Alita

Vampire Owl: Do you know that a machine graveyard is now being prepared at the zombie graveyards by the werewolves?

Vampire Bat: What? You can’t have machines in a zombie world. It is a very dangerous situation that can lead to terrible consequences.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but the news says that they have already started it.

Vampire Bat: When there is a machine graveyard, it is called a scrapyard. They don’t even know that much?

Vampire Owl: Werewolves were never the experts in learning.

Vampire Bat: So, how far has this been present there?

Vampire Owl: Ever since the movie Alita: Battle Angel released.

Vampire Bat: Well, at least they haven’t based something on the Underworld series or some Frankenstein movie this time.

Vampire Owl: Well, you know them. They are never sure about what they do.

Vampire Bat: If they want something to base their lives on, tell them to watch something like Byzantium or Doctor Sleep.

[Gets a ghee cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Three hundred years have passed since a great war destroyed most of Earth. This war known as “The Fall” left the planet devastated, and divided it into the highly advanced Zalem City in the sky, and Iron City on the ground which was very crowded even though it had some of advanced technology. Almost everyone on the ground worked for Zalem, which was supposed to be one of the greatest cities of all-time, and the only one remaining after the continuous war with the enemy group known as United Republics of Mars (URM). A man named Vector (Mahershala Ali) controlled everything on the ground, as a proxy to the ruler at Zalem, getting his dirty job done. Almost everyone from the Iron City wanted to go to Zalem City, and it was part of their dreams for which they worked all day. But someone from the ground rarely made it to the sky, even though vice versa was always possible.

So, what happens with the events here? :: A scientist and doctor, Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) discovers parts of a female cyborg with a working human brain while looking for parts in the city’s scrapyard. With the help of his assistant Nurse Gerhad (Idara Victor), he manages to fit her into a cyborg body at his clinic. He calls her Alita (Rosa Salazar) after his daughter who died earlier, as the cyborg seems to have no memories of her past at all including her own name. Dr Chiren (Jennifer Connelly), Dyson’s former wife who works for Vector doesn’t seem to like it though. She manages to be friends with a scrap deaker Hugo (Keean Johnson) who shows her the world, and his friends including Koyomi (Lana Condor) and Tanji (Jorge Lendeborg Jr). She also knows about the cyborgs that walk on the streets including Grewishka (Jackie Earle Haley) and Nyssiana (Eiza Gonzalez), and a fight with them will bring some of her memories back. So, who was she? How does that play a role in the future of her and the city?

The defence of Alita: Battle Angel :: There is a well-designed post-apocalyptic and dystopian future that can be seen throughout the movie’s run, and the elements are always there to be seen and enjoyed. The futuristic world is really well designed, with the two cities, as well as what lies beyond. The same can be said about the cyborgs too, as almost each one of them has different characteristics – you can also see that the protagonist makes the best out of it. The action sequences are of top quality, and we are addicted to them, and looking for more of similar moments. The emotional moments are also effective, and the idea behind the movies with moments of its flashbacks makes us wish for a sequel or even a prequel, because both will complete the tale well. This is one of those rare movies when we get close to the cyborgs more than humans. It will be difficult not to be emotionally connected to this movie, and its leading battle angel.

The claws of flaw :: It has to be noted that Alita: Battle Angel leaves many questions to be answered, especially related to how United Republics of Mars (URM) was defeated, and the she ended up in the scrapyard if they were that good with fighting, having an almost perfect cyborg system which is near impossible to be destroyed – such an addition as a prequel or sequel is needed quickly enough. There is the feeling that we have watched most of this before too, and a lost cyborg finding its past and fighting through evil is not something we don’t know much about. The story becomes usual, and we can guess most of the proceedings of the tale. We can also predict what is to happen with some of the characters in the tale a little too easily, as the romantic side just serves as a drag. Let us see if a possible sequel and manage to rise above the usual stuff, and bring in the innovation.

Performers of the soul :: Rosa Salazar’s avatar remains a hit, and as she wore a motion capture suit and gave life to the character with the help of animation, we are glad to have this one added to our favourite list of cyborgs of all-time as the battle angel who is one day going to bring down a post-apocalyptic dystopia. Christoph Waltz’s character is the next one to whom we feel the emotional connect, and he makes the perfect father figure in more than one way. Jennifer Connelly makes a good addition, even though she is there for only shorter periods of time, but she makes some moments worthy. Mahershala Ali is okay as the puppet villain, but the antagonism is lost on a number of occasions. The two next most notable cyborgs played by Jackie Earle Haley and Ed Skrein makes it worthy of our time, being on the darker side of good-evil alignment. Keean Johnson as Hugo is the usual young lover boy done fine.

How it finishes :: Alita: Battle Angel is the very next project from James Cameroon’s Lightstorm Entertainment after Avatar, and before Terminator: Dark Fate which followed in the same year. If you look at that list, the next two movies are Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, followed by even more sequels if the two makes enough money. The director’s last movie was Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, some years ago. So, this is one project which was much expected – well, the trailer was really good too. Alita: Battle Angel, despite dealing with a post-apocalyptic and dystopian theme, with a dark side, can be watched by families, and it is an advantage that this movie have to widen its audience. I would recommend this movie over most of the movies which I have watched during lock-down. It has its heart and soul at the right place, and we are going to expect an even bigger sequel.

