So I went. Alone. Probably for the first time in a few decades. *laughs* But I really needed to see it, and I liked the adaptation, and it is, indeed, an adaptation. It was fascinating to see how the changes really made it an American movie instead of the genre Japanese SF book with its intricate and haunting plot. I recommend it as a fun action movie, especially for those of us who are story choice-based video game addicts, and there were a few visceral hits for me as a twitch video game addict. I'd recommend the book, though, to those looking for something darker, deeper, and more complex.
What fascinated me was how the mechanics of the world changed the plotline thoroughly.
The actual mechanics of how the aliens worked and how their systems worked with human systems was very intricate and specific in the book. There was the fact that you had to kill all the receivers of the central control system in order for the whole thing to go down. The movie simplified it all down to the Omega, a few Alphas, and the dones that ran around, and Alphas were essentially a reset button that *couldn't* be killed in order to get at the Omega.
In the book, you had to kill all the Alphas before you could kill the Omega in order to kill the whole system (there are reasons for the title). Rita has essentially become an Alpha, and in the Japanese version, Rita has to die in order for Keiji to truly kill the Omega. Also, once the Omega goes down all the time travel stops and life goes on from there. There is no reset, so Keiji pretty much has to kill the woman he loves in order to win the war knowing he'll never have her again.
It's classical Asian tragic romance.
In the American version, if a human gets Alpha or Omega blood on 'em, they steal the Power to reset time from the Omega, but it can be taken away if they're given human blood. *laughs* The interesting thing is that they made the final choice almost as difficult as the Japanese one, as they took away Cage's ability to reset the world at the end, and Rita and Cage went in thinking that they were just going to die. In order to get to the end, Rita volunteers to be a sacrifice to an Alpha she can't kill in order to buy Cage the time to get at the Omega.
He doesn't *know* that if he wins he gets the Omega's blood all over him and gets to reset the whole world so that no ones dead AND he gets the girl. It's not as hard a choice as having to kill her himself... but I could see why that wouldn't sit well with American audiences. And I felt pretty thoroughly, the satisfaction of him getting his whole world back again, but it also almost felt like cheating...
Especially since there's a few indications that Cage has and gets to keep the Power to Reset Time to when he wants it to reset to. In the Japanese version, Keiji loses that when the whole system goes down, and he essentially starts looking for the person that's going to end up having to kill him. It was also interesting having the American version start with Cage being essentially a slick, sleek coward trying to get out of combat when Keiji's just some kid on his first tour of duty.
You can probably see why I got rid of the book once and also why I'm buying it back again.
There's something extremely haunting about the book that doesn't flow through the movie, at all, but that's all right, I think, for a summer action movie. *grins*
I'm glad I went to the effort to go see it on the big screen, and just as happy that I didn't do 3D. What was really funny was playing Team Fortress 2 with Jet almost immediately after and lucking into a game where the respawn time was instantaneous. I'd die and hit the ground running or trying to hit the team locker with my sledgehammer. Mildly disorienting but oddly reminiscent of some of Cage's retries.