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Friday, September 14, 2018 

Will Alita: Battle Angel adaptation fare any better than previous manga forays?

CNET's written about an upcoming 3D adaptation of the Alita manga, emphasizing its use of photorealism, and along the way, they even bring up the downside of special effects themselves:
There's always a delicate balance when it comes to the overlap of performance and technology. Movies like the Star Wars Special Editions and Green Lantern have been heavily criticized for overusing computer graphics. In the case of Alita, finding the balance wasn't easy.
Good they brought up that part of making a science-fantasy film. Too often for at least 2 decades now, special effects have become so heavy in blockbuster fare, at the expense of character depth, the films are less entertaining, as a result. And the actors may not have the talent it takes to deliver the goods either. We are after all living in an era where Hollywood's in a decline of their own making, with far fewer movies worth seeing than before. Special effects certainly didn't save the GL movie from 7 years ago, and the social justice propaganda turning up in the new Star Wars sequels certainly isn't now.

And if Alita turns out to have anything remotely resembling propaganda that insults even its own source material, that certainly won't help either. Only by concentrating on mastering the action-adventure themes and avoiding forced politics in the script will the makers of Alita's adaptation have a chance of turning out a film that's worth the price of the tickets.

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Will wish Alita: Battle Angel the best of luck, ESPECIALLY if they avoid politics of a leftist persuasion being forced in.

As far as Star Wars, eh, stopped being too fond of that franchise after I learned it was subtle Vietcong propaganda that George Lucas intended to peddle to the masses as early as 1973. Even forced me to root for the Galactic Empire, the VILLAINS in other words, due to sheer disgust at the Rebels being the VC (and I don't even LIKE rooting for villains). The CGI and forced politics certainly didn't help either (especially the snoozefest that was The Force Awakens).

How could it be about Viet Cong propaganda? It was inspired by Seven Samurai and multiple fairy tales and the Galactic Empire was inspired by Nazi Germany. The story was inspired by World War 2.

Well, aside from the fact that George Lucas has repeatedly stated that Star Wars was about Richard Nixon's term, or that he modeled the Ewoks after the Vietcong in Return of the Jedi, his 1973 development notes for what would become A New Hope made his inspirations VERY clear, and he had far more contemporary events in mind. Don't believe me? Just take a gander at the scans from The Making of Star Wars in the following link:

https://otnesse.tumblr.com/post/162081709399/this-is-from-george-lucas-1973-notes-for-star

Addendum:

Heck, Lucas flat out stated that the Rebels were meant to be VC expies and the Empire was meant to be America, right down to the Rebels being explicit terrorists, in this episode of James Cameron's Scifi show here:

https://youtu.be/Nxl3IoHKQ8c

And bear in mind, that was most recent.

Of course, in the same interview with Cameron, he says that the Rebels were meant to be the American Yankee patriots fighting against the British Empire in the Revolutionary War.

"Of course, in the same interview with Cameron, he says that the Rebels were meant to be the American Yankee patriots fighting against the British Empire in the Revolutionary War."

Not really. Yes, he does reference the American Minutemen, but that was more of an attempt at a comparison that really failed than an actual inspiration (first of all, we never owned Vietnam due to it being owned by the French originally, nor did we have any interest in making it a colony. Our only reason for even BEING there was to stop Communism from taking it over thanks to the USSR and China. If anything, we went in there to DEFEND their freedom. That was completely different from our fight against the British, where we actually WERE legally one of their colonies. Second of all, none of the founding fathers tried to massacre innocents or do roadside bombings or maim children as a form of intimidation [heck, even with the Crispus Attucks incident, John Adams actually attempted to give the British a fair trial, and he hated them. Had we been ANYTHING like the Vietcong, we would have probably just lynched them without a second thought]. There's plenty of differences between us and the Vietcong. There's also the fact that we actually WON several of our battles, while the Vietcong never actually won a single battle, not even the Tet Offensive, which if anything completely decimated their group and only came across as a victory due to willful misreporting from Walter Cronkite. We also never resorted to terrorism [well, technically, "terrorism" as a term didn't even come to be until the French Revolution, but we certainly didn't resort to it even if it DID exist earlier.].) than an actual inspiration. He made it VERY clear in that interview that his direct inspiration was the Vietcong ("When I did [Star Wars], they were Vietcong."), to say little about his 1973 development notes.

Those are interesting differences between Yankee rebels and the viet cong, and historians can argue about them back and forth, but they don't have nothing to do with the Star Wars story. It is basically big guy against little guy, David v Goliath. The development notes are ambiguous; they show Vietnam was in the air and part of his thinking but not that Star Wars was an allegory for it.

"Those are interesting differences between Yankee rebels and the viet cong, and historians can argue about them back and forth, but they don't have nothing to do with the Star Wars story. It is basically big guy against little guy, David v Goliath. The development notes are ambiguous; they show Vietnam was in the air and part of his thinking but not that Star Wars was an allegory for it."

Unfortunately, they do have a LOT to do with the story. George Lucas made that VERY clear in that AMC interview, the 1973 development notes, heck, pretty much every time he opened his big mouth. And I don't like it ONE bit, either. And if that's not enough, Walter Murch, one of his associates at American Zoetrope, made it pretty explicit that Lucas WAS doing a Vietnam allegory where the Vietcong were the good guys. This was from the book "The Conversations":

“Originally George Lucas was going to direct (‘Apocalypse Now’), so it was a project that George and John (Milius) developed for Zoetrope. That was back in 1969. Then when Warner Brothers cancelled the funding for Zoetrope, the project was abandoned for a while. After the success of ‘American Graffiti’ in 1973, George wanted to revive it, but it was still too hot a topic, the war was still on, and nobody wanted to finance something like that. So George considered his options: What did he really want to say in ‘Apocalypse Now?’ The message boiled down to the ability of a small group of people to defeat a gigantic power simply by the force of their convictions. And he decided, All right, if it’s politically too hot as a contemporary subject, I’ll put the essence of the story in outer space and make it happen in a galaxy long ago and far away. The rebel group were the North Vietnamese, and the Empire was the United States. And if you have ‘the force,’ no matter how small you are, you can defeat the overwhelmingly big power. ‘Star Wars’ is George’s transubstantiated version of ‘Apocalypse Now.’”

And if that's not enough, Lucas gave a similar story in The Making of Star Wars:

"A lot of my [George Lucas's] interest in Apocalypse Now was carried over into Star Wars, I figured that I couldn't make that film because it was about the Vietnam War, so I would essentially deal with some of the same interesting concepts that I was going to use and convert them into space fantasy, so you'd have essentially a large technological empire going after a small group of freedom fighters or human beings."

And as far as those 1973 notes, I wouldn't call explicitly comparing Aquilae to North Vietnam or literally referring to the Empire as America "ten years from [1973]" ambiguous at all, nor the bit about his inferring that it's a choice between fascism or communist revolution. If anything, it's the exact opposite of ambiguous. Ambiguous would be more like, to quote a line from Beauty and the Beast, "Don't worry, old man. We'll help you out!" Which can mean both "We'll help you in your crisis" or "We'll help you out of the premises." Or even "No problem" and "No, problem." to quote The Death of Stalin. Or better yet, Palpatine telling Nute Gunray that Vader will reward them when arriving by "tak[ing] care of [the Separatists]."

In any case, the topic was originally supposed to be about Alita, and my statement still stands, which is wishing them luck.

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