Release date: 14th February 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Rosa Salazar, Jennifer Connelly, Christoph Waltz, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Eiza Gonzalez, Lana Condor, Keean Johnson, Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Idara Victor, Mahershala Ali, Jeff Fahey, Rick Yune

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mockingjay II

mockingjaypart2 (1)

Vampire Owl: So, this is the name of the movie in reality. It was written here on this newspaper as Mocking Hay and I was wondering what it was about.

Vampire Bat: Here, on this other newspaper, it is written as Mockway. It is a more distant spelling. I do wonder what they might have called Goosebumps.

Vampire Owl: It is because of this wrong spelling that we felt that this was a movie which we knew nothing about, and made the choice not to watch it earlier! I don’t understand why they can’t have people who are able to spell this. I am beginning to doubt how they choose the people behind this.

Vampire Bat: They make such mistakes and still we read them. Then, we see that at some other editions of the same newspaper, and even at some other columns of the same, it is correct and then we are made sure that this particular title is another movie. I don’t understand why we are like this, looking at the mistakes, being mislead, understanding that it was too silly a thing and then continuing to read the same newspapers – actually, we even watch the same news channels which we don’t like.

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://kiagia.co/index.php/current-film-releases/1200-the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-2-movie-review

A science-fiction dystopian adventure book from the US author Suzanne Collins was made into a movie in 2012, with Jennifer Lawrence playing the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. This movie adapted from the first book of The Hunger Games series was very successful. With The Hunger Games and its sequel Catching Fire becoming grand success at the box-office, the third book in the series, Mockingjay was divided into two movies. Here we have the second part of the two, and this movie finishes the franchise. There was one movie in the franchise releasing each year from 2012 onwards, and the last three movies of the franchise have all released in the latter half of November.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) continues to be the Mockingjay and the one grand symbol of revolution as the districts unite against President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland). The attack from a brainwashed Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) did affect her, but she is back there on the warzone with her speeches and charisma only to be shot by a loyalist from District Two. Even though Katniss wishes to kill President Snow herself, President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) asks her not to risk her life again, and advices her to remain as the inspiration and the symbol of their defiance. As she is someone who can motivate the crowd with her presence, she agrees to Coin’s idea.

But Katniss is not the one to keep away from her ultimate aim, as she sneaks into an aircraft leaving to join Commander Paylor (Patina Miller) who is planning a huge assault. There, she is told to be part of a squad lead by Boggs (Mahershala Ali) as they have to evade the booby traps or the pods on the streets which are left by game-makers of the Hunger Games. Thus the journey will be more of less like the seventy sixth Hunger Games. They will be joined by Peeta as they are to go through the streets facing the unexpected threats which await them. The Capitol and Snow will think that she is dead, not once but many times, but Mockingjay is not someone who is going to stay dead as the squad keep going towards the big destination.

The problems caused by breaking down one book into two like Harry Potter and Twilight can be seen. The fans will surely prefer this because they can watch more of their favourite franchise. More of Katniss Everdeen will be there for them to see. But as the last book is divided into two, this movie surely has been cursed with a certain amount of drag. This certainly wouldn’t have been there if Mockingjay was just one movie instead of two stretched movies. But there is one advantage that this movie does possess, and it is the ability to finish the franchise in the right way. The finish is all about that climax which has one shot from the bow of the protagonist that determines everything, even though there are some predictable sequences after that.

The second part of Mockingjay is surely ahead of its predecessor because of the quality of the material in the latter part of the book. If you have read the book already, you will feel that this movie is a good adaptation even with the stretched parts. There are some nice conversations to go with the interesting action sequences, even as there is nothing much here to compete with those which we have seen in the first two movies. There are some traces of what was seen in the games earlier, but there is no big combats shown here. The special effects are good, and the dystopian world will once again grab your attention. The weapons as well as the other gadgets will also catch your eyes.

The movie has its touching moments and thrills which are surely present. There is also some reflection of the real effects of war on the common man which is nothing more than destruction and chaos. The lives of the civilians and morality are two things which are used to one’s advantage as shown here. But the movie does end with hope, despite the deaths, and we know this factor as something which was too far away in the previous movies of the franchise. For those who are new to this franchise, they will find themselves in trouble as the movie goes directly into the story, but with some focus, a certain clue about the dystopian idea and some understanding on what this franchise is about, they can still go through this movie.

As it was in the case of the previous movies, Jennifer Lawrence still remains the biggest asset as the Mockingjay. It is a pleasure to watch her as Katniss Everdeen once again, as she does her job with no trouble at all. As expected, she has and handles those best moments of movie; there is one other point which comes with a sudden impact, related to mutant creatures in the sewers – that was a grand one too. Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth provide the needed support very well. Maybe, the movie could have finished better without using the epilogue from the book, even though that would be ignoring the faithful fans of the book. Here ends another movie based on another Young Adult Novel, and despite the flaws, it is a good finish to the franchise.

Release date: 27th November 2015 (India); 20th November 2015 (USA)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Julianne Moore, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jena Malone, Natalie Dormer, Willow Shields, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Gwendoline Christie, Stanley Tucci, Evan Ross, Donald Sutherland, Mahershala Ali, Patina Miller, Stef Dawson, Paula Malcomson, Meta Golding, Wes Chatham, Elden Henson, Michelle Forbes, Omid Abtahi, Misty Ormiston, Kim Ormiston

mockingjayII

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.