The origin of Alita: Battle Angel starts with Yukito Kishiro’s intricately plotted 1990 manga, something this adaptation has to simplify in order to make it palatable for wide-release audiences. The setting is an Earth five centuries from now, a mostly tumultuous and vice-filled world that suffers even more by comparison to the life of luxury from the beaming city utopia called Zalem that floats above their heads. Christoph Waltz plays Dr. Ido, a brilliant scientist who has been through he trash-heaps of history to find something of value and meaning. Ido soon discovers the remnants of a robotic entity, taking it back to his lab for rehabilitation, resulting in a cyborg creation he has dubbed “Alita” (which was also the name of the daughter he lost in a tragedy), who has the mind of a teenage girl and hard-shell body to match. She walks, talks and understands, but one thing she can’t readily do is remember who she is or why she exists. Ido provides fatherly guidance, but Alita is drawn to battle and action by her nature, stoked further by an interest in the local boy named Hugo, who sees more potential in Alita’s abilities that could make her formidable in a world that values such adept skills in the arena of conflict.
Category Archives: Science Fiction
This time out, the character of Bumblebee ends up going back to his original look from the toy line and cartoon series of a Volkswagen Beetle, when he arrives on Earth back in 1987 as part of a last-minute escape plan for the Autobots on Cybertron to find an inhabitable planet as theirs is about to be destroyed in an all-out civil war with the Decepticons. Bumblebee ends up emerging in California, where his dormant state of the Beetle laying in rust in a junkyard, in hiding after being hunted by Sector Seven (the government agency who first discovers him), draws the eye of a troubled teenage girl named Charlie Watson, who views the car as freedom and an opportunity to follow in her recently deceased father’s footsteps by repairing two damaged precious things – the car, and herself.
The setting starts sometime in the 1980s, where we find Atlantean queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) coming up to the surface in the state of Maine to get away from an arranged marriage, seeking a bit of sanctuary and time to heal in a lighthouse run by a human named Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison). The two unlikely partners fall in love, eventually leading to a son, Arthur Curry. The kingdom of Atlantis is not pleased with Atlanna’s apparent defection to the land, sending out their soldiers to claim her back, culminating in Tom being left alone to raise the boy himself as a human, except one with the powers of Atlanteans in his DNA, including an ability to talk to and command all forms of marine life.
We fast forward to Arthur’s adulthood, known to the land-dwellers as “The Aquaman” after a series of public acts of heroism, one including taking down pirates that includes future nemesis Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mareen II). However, Arthur has to become a savior to his adopted people when the current rule of Atlantis, Arthur’s half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson), is looking to mount a war with the land walkers who continue to pollute the oceans, seeking the assistance of King Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), one of the leaders of the ‘seven seas’ needed to approve. Nereus’s daughter Mera looks to recruit Arthur’s assistance in staving off the uprising from his brother’s charge. Arthur must go undersea to make his presence felt, but the opposite of a fish out of water in his new environs in the Atlantean realm, especially when the situation boils down to a mano-a-mano battle between Arthur and Orm on his home turf (or non-turf, as it happens to be).
The Marvel Comics villain gets the antihero treatment in this Spiderman-less origin story filled with grotesque body horror and lots of crazy CGI-infused action. Tom Hardy stars as reporter Eddie Brock, who finds himself the host of an alien symbiote he discovers within a hi-tech laboratory he’s investigating. That alien needs live organs to feast upon, which means Eddie’s if he can’t find other things for “Venom”, which is what the symbiote calls himself, to ravenously consume. Michelle Williams stars as Brock’s ex-fiance, and Riz Ahmed is the head of the corporate lab out to experiment on the living in order for humans to try to survive on other planets when this one is no longer, inevitably, inhabitable. Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer directs.
Shane Black tries to do what no one has done thus far, and that’s to make a good follow-up to John McTiernan’s 1997 action classic, PREDATOR. Here, the Predators are back searching for their old technology, and possibly taking over the Earth, having to confront a rag-tag group of disgrace military vets in their way. Boyd Holdbrook, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, Trevante Rhodes and Jacob Tremblay also appear.
The fourth film in the Purge series is a prequel to the other three, as The First Purge shifts directors to Gerard McMurray, though retaining James DeMonaco’s services as screenwriter. This one showcases the trial run’ experiment that led to the Purge, as the alt-right government seeks to cure societal ills by finding a way to eradicate crime throughout most of the year, mostly by sweeping house and trying to get rid of the nation’s poor. Social commentary abounds in this franchise that is sometimes marketed, and perhaps mis-marketed, as a horror series.
Ant-Man’s second foray in his own Marvel Cinematic Universe film isn’t quite a solo adventure, as now he has a partner in Hope, who dons a high-powered suit as The Wasp. They’re out to save her mother from the Quantum Realm, where she’s been presumed missing for the last thirty years. Unfortunately, Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, is under house arrest and not quite able to get out and join in on the quest easily. Meanwhile, a bevy of parties are out to steal the hi-tech suits before they can come into play. Peyton Reed returns to direct Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas, along with newcomers in Laurence Fishburne and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Acclaimed director J.A. Bayona takes over the reins of this lucrative franchise with JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM, the follow-up to 2015’s biggest box-office smash. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles, this time having to figure out if the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar should be saved, or if the active volcano that’s in full flow should course correct their existence back to extinction. A wealthy benefactor wants to put them into sanctuary, but someone in his organization sees a bigger opportunity to keep these dinos alive by selling them to the highest bidders around the world.
Ron Howard directs this spin-off prequel, showing us how the iconic reluctant hero Han Solo went from his lowly existence on the planet Corellia to becoming one of the best smugglers int he galaxy. Alden Ehrenreich, Amelia Clark, Donald Glover and Woody Harrelson star in this big budget space adventure.
Steven Spielberg adapts Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel about a future in which many, if not most, of the world escape into a massive multiplayer online game known as the OASIS. The creator of the OASIS has passed away, but as a final act, promises to bestow upon the first finder of three hidden keys the actual “keys to the kingdom” with full ownership of the wildly popular virtual realm.