Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary

Days up to Alita’s release has been surprisingly underhyped considering that it’s an adaptation from a manga classic. Mangas such as Death Note and Ghost in the Shell, that has previously received live-action adaptations were huge disappointments. So, when media moguls James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez announced that they’re going to be giving it a book to film adaptation, maybe not everyone was budged. However, Alita did not really disappoint and watching it on the big screen at Star Cineplex was a worthwhile experience.

Staying true to the source content

Most commonly the complaint from loyal fanbases after a book to film (or manga to film) adaptations starts from the story not being true to the real canon. In this case, the film’s producer and co-writer James Cameron is actually and fan of the original manga created by Yukito Kishiro. Cameron has planned to create an adaptation of Alita for over a decade so it only makes sense that he stayed true to the original content.

Outstanding visuals

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary, but here’s why you should watch it 1

Since the protagonist of this film is a female cyborg, it called for extremely polished and high-tech CGI. This meant that they had to spend a staggering 200 million dollars just to make the movie. This did not leave much to spend behind actually promoting it. The visual representation of the character Alita is extremely realistic, sans her eyes. Those were left exceptionally large to stay true to the manga.

The manga actually provides an explanation for why her eyes are so huge in proportion to the rest of her face but since the movie takes on so much story and condenses it into a two-hour show, it is understandable that it didn’t explore much of her origins.

The action

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The action sequences of sci-fi films can be turned legendary if put in the right hands. James Cameron has explored such aspects in his previous works such as The Terminator. Much of the action in Alita: Battle Angel is surrounding a sport they play called Motorball. It’s kind of an amalgam of roller derby and rugby that is mainly played by the cyborg inhabitants of their fictional world.

The fluid action sequences and incredible motion capture could’ve only been possible with a significant budget.

Alita moves through the air with ease, and many of the cyborgs fell organic to the proceedings.

Motorball becomes one of the more thrilling elements of the film. Among many action-packed scenes, the one in which Alita encounters Nyssiana stands out.

Nyssiana is a cyborg assassin who ruthlessly pursues Alita in the film. She is a film-original character and resembles a minor antagonist who appeared in the first volume of the manga.

The Plot

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The whole movie is essentially a buildup to a much bigger battle of sorts. The movie begins with cybernetics physician Dyson Ido(Christoph Waltz) finding the remnants of a cyborg under a fabled floating city called Zalem. Ido rebuilds the cyborg and gives her the name Alita. Alita is amnesiac at first but like all movies that feature characters with memory loss, certain situations trigger flashbacks.

Since, Alita: Battle Angel movie is only based on the first four volumes of the manga, so several plot lines and characters were not adapted for the film. Dr. Ido’s story differs a bit in the movie because he is not the main character in every arc of the manga. The name of his manga counterpart is Daisuke Ido. Rosa Salazar characterizes Alita as someone who is just discovering a magical world, but who also has a lot of command over her life. She’s innocent but not afraid. And when the time comes to protect those that she loves, she is ready. The only element in the plot that didn’t play out that well, was the romantic element. Character dialogues and moments of climax had scopes of improvement too.

Complexity in character building

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Once Alita begins to unlock her potential as a Battle Angel, the movie has an awful lot to juggle. Not only the origin of her advance-tech heart (so powerful it could power the whole city for a year!) but the people who seek to steal it for nefarious purposes, including Ido’s ex-wife Chiren (Jennifer Connelly), another cybernetics doctor who works with Vector (Mahershala Ali) to create superpowered cyberathletes to compete in Motorball.

Alita and her romantic counterpart Hugo have an instant connection with one another and that plays a vital role in the story up to the very end. The revelation of Desty Nova in Alita: Battle Angel was one of the biggest surprises in the film. Desty Nova is a mysterious figure who is central to the final arc of the Alita: Battle Angel film. He possesses several bodies during the film and appears to Alita in flashbacks.  Nova is also a major figure in the manga, and he becomes the main antagonist of the story.

The verdict

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary

Whether you think the storyline of Alita: Battle Angel is special or not, the movie in its entirety keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Despite its long duration of run time, It doesn’t drag and leaves you wanting more.

