Alita: Battle Angel ★★★

ended up making a decent double feature w rebecca since both are about girls attempting to survive in lives constructed for them by men w/ baggage, except this one valorizes building a life on death. Also, great dogs in both!

Whether it adds anything to the half human half machine discourse of cyberpunk is besides the point as it runs through tropes like plot points operating on pure emotion in a way that’s alternately clunky and exhilarating, sometimes both, cramming an entire season of narrative in 2 hours with some of the cleanest, like actually legible action to grace a blockbuster in a while. 

Eyes aside, as they actually work in the context of cyborg humanism, it’s about as questionable as any other american manga adaptation, where populist “rise up against violent exploitation” messaging rubs up against the colonial extractivism of western film production, here slightly exacerbated by 3 of 4 black characters having barely any moral grounding relative to the white array of heroics, compromise and villainy, while the fourth is mostly silent help, but that’s colorblind casting for you. Still, Let Mahershala live!!!

Not sure if seeing in 3D heightened the experience as it always feels like never knowing if you’re high until you think you saw something move, but given Cameron has essentially devoted his life pumping billions into 3D tech and the uncanny valley small moments where the liminal space between the spectator and the product closes enough to simulate symbiosis are some of the closest moments to feeling eclipsed and defeated by the singularity with just enough a flash of knowledge to know what’s happening to your increasingly obsolete body.