Tag Archives: Cyberpunk

From Manga to Film, Alita: Battle Angel Reaching Zalem & Sequel Hopes

25 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez’s live-action adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s Gunnm (Alita: Battle Angel in America) barely scratches the surface of what the 28 volume manga is (including Last Order and excluding Mars Chronicles which is still ongoing). Ever since Cameron announced he secured the rights in 2000 to bringing Gally’s (her name in the original manga) story to the cinema, I wondered if all the series will be covered. The anime barely scratched the surface. According to Polygon, this producer secured the rights for future video treatments and no further animation is likely to happen.

This film uses most of the American naming conventions than stick to the original. The CGI and motion capture technology to realize what Cameron wanted was not there and the wait for this film was frustrating. Cameron’s first idea was to turn the heroine into a Joan of Arc type figure and thankfully Kishiro corrected him. Gally is a rōnin. She serves no master. It makes sense, because in all her travels in the manga, she either had to leave people she cares for behind or they will die. This detail was revealed in a taped Q&A in early screenings of this film and to have this manga artist give his nod of approval is a good sign.

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Thoughts on Reboot: The Guardian Code 20 Episodes & On The Great Escape

20 Dec

Surprisingly, the second half (season) of Reboot: The Guardian Code (RtGC) is a vast improvement over its weak start. The narrative takes an air of an espionage thriller and a binge watch of all twenty episodes show a grand design which I am enjoying. Canadian broadcaster YTV aired all the episodes and is still airing them, while on Netflix, two seasons exist. Shades of Disney’s TRON colour the digital landscape, and that’s only because this film introduced me to the idea of becoming part of the digital universe is possible; the spirit of the user remains in every bit of code they create. Those pulses of energy within the machine is life too.

Throughout other shows, these ghosts in the machine are real. In cyberpunk literature, this idea is nothing new. When considering RtGC has three agencies interested in acquiring this technology–the Sourcerer, Megabyte and the Department of Internet Security–their interests are not for the greater good. They are not out to mend or defend.

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Beyond Ready Player One. On Technology and the Music

5 Apr

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

  • Spoiler Alert

The virtual reality (VR) interfaces we have today has not drastically changed in Steven Spielberg‘s adaptation of the book, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Futurists have to believe advancements in neural interfaces and holo projection will fill in the gap instead of advancements in the hardware used today. The former is vaguely suggested and the latter, none is even considered. This movie is not comparable to The Matrix or The Congress. Amusingly, a joke is made when nature calls. Unplugging is required.

Even in the future 30 years from now, folks are still wearing those darned headsets! I am having neural seizures since not everyone is going to have full command of their senses to believe the world they are jumping into is real. The IMAX 3D presentation hardly jumped; much of the visual treatment was flat. The music featured, however, was amazing and it spoke to me. Although for this glimpse into virtual reality, when my first exposure into this discourse is with William Gibson’s Neuromancer, the bar is set high. This work is neither at Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell level of exploration, even though the story offers a fleeting tease of what could be.

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Just How Often Can Major Get Blown Up in Ghost in the Shell (2017)?

1 Apr

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

The live-action Hollywood “remake” of Ghost in the Shell (GitS) hardly succeeds in waxing the philosophical from Masamune Shirow’s manga or the anime directed by Mamoru Oshii. While I knew these ideas will be the farthest thing the hive mind planned for the Western adaptation, I secretly hoped for some redemption. A few scenes from the anime were nicely recreated in live-action format, but I wanted more substance than style, to which this film had in abundance. When this movie is partially shot with Alexa 6K (65mm) cameras, I’m hoping the National Geographic IMAX theatre in my hometown gets it during this film’s second run at theatres so I can see this movie proper on a square screen.

While I did not expect much of the Frankenstein-style discourse to exist throughout the film, there were a few moments Major (Scarlett Johansson) tries to understand who she is, why she was created and where her “ghost” comes from. This actress basically got a chance to play a different kind of Black Widow, a person stripped of her identity to become a professional hit-man (woman) and not have “family” to worry about. When she’s the main character, at least fans of this actress got what they wanted instead of waiting for a Marvel Comics Entertainment version.

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