Since the movie ends on kind of a cliffhanger, we can only hope that the directors and producers will come up with a sequel. In the meantime, you should watch this one while it’s still running in the theatres because it’s a sensational experience whether you love futuristic sci-fi or not. Get your tickets from here.

The Bhawal King: back from the dead

The just-released trailer for the upcoming Indian film of Srijit Mukherjee, Ek Je Chilo Raja, is worth all the hype. Here’s why. The movie is a biopic of the infamous Bhawal King, who in the 1920s, presumably came back from the dead as a monk, to reclaim his kingdom from the British. The movie also doubles as a brilliant courtroom drama about one of the longest running court trials in Indian history.

Ramendra Narayan Roy was the second prince of the Bhawal zamindars in Bengal, a part of which is modern day Bangladesh. He was popular among his subjects and spent a lavish lifestyle hunting, in festivities and in the company of women. In 1909, he contracted syphilis and went to Darjeeling for further treatment. He presumably died there and was cremated. His young wife Bibhabati Deb later moved to Dhaka to live with her brother. The remaining Bhawal princes died later on and the British took over the Bhawal estate. Tragic, but the story is only about to begin.

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Raja Ramendra Narayan

One fine day in 1920, a Sanyasi covered in ashes arrives at the Buckland Bund in Dhaka, near the Ruplal House. He sits on the street, meditating for four months and attracts public attention. Under public pressure, the Sanyasi reveals that he is Ramendra Narayan Roy, the second prince of Bhawal. To prove his identity, he even discloses private information of the prince which only the prince himself or those close to him knew. Many of the relatives, though doubtful at first, later recognizes him and accepts him.

On 29 May 1921, the claimant arrives at the Bhawal estate with two lawyers to meet the district magistrate and collector J. H. Lindsay, who recorded his claim.

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Popular Bangladeshi actress Jaya Ahsan plays a significant role in “Ek Je Chilo Raja”.

Amid much public row, the British government eventually filed a case terming the claimant as an imposter. And thus began the infamous Bhawal case, one of the longest running trials in Indian judicial history. The trial ran for 16 years without a final verdict. The claimant, who insisted that he was the returned king, died of a stroke before the trial ended. The government could never prove that he was an imposter.

Jishu Sengupta stars as the Bhawal prince in the upcoming movie. Anjan Dutta and Jaya Ahsan also appear in prominent roles. The biopic is set to be released on 12th October 2018.

We’ll bring you an official review of the film after it is released.

Sincerely Yours, Dhaka: Bangladeshi anthology in Busan Film Festival

“Sincerely Yours, Dhaka”, a Bangladeshi anthology film, has been selected to screen at Busan International Film Festival, this October.

Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in South Korea is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia, recognizing outstanding film making for the last 22 years.  “Sincerely Yours, Dhaka” is the only entry from Bangladesh. It has been selected in the festival’s “A Window on Asian Cinema” section which highlights different styles and visions within Asian cinema.

The film is the first anthology film of Bangladesh, made up of 11 short films by 11 young Bangladeshi filmmakers. The filmmakers are Abdullah Al Noor, Golam Kibria Farooki, Krishnendu Chattopadhyay, Mahmudul Islam, Md Rabiul Alam, Mir Mukarram Hossain, Nuhash Humayun, Rahat Rahman, Syed Ahmed Shawki, Syed Saleh Ahmed Sobhan and Tanvir Ahsan.

Ranging from bizarre, heartwarming to heartbreaking, this anthology film will take the audience on a bittersweet journey through Dhaka City. A background actor who’ll do anything to be the star. A wannabe gangster who’s out to prove himself. Two young girls who just want to get a drink in a city where alcohol’s illegal. An attempted murder, a stolen car, a refugee crisis – these stories make up Sincerely Yours, Dhaka.
Sincerely Yours, Dhaka is a love letter to a city that is often difficult to love.

11 vignettes by 11 Bangladeshi filmmakers come together to tell fragmented stories about one character – Dhaka City itself.

The film is Produced by Impress Telefilms. It is currently in post-production and will be released in Bangladesh as soon as the censor board gives clearance.

It is a proud achievement for the industry and the nation, for the efforts of young Bangladeshi directors to be recognized, on their first go of this genre and format, on an international platform.