-- Dr. Dyson Ido (as played by Christoph Waltz)
For example, regular readers here know that I have my issues with what I'd argue is the overuse of CGI in filmdom. I'm not picking on any feature when I suggest that storytellers -- those who can afford the really, really good CGI -- have come to rely on it a bit too heavily in delivering cinematic flair for those in the audience; but such trickery is really the province of an all new generation of viewers. Heck, whole films get assembled in post-production these days, so those of us who prefer the more practical approaches over videogame trickery are, sadly, a dying breed.
Sigh. It sucks getting old, folks. Get used to it.
In any event, I first watched Alita: Battle Angel on cable, and this was during a bit of online promotion wherein the franchise's more ardent fans were claiming this was the Second Coming of cinema. I'm pretty good at ignoring that hyperbole -- the film is very good, despite an occasionally predictable script (in part) from Hollywood's legendary wizard James Cameron, but it ain't Casablanca, folks -- but such campaigns do have a habit of pushing my buttons to the negative. Were I a few decades younger, then maybe I could've better understood the fanfare a bit more; but I will say that where I agreed with their screaming lot is that I think Alita was, perhaps, one of the best examples that tapped into the potential of anime with a live action construct.
(Yes, yes, yes: I'm aware that rendering most of a film in CGI kinda/sorta defeats the 'live action construct,' but methinks you get my point.)
The Japan animation scene isn't for everything, mind you, and that's mostly because it has its own style, pace, and general storytelling sensibilities. Alita -- with all of its strengths and weaknesses -- might be one of the first Western films that successfully embraced a lot of those and delivered something audiences worldwide could both understand, relate to, and cheer. That's the trick, you know: a project has to come together in such a way as to garner fans around the globe in order to be a legitimate phenomenon ... otherwise it'll never quite transcend a cult appeal and become a bit more conventional.
Still, even someone -- let's say the average moviegoer -- who hasn't watched so much as an hour of Star Wars or Star Trek know of those franchises' existence. It's very likely that those folks have heard of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Captain Kirk, and Mr. Spock. The same cannot be said of Alita, and I'm thinking it'll take much more than a single adventure up in the lights to truly give that Battle Angel the legs -- cybernetic or not -- she needs to join the growing legion of genre heroes who do great service on the silver screen. I don't say that as an insult; it's just the reality of where this possible franchise stands in its current state.
I'm all in for another one. Now that Cameron and director Robert Rodriguez have dispensed with an origins picture the real battle can begin.
Here's the plot summary as provided by our friends at IMDB.com:
"A deactivated cyborg's revived, but can't remember anything of her past and goes on a quest to find out who she is."
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!