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.
The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power: Review | An Epic, Cinematic Journey Through Middle-Earth
Sleeping evil, long-lost heroes, and a world without wizards? The Rings of Power is middle-Earth like you’ve never seen it before. The highly-anticipated Prime Video series The Lord of The rings: The Rings of Power is an ethereal and irresistible cinematic masterpiece. This season brings to the screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.
The scope and scale of the story are immense as we begin to forge a new path through Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of compelling, familiar and new characters as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the farthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.
This fantastical universe created by J.R.R. Tolkien is much bigger and more expansive than just the events featured in The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. This second age is defied by many events, victories, and defeats, but perhaps it’s well known to be the time when the Rings of Power were created. Spanning 3500 years, we witness the Harefoots, the Elves, Mankind, and dwarves all occupying a very different Middle-Earth, one where there is love but also darkness as a nameless shadow is waiting. The time period is documented extensively in The Silmarillion, Tolkien’s posthumously published book which was finished, edited and released by the author’s son, Christopher Tolkien in 1977. This is the setting of Prime Video’s The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power, the most ambitious streaming show ever made. Amazon bought the rights to the trilogy, The Appendices, and The Hobbit and with the vast amount of material they’ve created something ambitious and worthy of Tolkien. This onscreen return showcases the mythology as the creative team has envisioned a sprawling bespoke series that’ll eventually be told across multiple seasons. The Second Age of Middle-Earth truly is an amazing untold story with themes focusing on fantasy and heart, dark sorcery and political drama, as one moment you’re exploring the landscape with the Harfoots and the next in the Elven realm discussing the fates of the Kingdom.
ASSEMBLING A FELLOWSHIP
Some of the characters in The Rings of power will be familiar. Thanks to the everlasting nature of elven-kind we see younger versions of Galadriel and Elrond, previously played by Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving in Peter Jackson’s trilogy. Both these characters maintain the whole history of Middle-Earth, having lived through all the Three Ages. Galadriel now played by Morfydd Clark brings such an outstanding performance as The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power gives viewers a younger, grounded take on the character. Clark brings naivete to this immortal being who dons such graceful armour as this warrior has an instinct that evil is not finished. Elrond now played by Robert Aramayo is an architect and politician, he has strong ambitions as the herald to Gil-Galad, the King of Lindon, the elven kingdom where Elron resides.
For each of the worlds in The Rings of Power, the creative team crafted a theme and their own language to show their beginnings, with the Elves being connected to a spiritual realm they have real ethereal quality, everything about them is shiny and lustrous. Contrast that with designing the Harfoots who are the ancestors of the Hobbits. They are much more primitive and live in the land. Harfoot are very endearing people and their styling is very much based on natural elements. They’re also very earthy with large feet and from lying in the undergrowth they have bits of branches and moss tangled in their matted hair.
The Dwarves are thriving in their underground kingdom of Khazad-dum during the Second Age. They’re mystique in their culture but you’ll see an expansive amount of gold down there. They are a strong-knit community with very traditional ways of being, they wear their hearts on their sleeves and are not afraid to get their hands dirty. Disa and Durin played by Sophia Nomvete and Owain Arthur are the Princess and Prince of these Misty Mountains.
Headlining this ensemble cast are Cynthia Addai-Robinson (The Accountant), Robert Aramayo (HBO’s Game of Thrones), Owain Arthur (BBC’s Casualty), Maxim Baldry (Mr. Bean’s Holiday), Nazanin Boniadi (Showtime’s Homeland), Morfydd Clark (Saint Maud), Ismael Cruz Córdova (Showtime’s Ray Donovan), Charles Edwards (Netflix’s The Crown), Trystan Gravelle (ITV’s Mr. Selfridge), Sir Lenny Henry (Netflix’s The Witcher: Blood Origin), Ema Horvath (What Lies Below), Markella Kavenagh (True History of the Kelly Gang), Tyroe Muhafidin (Caravan), Sophia Nomvete (Award-winning UK Theatre actor), Lloyd Owen (Apollo 18), Megan Richards (Wanderlust), Dylan Smith (Maze Runner: The Death Cure), Charlie Vickers (Netflix’s Medici), Leon Wadham (Go Girls), Benjamin Walker (The Golden Compass), Daniel Weyman (BBC’s Silent Witness), and Sara Zwangobani (Monarch Cove).
Each actor had a unique challenge. Some had to follow in the footsteps of iconic performances and others got to bring iconic Tolkien characters to the screen for the very first time. The show presents itself as a more diverse version of Middle-Earth, which has always been a theme in Tolkien’s work as he often wrote characters uniting, despite their different backgrounds.
