had some particularly good insights I thought.

I'm not familiar with the anime or manga, but it definitely set things up for a sequel so I'm not sure if the story was complete or not.
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Old 02-01-2019, 12:32 PM
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I'm not familiar with the anime or manga, but it definitely set things up for a sequel so I'm not sure if the story was complete or not.
One of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes from the sneak preview said that they condensed more than one book for this movie (I think I read that there are 3).

Would you give the movie a thumbs up or thumbs down? Wanna go further and rate it 1-10?

The RT entries are all over the place, from "boring" to "awesome!" but there aren't many reviews posted yet so it's hard to tell if the 37% Fresh is a reliable indicator.
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Old 02-01-2019, 12:39 PM
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Aren't Alita/Gally's head and face biological? I don't understand the huge eyes, which are off-putting and must have required considerable effort/budget in postproduction.
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Old 02-01-2019, 12:40 PM
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Well, I'm less optimistic now than I was in 2005. I had some hope that Cameron would preserve the philosophy and gloom from the comic, but the trailers have given zero sense of that. If it's just "cute robot beats people up" for two hours, it's really not Alita. It's just "Alita themed action movie".

I expect to still like it, but I'll go into it expecting an action flick, not an a genuine Alita movie - similar to going in to one of the new Star Trek films.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 02-01-2019 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 02-01-2019, 12:42 PM
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Aren't Alita/Gally's head and face biological? I don't understand the huge eyes, which are off-putting and must have required considerable effort/budget in postproduction.
I think (but am not certain) that the only biological part of her is the brain and spine. The head and torso are from before she was almost-deaded, but like I think I remember that she had cracks in her face when Ido first found her.
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:21 PM
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One of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes from the sneak preview said that they condensed more than one book for this movie (I think I read that there are 3).

Would you give the movie a thumbs up or thumbs down? Wanna go further and rate it 1-10?

The RT entries are all over the place, from "boring" to "awesome!" but there aren't many reviews posted yet so it's hard to tell if the 37% Fresh is a reliable indicator.
I would not call it boring, so there's that. I actually have a hard time seeing as anyone would think it was. It kept me interested and involved throughout.

I think I would probably give it a 7, and actually I am looking forward to seeing it again in theatres (I have AMC A-list, so that's not THAT big of a commitment though lol).

I'm not sure if I would've liked it as much not on the big screen though, so much like Avatar I doubt I will seek it out once it has left theatres.
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:23 PM
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I think (but am not certain) that the only biological part of her is the brain and spine. The head and torso are from before she was almost-deaded, but like I think I remember that she had cracks in her face when Ido first found her.
I don't think they mentioned this, I was under the impression that her face was supposed to be biological as well. I don't think she had cracks in her face in the movie.
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:31 PM
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I would not call it boring, so there's that. I actually have a hard time seeing as anyone would think it was. It kept me interested and involved throughout.

I think I would probably give it a 7, and actually I am looking forward to seeing it again in theatres (I have AMC A-list, so that's not THAT big of a commitment though lol).

I'm not sure if I would've liked it as much not on the big screen though, so much like Avatar I doubt I will seek it out once it has left theatres.
Awesome; thanks! A 7 is, IMO, a solid movie. Maybe not "the bestest thing ever" but certainly "ddamned good", right? Glad to know that I can keep my plans to see this ASAP.
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I don't think they mentioned this, I was under the impression that her face was supposed to be biological as well. I don't think she had cracks in her face in the movie.
I read an interview somewhere where they had Alita's eyes smaller at first and Mr. Cameron saw the footage and told them "no; make her eyes a bit bigger" so they did and Mr. Rodriguez agreed it looked better. As I've said, I like her eyes and think they are interesting, not creepy.

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Old 02-01-2019, 01:31 PM
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One of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes from the sneak preview said that they condensed more than one book for this movie (I think I read that there are 3).

Don't know where you got that it was "3 books", but it was a monthly serialized manga. The original run was around 53 chapters (collected into 9 volumes) with one sequel (Battle Angel Alita:Last Order) that ran for 124 chapters and was collected into 19 volumes and a second sequel (Battle Angel Alita:Mars Chronicle) that is currently running and is up to chapter 32.
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Old 02-01-2019, 02:14 PM
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Don't know where you got that it was "3 books", but it was a monthly serialized manga. The original run was around 53 chapters (collected into 9 volumes) with one sequel (Battle Angel Alita:Last Order) that ran for 124 chapters and was collected into 19 volumes and a second sequel (Battle Angel Alita:Mars Chronicle) that is currently running and is up to chapter 32.
Not sure where I read that either; some fan review or something. I only noted the detail because that was the first and only time I read anything about how many books/issues/whatever comprised Alita: I know nothing about this story other than it's been a popular title for a long time and what I've seen in the trailers.

