Day 85, museum and a movie

Saturday, 2/23/2019

The first scheduled thing for the day was to lead a docent tour at 2pm. So I settled in for a relaxing Saturday morning with the computer. After about two hours I was bored, so finally I left early for the museum — might as well be bored there as at home. Did my tour; went home; changed clothes; and headed out to meet Dennis at the Pruneyard for a movie.

This was my first experience with a theater that not only has the reserved-seat reclining chairs, but the chairs have a tray, and a menu, and you can order a meal. So we ate supper in the theater while the many trailers ran. Not bad food, either. I had a “sesame chicken on rice noodles” thing which had generous amounts of chicken and bell pepper chunks in a fairly tasty sauce.

The movie was Alita: Battle Angel, a sci-fi effects adventure based on a manga series. It was entertaining, although it got kind of draggy toward the end, with a long and complicated third act. The most challenging thing was figuring out how the digital artists at Weta Studios created the central character. According to the Wiki page linked above, famous director James Cameron intended Alita to be 100% CGI. The character interacts fully and continuously with the live-action actors.

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Eyes like golf balls…

Throughout the film I was looking at the effects as effects, trying to work out how this or that was done. I was assuming that at least Alita’s face and head were that of a live actress, but the eyes… her eyes are at least 30% larger than real human eyes. Did they have to edit every frame to make the eyes bigger? I was trying to imagine a program that could automatically analyze every frame, find the eyes, and stretch them. No, probably the whole face and the rest of her is all computer imagery. And yet the actress Rosa Salazar is credited with playing the part. So presumably she supplied at least the voice, and perhaps some of her body movements were captured as the basis for the images.

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