Altered Carbon

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prognastat
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Altered Carbon

Post by prognastat » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:19 pm

I just watched season 1 of Altered Carbon on Netflix. It looks like it's a Netflix original and as such only available through Netflix legally. I have to say I enjoyed it more than I expected I would. If you enjoy work by Philip K Dick, Neal Stephenson and William Gibson I suspect you will love it too.

It's set over 300 years in the future and the main concept it explores is what would the future look like if our entire consciousness was capable of being stored on a disk of sorts in the base of our spine that if undamaged could be removed upon death and placed in a new body(referred to as a sleeve in universe) allowing for near immortality to to those with the funds pursue this. It explores how this intersects with among other things wealth, family and religion. It's set in a dystopian sci-fi noir future reminiscent of things like Blade runner or Ghost in the Shell.

I was also impressed with what must have been the budget for this thing as it definitely doesn't feel like a budget sci-fi which many series do as the special effects can become costly on such series. There's nothing too crazy, but in general the effects they do use work well and add to the world rather than distract.

I'm looking forward to season 2 which has been announced, but not yet completed. It's a little bittersweet, because it appears very few cast members will be back for season 2(due to the concept of switching to new bodies even the main character will be portrayed by a new actor next season).

After seeing the series and finding out it's actually based on a series of books I'm intrigued and will probably keep an eye on them to either borrow from the library or get a good deal on them.
Last edited by prognastat on Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by jacob » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:08 pm

I gave up. The sound mixing is horrible and feels like one long barely comprehensible mumble. Or is it just me?

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Bankai
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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by Bankai » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:20 pm

It was alright - good enough to not stop watching halfway through (unlike i.e. Westworld s.2).

Although the idea that you can scan a person on a disc cheaply, but making copies of it is super expensive, isn't very convincing.

Also, might be just me but the main actor was too much like Dolph-Lundgren.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by Kriegsspiel » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:18 pm

The book is really good.

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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by chenda » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:50 pm

Speaking of Dick, I enjoyed this series.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electri ... TV_series)

It's all a bit 'you ok Hun ?' but oddly memorable. He was a Neo-Platonists, so no problem with immortality.

@jacob - probably just you babe ;)

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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by prognastat » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:04 pm

@Bankai

I might have missed it on my viewing, but was it specified that copying someone(double sleeving) is very expensive due to cost of copying the stack? I got the impression that the main reason it wasn't done was because it was illegal and painful(this seems the more confusing one as how would copying your personality/memory hurt) it seemed that the cloning your body was the expensive part rather than the copying of your stack.

@Jacob

Not something I had a problem with, but honestly don't pay too much attention to this except for the occasions where it is so bad that I can't make out what is being said over the soundtrack which I don't recall happening.

@Chenda

Interesting, I'll have to see if I can get it given that I don't have access to Amazon video nor Channel 4.
Last edited by prognastat on Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BRUTE
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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by BRUTE » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:59 pm

the 2 protagonists were just terrible. the whole show felt a lot like a carbon copy of Blade Runner without any of the subtlety or writing chops.

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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by prognastat » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:51 pm

I would definitely not say it's as good as blade runner, but then again that's a classic for a reason.

I definitely enjoyed it though. I guess it depends on what your expectations are going in. I thought it was going to be a low-budget copy of blade runner and was happily surprised that the production was better than I expected. If I went in expecting something as good as blade runner I would've left disappointed, but I wasn't expecting that kind of quality from a Netflix original series. I actually mostly liked the male lead, the primary female lead wasn't extremely interesting and could have definitely used some fleshing out.

I would have liked it if the other AIs had been explored it a bit more as it makes for an interesting concept.

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Jin+Guice
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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by Jin+Guice » Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:55 pm

jacob wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:08 pm
I gave up. The sound mixing is horrible
You're the first none audio nerd (aka aspiring/ actual audio professional) I've ever heard ever say this.

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FBeyer
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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by FBeyer » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:57 am

BRUTE wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:59 pm
the 2 protagonists were just terrible. the whole show felt a lot like a carbon copy of Blade Runner without any of the subtlety or writing chops.
Richard K. Morgan. Do you know who that is, without googling first?

Agree on the protagonists though. The detective was so annoyingly angry all the time, it got old fast.

Carbon copy of blade runner is... well. I don't see the likeness at all. Was Blade Runner just the first noir Cyberpunk you thought about comparing it to?

The cinematography of Cyberpunk is somewhat stale, sure, but just because it looks like another movie, doesn't make it an altered carbon copy ;)

Artificial humans have gotten so life-like they don't know they're replicants. A replicant is sent to kill replicants but he doesn't know. Blade Runner asks what identity means to us when it can be manufactured at will.
An obscenely rich man has committed faux suicide aften he's been tricked into violating his Single Foundational Principle and a special agent from a long-gone military branch is hired to investigate. Altered Carbon asks: What is the meaning of death when the meaning of death has changed.

They did change the story from the original, and the original was better.