JOURNEY BACK TO MIDDLE-EARTH
I’ve seen the first two episodes, and they are filled with the kind of special effects magic that fans of Peter Jackson’s “Lord Of The Rings” movies and Tolkien’s books will love. It’s such a hugely expansive series as you have this army of fantastic technicians, artists, and craftsmen bringing such detail to the project on an epic scale. There are creatures and monsters such as the terrifying Orcs, the beastly creatures are visually grotesque and horrid which perfectly fit this world that’s full of darkness and shadows. there is also fighting, battles, and armies galore. The series truly hits the ground running with its intense action but also throughout it carries hefty themes of good vs evil, morality, hope among grief and ultimately a fellowship. Through Television we are able to get more time with these characters as they interact with each other. The sheer scale of the project is such a technical achievement for streaming especially, there are over 9,500 VFX shots in the first season alone. Director J.A. Bayona directs the first two episodes with such grandeur, that he beautifully captures the picturesque landscapes of New Zealand as he enhances the story through visual elements which included the overall sense of beauty. The cinematography and the use of light are astonishing thanks to Oscar Faura. Everything I witnessed whilst watching the first two episodes was delicious, especially the score by Bear McCreary. The Soundtrack which is available now honours the legacy as he created 15 new themes and melodies, it features a ninety-piece orchestra, plus a 40-voice choir. The score alone will transport you right back to Middle-Earth.
Have you ever wondered what else is out there beyond our wander? Ultimately The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power an Ethereal & irresistible Cinematic Masterpiece. The scope & scale of the story is immense as we forge a new path through Tolkien’s Middle-Earth! Features stunning visuals, Storytelling, and compelling characters! Writers and showrunner McKay and Payne have written an unexpected journey full of twists, turns, and surprises.
THE RINGS OF POWER, from Amazon Studios and JD Payne & Patrick McKay, will premiere exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories around the world in 32 languages on Friday, September 2, with new episodes available weekly.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Review | A Meta Lucid-Trip
Nicholas Cage stars as Nick Cage in the action-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Creatively unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, the fictionalised version of Cage must accept a $1 Million offer to attend the birthday of a dangerous superfan (Pedro Pascal). Things take a wildly unexpected turn when Cage is recruited by a CIA operative (Tiffany Haddish) and forced to live up to his own legend, channelling his most iconic and beloved on-screen characters in order to save himself and his loved ones. With a career built for this very moment, the seminal award-winning actor must take on the role of a lifetime: Nick Cage.
From filmmakers, Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a sincere, authentic, and hilarious love letter to Nicholas Cage. It’s also an absolute hoot and delightfully bonkers as we take a rollercoaster ride through his iconic filmography. Full of quirky and heartfelt moments, the film showcases the most uncaged performance from the man himself as, after all, it’s the role he was born to play.
Nicholas Cage is nothing less than a screen legend whose iconic pictures include The Rock, Face/Off, Con Air, Moonstruck, Honeymoon in Vegas, and Academy Awarding winning turn in Leaving Las Vegas. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent builds upon that renowned work and twists and turns it with an imagined “Nick Cage”. He’s able to do any genre from romantic comedies, avant-garde films like Mandy and Wild at Heart, and big tentpole franchises such as National Treasure.
The film is a homage to his body of work and the genres that he’s worked in. He’s a man known for taking risks early in his career that paid off handsomely but in the later years, he’s taken to independent film work some heading straight to streaming. Mandy, Joe, Prisoners of Ghostland and Pig are among my favourites. Each is interesting ranging from unusual to insane.
In the movie “Nick Cage” is a fictionalised version of the star, imagined as a once-highly respected actor who has fallen on hard times and is craving a return to box office glory and prestige. But his waning career is only one of his problems. The faux Cage’s megalomania has poisoned his relationships with his ex-wife Olivia (Sharon Horgan) and daughter Addy (Lily Sheen), unfortunately, though he can’t see it as the fictional Cage is feeling unfulfilled and rejected. This is in contrast with the real Nicholas Cage who recently received his best reviews for his performance in Pig
Nick becomes frustrated and a little unhinged, when he loses out on a role that he’s desperate to inhabit so when his smarmy agent played by Neil Patrick Harris extends him a lifeline with an offer to attend a birthday party for a cool payday of one million dollars, Nick despite his instincts reluctantly agrees, and hops on a plane to meet the birthday boy/ cage superfan in picturesque Mallorca, Spain.
Upon arriving in Mallorca and being greeted personally by Javi, Nick is completely checked out until he discovers that he and his host have much in common and begin to bond. Both are cinephiles and share a love of everything from The Cabinet of Dr Caligari to Paddington 2.
That’s not all they have in common. The wealthy man is just as neurotic as his guest of honour and they both find themselves looking for inspiration from the actor’s famously bold audacious characters.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is an intriguing change of pace for Pascal, he inhabits the role of Javi, but as neurotic as he is the character turns out to be an international arms dealer and crime boss. Both Cage and Pascal have incredible chemistry together and truly form a bromance. They are so much fun together and unapologetic about their shared admiration. It is infectious.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was such a hoot & delightfully BONKERS!! a rollercoaster ride through Cage’s iconic filmography & full of quirky & heartfelt moments The most uncaged performance was suave in this meta lucid trip.
Eraser: Reborn | Official Trailer
It is based on U.S. Marshal Mason Pollard who is specialized in engineering the fake deaths of witnesses that leaves no trace of their existence.
VOD: March 31, 2022
Dominic Sherwood, McKinley Belcher III, Mampho Brescia
It is based on U.S. Marshal Mason Pollard who is specialized in engineering the fake deaths of witnesses that leaves no trace of their existence.
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