Thanks for the info.

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Old 02-01-2019, 02:42 PM
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I think (but am not certain) that the only biological part of her is the brain and spine. The head and torso are from before she was almost-deaded, but like I think I remember that she had cracks in her face when Ido first found her.
It has been a while since I read the manga, but I seem to remember that the cracks on her face were only shown in an artistic context. (i.e., she was being depicted metaphorically as a broken doll)

Perhaps a better argument against the eyes is that her eyes are the same as everyone else's in the manga. Canonically, her most distinctive feature is her mouth.
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Old 02-01-2019, 04:12 PM
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I see that more people who made it to last night's showings have written reviews on RT today and they are all wildly positive.

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Old 02-01-2019, 11:31 PM
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I loved these comics so much when I was a kid. I’m excited for this movie.
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Old 02-06-2019, 04:01 PM
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I've seen trailers and been underwhelmed. She's definitely in the Uncanny Valley for me. Unless the reviews are boffo, I probably won't see it.
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Old 02-08-2019, 05:01 PM
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Okay, I just got tickets to see this on the 14th. I got perfect seats (back row center) for an early afternoon 3D D-Box showing, because hey why not sit in motion control seats?

I plan on getting very stoned before the movie and then trying out a pizza joint that sleestak recommended on that side of town. It should be a good afternoon!
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:01 PM
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Side question: large eyes- to a point- are considered beautiful. What's the tipping point into Uncanny Valley territory? Did anyone ever make comparison photos with progressively larger eyes to test that?
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:25 AM
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Saw this last night as it came out in the UK on Saturday.

I enjoyed it - well worth the money.

Read the manga about five years ago and it seems quite a faithful adaptation of the first three volumes. Certainly captures the spirit.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:48 AM
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I just saw it last night. Thanks to getting a $4.00 deal for any showing, I went with the IMAX 3D option, about which I am happy I chose and regret at the same time.

When the time came to put on the 3D Goggles, something seemed a bit off, but didn't matter whether I had my glasses on or off under them. Then I heard several other audience members grumbling about the same problem, until someone spoke up and said that it works if you put on the glasses backwards. Everyone seemed to be happy enough with this solution, albeit a bit awkward balancing giant novelty 3D glasses on the tip of your nose, until about 5 minutes into the movie when it froze, right at the point where [SPOILER ALERT] Alita opens her eyes for the first time. After about a minute of that, the screen went blank and the audience was informed that they were trying to fix the problem so we could watch with our 3D glasses on normally. Over the next 20 or 30 minutes there were a few false starts until the movie finally re-started with the correct polarity. Thanks to this, everyone got free passes at the end of the show, so I now get to see two movies for four bucks. Lucky me!

While the 3D was working, my brain was still having problems keeping up with everything, and I was reminded why I usually avoid seeing movies in 3D. Still, it worked well enough that I don't think I missed anything important, and the scenery and close-up shots were truly beautiful, but I did have a hard time with the busier action scenes. I'd like to see it again on a regular 2D screen, but probably won't.

Regarding the big eyes, to me they pushed Alita's character all the way past uncanny valley to her being a very detailed anime cartoon girl interacting with actual human actors. Even her movements were clearly those of a CGI character and not those of an actual human actor. That said, it all made sense since the character was an android with the brain being her only actual human part.

Story-wise, I was not a fan of the love story, and the dumbest scene of the movie was when Hugo decided that when his girlfriend was having the biggest race of her life, that was the best time to run off to a dark alley and loudly announce to his partners in crime, while they are engaging in their criminal activities, that he is turning over a new leaf and getting out of the robot-dismemberment business. Like, couldn't you have found a better time to tell them that, which would have been pretty much any other time than right then.

I never read the manga, but I understand from comments I've read elsewhere that the love story was a significant part of the source material, but I think the movie would have been much better if Hugo's role was diminished if not eliminated completely.