In general: Is every cyberpunk movie somehow judged on whether it's blade runner or not? Or does that only happen when the movie/series is actually good and you suddenly remember Blade Runner? I can't remember a single miffed Blade Runner comment when Ghost in the Shell came out. People knew damn well that they'd mangled the story beyond recognition. Also: Fucking Scarlet can't-run-or-act-to-save-her-pretty-action-hero-ass Johansen[1].

I watched Altered Carbon with subtitles. A lot of American series are treble-less mumblefests for some unknown reason.


[1] Seriously, if your actor 'runs like a girl' don't hire that actor for an action role. It's embarrassing to watch. See everything with The Avengers as evidence.

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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by prognastat » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:58 am

@FBeyer

Well it definitely tries to look like Blade Runner, but then again so do many or possibly even most dystopian cyberpunk futures after Blade Runner came out since it just looked so good. It was a mayor influence to the whole of cyberpunk.

I would definitely agree though that they are exploring entirely different concepts and stories. The only things they have in common are that they are cyberpunk detective noir stories and that it's going for a similar aesthetic.

Are you saying they changed the story of altered carbon from the books or is this in reference to Blade Runner?

Also was the live action Ghost in the Shell any good at all? I'm usually not a fan of western live action remakes of anime/manga as they tend to mangle the source material beyond recognition so I skipped it up to this point.

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BRUTE
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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by BRUTE » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:30 pm

FBeyer wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:57 am
Richard K. Morgan. Do you know who that is, without googling first?
horribly socialist author. brute tried to read one of his books once, fooled by the title, "market forces" - he threw the book out after only a few pages. maybe that's why brute thought the writing in Altered Carbon was so bad. just too simplistic and not very interesting.

Ghost in the Shell (the anime) is awesome and needs to comparison to Blade Runner - it does not try to imitate its style and has enough of its own to offer. Altered Carbon (the series, brute did not read the book) copies the Blade Runner visuals but fails to offer much on its own, and what it does is written and acted out mediocrely. that's why brute calls it a copy, but loves Ghost in the Shell.

the GitS live action movie wasn't actually that terrible - but maybe brute was pleasantly surprised after the bad reviews and low expectations. it's not the anime, but it's not bad either.

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FBeyer
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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by FBeyer » Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:32 pm

prognastat wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:58 am
Are you saying they changed the story of altered carbon from the books or is this in reference to Blade Runner?

Also was the live action Ghost in the Shell any good at all? I'm usually not a fan of western live action remakes of anime/manga as they tend to mangle the source material beyond recognition so I skipped it up to this point.
Netflix changed plenty of things from the book. The antagonist is not a fuggin' crybaby, and thus the ending scene is different. The torture scene is completely different, Kovac's backstory is different. I honestly don't recall The Hendrix serving as a funny sidekick the way The Black Raven did in NetflixAC but I might remember that last bit wrong.
Someone help me: Was the Boo-hoo I Want Daddy To Be Proud a subplot in the book too? I honestly don't remember it.


Blade Runner vs Altered Carbon: P.K.Dick was almost famous for his lack of exposition. You had to imagine everything yourself. Take a high concept/contemplative author and let goddamn Ridley Scott direct the feature film, then compare that directly with a page turner of a 16 year old Cyberpunk action novel, and trim off the sharp edges so Netflix's clientele wont get offended when they release the *series* and then expect the two to be the same. I don't see the point of that. We're not doing justice to any of the works being compared here.


Ghost in the shell: The plot of the anime was mindblowingly cool. In fact they did the manga a great service since Major suddenly wasn't a Prostitute on the Side anymore. Or whatever the hell that cheesecake scene was. So the anime was amazing, the live action movie did a good job of coming up with a plot that very closely resembles the anime, keeping some of the major themes, but still telling a completely different story. The Trademark Scenes are still there though: the initial cloak-drop, the spidertank, the cloaked runaway getting caught in the water etc.

People who would have watched GitS for the first time as a live action wouldn't have understood WTF was going on if they kept the original plot (I had to do several takes actually. I'm that daft…), and unsurprisingly, that's not a good thing when you want to make money on entertainment.

SO!! Expect the movie to look a lot like the anime, but the actual plot is completely different. With that lense on I re-watched it (yes I've seen it twice) and it's actually a good movie.[1]


[1] Except for Johansen. JTFC I want her to retire behind camera.

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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by prognastat » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:49 pm

I guess since the two of you who can't agree on Altered Carbon, but both agree that GitS live action is worth seeing though to temper my expectations that I should do so and give it a watch after all.

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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by Campitor » Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:02 pm

I watched Altered Carbon and I liked it. It didn’t remind me of Blade Runner. Only so many ways to paint a dystopian future on a limited screen budget.

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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by bryan » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:01 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of Altered Carbon, very entertaining.
prognastat wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:58 am
Also was the live action Ghost in the Shell any good at all?
Nope, wasn't worth a damn.

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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by jennypenny » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:03 am

I'm four episodes in and can't decide if I like it or not.

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BRUTE
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Re: Altered Carbon

Post by BRUTE » Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:32 am

brute recommends waiting at least until the elevator scene

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