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Has Alita Broken the Live Action Curse? [SPOILERS]

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It’s no secret that the live-action adaptations of anime franchises have been… questionable at best. With such colossal flops as Ghost in the Shell and the Netflix adaptation of Death Note (how dare they stand where Light Yagami stood), it’s difficult to imagine that live action could ever be successful in portraying well loved anime series.

But you know what? Alita: Battle Angel was pretty dang good.

I know I warned you once already, but spoilers ahead. Like, the real big spoilery kind.

I went into it with pretty low expectations – I mean look at her freaky big eyes – but the sheer fact that they never addressed her oversized peepers made it somehow more acceptable to me. And that was just the first of many times I was pleasantly surprised.

Christoph Waltz was, as always, a genius and a treasure, and honestly, the plot was solid. There were a lot of pieces to wade through (motor ball, Alita’s past, Dr. Ido’s backstory, and introducing Nova to name a few) but I think it was paced well and presented the information in a cohesive, complete way.

I appreciate how the relationship between Ido and Alita was never twisted, the strong but subtle symbolism of Alita’s delicate, innocent, porcelain body being broken and exchanged for the true strength of her past, and I even appreciate that Motor ball was never explicitly explained but was fully understandable.

I think of all the things I could complain about, the most egregious offense is the token boyfriend. Of course, I understand that he serves a purpose, and I understand that he is necessary to take Alita from one motivation to the next. I just plain didn’t like him. Even in his death, his purpose was clear – only dying after he chose to be with her and I think that was a smart choice.

I’m certainly not trying to say it was a perfect movie, but I am saying that it was solid and enjoyable, which is more than most live-action anime adaptations can boast.

So what does this mean for future live-action adaptations of anime/manga? Only time will tell. But with a live-action Akira and Mobile Suit Gundam coming, let’s hope we’ve learned some things. And yeah, Death Note 2 is coming, but I would rather pretend that’s just not happening.

Here’s to 2019, and a possible future for actually decent live-action anime adaptations.

 

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Crawl: A Nerve-Racking Horror In Which The Perfectly Computer-Generated Alligators Scare You

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You’re not my coach anymore, dad.
That top predator crap doesn’t help.

Did you think the last “Lake Placid” episode from the eponymous franchise was downright worthless, stupid and nonsensical (like I did)? Well, let me put your mind at ease. Despite some laughable facts, this reptile-horror “Crawl” isn’t bad at all. You can even call it exciting at times. And compared to “Lake Placide“, the bite-sized animals are frequently in the picture and the CGI ensures that they look frighteningly realistic. You just have to use the same ritual as with “Hobbs & Shaw“. Namely, give your brain for safekeeping when entering the movie theater. It’s not of the same absurd level as “Sharknado“, but if you don’t do that, you will be annoyed about multiple idiocies.

 

Crawl

 

How stupid can you be?

There are of course many “How stupid can you be?“-moments. For example. You can’t blame the day-trippers in “Jaws“. They were just enjoying the summer sun on the beach and the refreshing water. Did they know that this giant white shark was planning to consume a few splashing bathers? It’s a pity they ended up as lunch. But, you can’t say the same about Haley (Kaya Scodelario), who, after a disappointing swimming performance, comes up with the grandiose idea to see if everything is okay with her father Dave (Barry Pepper). Nothing earth-shattering, were it not for her to enter a restricted area controlled by the authorities because of a destructive hurricane of category 5. Even a roadblock by the local police didn’t stop her.

 

Crawl

 

It doesn’t take long before the suspense begins.

The advantage of “Crawl” is the short playing time (87 minutes). Nowadays it’s perfectly normal for decent films to exceed the 2-hour limit. It seems that quality nowadays depends on the total duration of a film. Fortunately, there are exceptions to that rule. Not that “Crawl” is of high quality, but an advantage is they don’t spend too much time to bring the necessary suspense. After around 20 minutes, Haley and her father are already in a difficult situation in the basement of the parental home. Dave is badly injured. And three giant alligators are impatiently waiting for their feeding-time. Time for the second “How stupid can you be?” moment. What would you do if you had to leave your safe hiding place to recover a lost item? In any case, after getting hold of the trinket, I would return to that safe place again. Logical reasoning is certainly not Haley’s strongest characteristic. She does the opposite, with all its consequences.

 

Crawl

 

Not a complicated film.

Let’s not make it too complicated!“. That’s what the creators of “Crawl” thought apparently. Everything takes place at one claustrophobic location. And the entire film is carried by just two main characters. Occasionally, a few additional characters appear. But their function is limited to playing live fish food. In other words, they usually do not remain intact for long. And for the lessons “Logical reasoning”, these good-for-nothings didn’t get high grades either. And the way in which they involved the alligators in the story is also simple. A hurricane that causes rising water and you are stuck with a whole swarm of those bloodthirsty monsters in your backyard. Only the discovery that Haley made in the basement wasn’t 100% correct in my opinion. Coincidentally there was a pregnant alligator who used the flood to shamelessly dump her eggs in Dave’s basement at lightning speed. Well, in this way there was also an explanation for the aggressive attitude of the nest of primitive reptiles.

 

Crawl

 

A nerve-racking horror.

There were a few things in the movie that really annoyed me. First, there was the contrived and corny father-daughter relationship. They are both sitting there with torn limbs and shattered bones, and still, they need to philosophize about what went wrong in the past. I also thought it was a bit unbelievable how they endured the brutal attacks (with the necessary injuries) and apparently afterward had absolutely no problems with this. Even after a heart massage and mouth-to-mouth breathing, one jumps back into action in a short time. And I will never bet my money on a swimming competition between an alligator and a trained swimmer. I’m sure that the streamlined body of the reptile will ensure that it wins effortlessly. Even without a swim cap and aerodynamic Speedo swimming trunks. But still, “Crawl” is a nerve-racking horror in which the perfectly computer-generated alligators scare you. Most original in the film I found the bathroom scene. Believe me, after this film, hearing the song “See you later Alligator” by Bill Haley will scare the hell out of you.

 

My rating 6/10
Links: IMDB

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Netflix | 6 Underground | Official Trailer – HD

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Genre:

Action, Thriller

Release Date:

December 2019 (Netflix)

Director:

Michael Bay

Cast:

Ryan Reynolds, Ben Hardy, Mélanie Laurent, Adria Arjona, Dave Franco, Corey Hawkins

Plot Summary:

‘6 Underground’ is an upcoming American vigilante action thriller film directed by Michael Bay and written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Dave Franco, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Adria Arjona, Corey Hawkins, and Ben Hardy.

Six billionaires fake their own deaths and form an elite vigilante squad in order to take down notorious criminals.

 

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Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn | Official Trailer- HD

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Crime

Release Date:

February 7, 2020 (Post Production)

Director:

Cathy Yan

Cast:

Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead Ewan McGregor, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez

Plot Summary:

After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.

 

 

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