Otherwise, the imagery was excellent, the action was top-notch, and the performances of nearly every character not named Hugo were pretty good as well. I would definitely recommend it.
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Old 02-14-2019, 01:43 PM
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Story-wise, I was not a fan of the love story, and the dumbest scene of the movie was when Hugo decided that when his girlfriend was having the biggest race of her life, that was the best time to run off to a dark alley and loudly announce to his partners in crime, while they are engaging in their criminal activities, that he is turning over a new leaf and getting out of the robot-dismemberment business. Like, couldn't you have found a better time to tell them that, which would have been pretty much any other time than right then.
Alita was a robot with a human brain and Hugo was a human with some sort of bad-judgement machine installed where a brain should be - every choice he made was going to get that guy killed, and the reveal towards the end indicates he was doing that even before he met Alita. And she was even worse - what did she plan on using to live after her creepy "anything for you" scene?

Like you, I found it entertaining, with the weakest elements being the romance. Critics are complaining that the ending turns the movie into a 2-hour prologue, but it was an interesting prologue.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:06 PM
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I have really high hopes for this film. It looks exciting, action-packed and thoughtful, with an emphasis on the characters and their emotional bonds; I hope it really is like that and not just a stupid CGI-fest (like Avatar).
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Agreed. I hope it's an amazing, fun and exciting movie. But it could be another Mortal Engines (although A:BA cost more: $200M is what I've seen).
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Okay, I just got tickets to see this on the 14th. I got perfect seats (back row center) for an early afternoon 3D D-Box showing, because hey why not sit in motion control seats?

I plan on getting very stoned before the movie and then trying out a pizza joint that sleestak recommended on that side of town. It should be a good afternoon!
I skipped the pizza but the rest of the plan went perfectly.

I'd give the movie a solid 8.5/10. Good story, good acting, amazing CGI/"look", great action scenes, etc. I agree that the love story was the worst part of the movie but I don't think it was bad. Agree that it was kind of disappointing to end the way it did, but also understandable (as long as the inevitable sequel kicks major fucking ass).

The 3D was well done and often added quite a bit to the shot. The D-Box motion seats were fun as hell.

Next time I see it tho, I want to see it in regular IMAX so I can better focus on some of the details in the shots.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:19 PM
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And she was even worse - what did she plan on using to live after her creepy "anything for you" scene?
She did say she was going to buy a cheap knock-off heart to replace her super-advanced heart.
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:52 PM
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I forgot to mention that I was a little surprised at the level of gore/violence.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:31 AM
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She did say she was going to buy a cheap knock-off heart to replace her super-advanced heart.
And her dad told her that only the super-advanced heart would run her URM-tech body, so without it she'd be a talking torso.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:00 PM
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I've seen trailers and been underwhelmed. She's definitely in the Uncanny Valley for me. Unless the reviews are boffo, I probably won't see it.
Not only is Alita a bit of an Uncanny Valley Sally to me. The movie itself looks dumb. I don't know how to describe it. Compared to other "live action anime", it doesn't look "mind blowing" like The Matrix or fun like Scott Pilgrim. It just sort of looks flat and lifeless like Ghost in the Shell.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:56 PM
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I just got back from seeing it. I quite liked it. The love story is a little too formulaic as mentioned above. I bought her emotional reaction to life's situations (the early part took a little getting used to). I liked her being proud of who and what she was in spite of Dr Ido. (I get so tired of movies where some hero says something like "I shouldn't exist. Blah, blah, blah".) I like that she took her blows and wasn't invincible. The action sequences were very intense and enjoyable. I like that Ido wasn't stereotypical "I know better than you" father figure. Sure he had his moments. But, he knew when he was beaten and that he wasn't in a place to be making demands. He bowed graciously. I'm looking forward to a sequel.
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Old 02-16-2019, 12:39 AM
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I enjoyed it. It was entertaining and I would recommend. I will say that I could tell it came from a highly revered (and thus highly copied) source material. It kind of suffers from the "Die Hard' effect. There's been so many copies and derivative works that I didn't feel like I was seeing anything new in terms of ideas or even visuals (which were gorgeous). I agree the romance was the weak point. Was she supposed to come off as a psycho girlfriend? I will see the sequel, but I might need a refresher since I don't think this is going to be that memorable.
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Old 02-16-2019, 02:41 PM
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I may see it and would like for it to be a good movie. It's not getting very favorable reviews, however. Metacritic has it around 55%, and Rotten Tomatoes at 60%. That's not disastrously bad, but it's exceptionally "meh".
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Old 02-16-2019, 04:14 PM
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I think it's worth noting that the Rotten Tomatoes audience score is 92% liked it.

