I saw the movie today / yesterday now, because I had to sleep a little after it to calm down and sort my feelings. I wasn't able to watch it in IMAX, like moooV suggested, because thare are no IMAX screens here in the city where I live, but, to my complete surprise, I didn't hate the movie like I was sure to, I almost
liked it even. Right after Ido found Alita, the movie separates itself so much from the manga that I felt I was watching another story. Ido had been married and had a daughter, Gonzo being replaced for a black woman that is there only to fill in racial and gender quotas because she has almost no lines in the movie, Hugo being introduced so early in the plot and Ido beeing related to the making of motorball players when, in the manga, he didn't even know motorball before Alita flees away from him. My wife got the reason why Ido became a mourning ex father: since they announced the cast, I thought that Christoph Waltz was too old to play Ido, a character in his later twenties or early thirties. In the manga, the initial relationship between Ido and Alita is clearly related to the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. Ido is making
Alita to be his lover
. After she rebels against the idea of being a pretty doll, he settles down with the role of a mentor and a father like figure. Cameron and Rodriguez changed that because the conservative US audience would not approve even the suggestion of love beween a thirty YO guy and a teenager (even in spite of Alita being actually over 200 YO - 300 in the film). And by doing so, they found an additional role for Chiren- Ido's ex wife. Despite Christoph Waltz being well above the age, he plays a very convincing doctor Ido, I give him that.
Rosa Salazar, or better saying, the CG animation, also plays a convincing and very human
character that is not quite the Alita I know, but manages to build a feeling of emparthy between it
and the spectator. Cameron/Rodriguez depiction of Alita is almost
beautiful but the idiotic huge eyes that I wasn't able to forget, spoils that beauty and does no justice to Salazar's actual face. The choice of giving her entire bust the apparence of flesh was also very wrong. Putting those details aside, both bodies are beautiful and convincing. We got a lot of naked cyborg fanservice. I liked how they paid attention to the fact that the berserker body is mostly blue, purple and gray since that aren't many color illustrations of it. The glassy textures are also a nice touch. Now I understand why moooV liked the CG so much. By the other hand, the hair is a mess and never looked right to me. Yet we must take into account that Alita's hair changes quite a bit during the years, perhaps that confused the CG artists.
Hugo, in the manga, is a pipsqueak pain in the ass, too lame to deserve Alita's love, however Keean Johnson gives another life to the character making bearable the excessive importance and screen time they give to Hugo in the film. There is a problem though: the motivation for Hugo wanting to go to Zalem is unknown since there is no backgrownd about his deceased brother.
The Panzer Kunst
is almost a character by itself inside the story due to its huge importance to the plot. Panzer Kunst is effectively part of Alita's persona, take it from her and we don't have Alita anymore. And the Panzer Kunst choreography in the movie is lame, really lame. Too much slow, too much generic. Nowadays Hollywood can do much better. Spider Man's and Captain America's unique fighting styles are so well depicted in the movies, so nimble, fast and energetic, so why they couldn't do the same with the Panzer Kunst? Alita (and the grinder cutter) are fucking supersonic, damn it!
Grewishka/Makaku became a flat, plain evil character, nothing more than a puppet under Nova's control. There are no black and white good or evil characters in Alita's saga. Makaku is no exception, a very cruel life made him what he was. We must remember that Alita cried when he dies. Hollywood, or the US audience, will never outgrow the childish scheme of good vs evil? Probably not since they even classify entire countries under that simplistic dichotomy.
Thus we got that depiction of Nova: the very essence of evil. Is there anybody among us that doesn't like Nova? That sees him as plain evil? Nova has as much importance as Ido in shaping Alita's persona. Nova is just another victim of the tyranny behind Tiphares/Zalem. Or, perhaps like he himself woud define, just another living being subjected to the flow of karma that is life. Trindad woud be more suited to the role of a god like evil villain, in spite of even him isn't plain evil.
Chiren/Jennifer Connelly is a character non existent in the manga, like we know very well. She gets the role of the wife that ido neve had. I don't understand why is she in the movie but since she is there she assumes part of the role that belonged to Ido being also a cyberphysician.
Vector/Mahershala Ali is what he is in the manga, so far so good, but soon we discover that he is yet another puppet to Nova. His death was premature, since Vector is of relevance in the Tuned Agent/Barjack arch.
Zapan got more development than Grewishka but in essence he is just another evil guy. Making him the owner of the Damascus Blade was a forced way to introduce that weapon so early in the plot. Ed Skrein plays a cocky Zapan but he was a good choice for the role.
About forced situations, there are a lot of them in the film: Alita and Hugo going into Kansas to provoke the hunter warriors, Alita becoming a motorball player just for fun -- worse than that: Ido helping
Alita to become a player, the comple te opposite of what we see in the manga!
Motorball is in the movie just for the sake of the action scenes, for the thrill they don't manage to give. There was no time to properly develop the background of the game and its players. They left clear that if there is a sequel, it will be motorball based.
Another element they shouldn't have crammed into the movie was those flashes of Alita's past. If Gerda was shown, why not Erica instead? The battle on the Moon and the attack on Zalem, sigh! They mention more than once that there were other cities like Zalem and they were all but one destroyed by a Martian strike? What a Mess!
It is almost morning now and I am starting to become tired, yet still there are many other things to comment, however most of them are problems that we noticed from the trailers alone. Things like Scrapyard and its citizens being so clean and cheerful. Gunnm Hyper Future Vision
was a product of the near future cyberpunk dystopia envisioned during the eighties and early nineties, like Ghost In The Shell, Akira, Dominion Tank Police, Eden and many other mangas that got proper anime adaptations, plus the movie Bade Runner
of 1982. Scrapyard should be much like the Los Angeles shown in Blade Runner, but certainly Cameron/Rodriguez wanted to be as much original as their geniuses demands.
However in the end, it isn't a bad movie, it is much better than the usual crappy manga/anime/Japanese light novels adaptations Hollywood makes. It is a shadow of the manga, but at least it manages to be a shadow of it. People that doesn't know the manga may become interested in reading it after watching the movie. This movie was fair better than the previous Ghost In The Shell film and I am no more rooting for it to flop. The intention of making a sequel was clear, like I said before. I wish there won't be any though, but if there is, perhaps it wouldn't become all that bad.
Got myself a poster A3 size after buying the tickets, yay!