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Random Thoughts: Alita: Battle Angel 3D, or It Is Possible To Fall In Love With a Robot

"Let's see them boob–URK!"

•I love Japanese manga. True, I haven’t read that much; just a handful, maybe. But that’s only because of the scarcity of mangas when I was growing up. Apparently, manga has a wealth of material that can be translated into cinematic narratives, and Hollywood hasn’t even begun to tap into that potential yet.

•These Mexicans are really good filmmakers. Let me run down a few names here: Del Toro. Cuarón. Iñárritu. Okay, wait… Apparently, director Robert Rodriguez is Mexican-American. Still, there’s Mexican blood in there. Why are these Mexicans such good visual storytellers?

•Okay, so James Cameron produced this film. Great. I mean, Cameron might be a bit lacking in the narrative aspect of his films to elevate them into cinematic masterpieces. But the guy knows his craft. The guy knows filmmaking. From the technical to the technological, the guy knows everything about film. Which is why I can’t wait for the Avatar sequels.

•All right, so this is actually one of the very, very few films this year (and these past few years) that was actually shot on native 3D (meaning actual stereo 3D, using two cameras). One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that real 3D seems a bit mild, unlike converted 3D, which tends to pop out exaggeratedly. The reason for this is that with converted 3D, the stereographers have more control over the elements, so they can choose which element they want to bring to the fore and which they want to subdue. With native 3D, the lens separation happens during filming, leaving the stereographer with very little room to manipulate the stereo effect.

•Andy Serkis used to be the king of motion capture acting. Well, maybe not the king, but he was Hollywood’s go-to guy after showing us what motion capture can do with his performance as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings movies. Even during 2013’s Tintin, Serkis still outperformed everybody. Now, however, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Did you know it’s called “performance capture” now? They don’t just capture an actor’s body movements, now they can capture even an actor’s facial expressions. Although I think there are two possible reasons why Alita’s facial expressions look so realistic: 1) Rosa Salazar, aside from being a good actress, is also a very talented performance capture artist; or 2) the technology has advanced so much to the point that even regular actors can be as good as Andy Serkis was ten years ago.

•My god, Weta is awesome. They were already awesome since The Lord of the Rings, but now they’re even more awesome. I can’t think of a word better than awesome, but if there was such a word, Weta would be that. The special effects in this film are just so flawless. I’m pretty sure Weta would be the ones handling the Avatar sequels, and I’m just really excited to see how good the technology would be by that time.

•Okay, so I guess it is possible to fall in love with a robot. I used to be very vocal about my opposition to any form of human-robot romantic relations, even if it was with the formless artificial intelligence in 2013’s Her. But Alita: Battle Angel seems to have shown me that I shouldn’t speak with finality, because it is possible. Take Alita, for example. Sure, she’s got huge eyes, but you’d get past that after a bit. Alita had me with her smile. Why did the filmmakers have to make her so photorealistic? Damn you, Weta.

Yoga with Adrienne Alita

Alita Battle Angel. USA. 2019.

Original rating: 8/10
Christoph Waltz: +0.1
Jennifer Connelly: +0.1
Mahershala Ali: +0.1
Character designs: +0.1
Final rating: 8.4/10


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