IMDB has it at 7.6/10 with 21,798 votes.

I see a lot of critics on RT saying a variation of "too complicated", which I remember was also a major complaint made of The Matrix.
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:10 PM
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Went and watched it tonight.
Good movie, the eyes didn't have the uncanny valley vibe for me. They were a signal, a reminder that she was something different, possibly fundamentally so.

The only complaint I have was the scene where Hugo tells his crew he's done. Very poorly done and rather jarring. It just didn't fit with the rest of the movie somehow and it somewhat pulled me out of being immersed in that world and made the rest of the love story plot lame and it did somewhat weaken the last bit of the movie after that.
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  #43  
Old 02-17-2019, 08:58 AM
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I just watched it dubbed in Russian and with Russian sub-titles, neither of which I speak, so I missed a lot. What was the deal witg building 33 and Novas blue eyes?
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Old 02-17-2019, 09:14 AM
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Like you, I found it entertaining, with the weakest elements being the romance. Critics are complaining that the ending turns the movie into a 2-hour prologue, but it was an interesting prologue.
I saw it last night and LOVED it. I've seen movies before (who hasn't?) where I feel like they clearly set it up for a sequel and my feelings on that are "ok, whatever". But this movie, by the ending I wanted the rest of the story, so I'm amped up for a sequel. There's a LOT of her backstory that I want to learn about now. I also very much want to see her get up to the sky city and kick Nova's ass.

I guess I fell in love with Alita, the character. I love strong female characters and I could find no fault with her. I agree the romance was silly and trite. She didn't need it to be a wonderful character, and it was simply a distraction.

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I see a lot of critics on RT saying a variation of "too complicated", which I remember was also a major complaint made of The Matrix.
Ugh, critics. I never read critics, especially for sci-fi and fantasy stories, because so many of them seem to need to be spoon fed the plot.

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I just watched it dubbed in Russian and with Russian sub-titles, neither of which I speak, so I missed a lot. What was the deal witg building 33 and Novas blue eyes?
Why in the world did you see it in Russian? Go see it in English and you'll enjoy it so much more. Whenever Nova (the main villian up in the sky city) was spying on people, he did so through other people's eyes, thus they turned blue. In the English version you could also tell because the way each character talked and behaved changed - you could tell it was Nova talking through them.
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Old 02-17-2019, 09:42 AM
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Why in the world did you see it in Russian? Go see it in English and you'll enjoy it so much more.
Not a lot of English language movies in the steppes of Kazakhstan.

Thanks for the clarifications.
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Old 02-17-2019, 10:13 AM
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I saw it last night and LOVED it. I've seen movies before (who hasn't?) where I feel like they clearly set it up for a sequel and my feelings on that are "ok, whatever". But this movie, by the ending I wanted the rest of the story, so I'm amped up for a sequel. There's a LOT of her backstory that I want to learn about now. I also very much want to see her get up to the sky city and kick Nova's ass.
There's no clearer sign that there won't be a sequel than this: Nova was played by Edward Norton. I don't think he's ever been asked back to anything.
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Old 02-17-2019, 10:36 AM
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JcW, I disagree about the need for the romantic subplot, regardless of how poorly it was depicted. Remember, at the beginning of the movie, she is in essence a blank slate, no memories at all, an infant so to speak, the romance was needed as a part of her personal development. Part of her Hero's Journey.
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:37 PM
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And by the same token, one can hardly criticize that she handled the romance immaturely.
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Old 02-17-2019, 06:11 PM
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Long article on BO performance this weekend (tr;dr: nobody's popping bottles of champagne.) Sadly, this will probably hurt the prospects of live-action American adaptations of other manga, so don't plan on seeing ScarJo star in this.
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Old 02-17-2019, 10:51 PM
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So after seeing the movie, I was curious about the anime, so I watched it today. My gosh it was terrible. No character development whatsoever, to the point where their actions barley make sense. Now I know why the romance was maybe overemphasized in the movie, in the anime Alita and Hugo probably didn't spend more 5 minutes together. (Yet she was still weirdly obsessed with him). I'm going to assume the anime is an extremely abridged version of, what I would hope, was a vastly Superior manga.
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