"We shed our bodies like a snake sheds its skin," says a women's voice. The winter's major initiative from Netflix takes us into a world far from Star Trek's idyllic vision of the future.
Altered Carbon combines the best of two genres: The Dystopian Future Vision and Film Noir. The series has a complex plot that requires your full attention. I recommend that you unplug your phone and follow the instructions.
The series is based on Richard K. Morgan's cyberpunk novel from 2002. Cyberpunk is a substitute who has one of his ideas for Philip K. Dick and later in William Gibson's pioneering Neuromancer from 1984. Ghost in the Shell (1995) and Strange Days (1995) are examples of genre's expression on film. The action is often set in a dystopian urban landscape where lonely heroes with roots in the anarchist hacking culture have a basic skepticism against global companies and power structures.
In Altered Carbon , humanity has stumbled upon technology that has given them eternal life. The body is just a frame. All are equipped with so-called "stacks" that store a digital copy of yourself. Then you can jump from planet to plane and body to body - if you can afford it then. It's only the richest ones.
Here the rich and powerful control everything and everyone. They are called meths, a point to the biblical figure of Metusalem. The realm is in practice immortal. As Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy) says in a scene: "God is dead. We have taken his place.
Will we become better people living forever? The short answer is no. «We are not meant to live forever. It corrupts the best of us, "says the Revolutionary Quell (René Elise Goldsberry), a character that appears in the memories of the protagonist; elite soldier Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman).
Altered Carbon gives us a scary vision of a future where religions fight the technology of human soul.
When we first meet Takeshi Kovacs, he has just been awakened from a digital prison. He has got a new body and is told that he has been bought by the rich Bancroft. Kovacs is asked to investigate the murder of Bancroft himself.
From there he wrap into a world of prostitution, virtual torture clinics, grotesque snoop killing and powerful yakuzaer. On the way you get to know many cupcakes, and a fun AI makes sense of humor in the gloomy. Kovacs is the high tech version of Humphrey Bogart's film noir detectives - black coat included.
Kovacs is a fascinating character, and in the series they have made him more human than he is in the book. Kovacs is a envoy, a special-purpose elite soldier more machine than human. He is not particularly sympathetic, but Joel Kinnaman plays the character with empathy and a lot of charm.
The series holds the thrill through 10 episodes, but there are some episodes in the middle where the hits are dominated. Even though they are well made and you get to know more about Kovacs, the murder mystery is put to a halt.Thus, the series gets a narrative dead end in the middle before returning to the action-packed, but a little messy ending.
Production Designer Carey Meyer has done a fabulous job of creating a credible futuristic world. At ground level, a big city is evolving with clear inspirations from both Metropolis and Blade Runner. The rich live in unattainable houses high raised above the polluted cloud cover. Here, they wander around in fluttering guards like angels in the clouds, even though their behavior is far from angelic.
If you think Game of Thrones has a lot of sex and violence, just stumble. Altered Carbon does not save on the details. Morgan's book depicts both sex and violence in very graphic scenes, and I was excited about how they had solved the infamous torture scene. It could easily have been torture porn, since Kovacs in the book is being tortured in a virtual female body. Fortunately, series comedian Laeta Kalogridis has changed this and avoids a pornographic expression.
The series is undoubtedly some of the more explicit brutal and violent made for television. There will be many battles and they could cut down on the number. Nevertheless, some of it is necessary to show that dark darkness of human nature does not change overnight. The older they get, the worse they get. They get bored, "said that, and the question will be if we do not lose our humanity somewhere on the road.
Altered Carbon is first and foremost a piece of raw entertainment. It is not particularly subtle and is bombastic in its message. The series is well-produced, well-played and looks amazing. The complicated story can cause someone to fall off. Along the way, there is a lot of crumbling in a saga that takes place in reality, a virtual world, and where protagonists change their appearance along the way. The middle part could have been tightened up.
The series is with its explicit expression of violence and its sometimes inhuman, not a series all will embrace. I doubt it's going to reach an equal audience like Game of Thrones . To that it seems to be made for a narrower genre audience.
If you let yourself be fascinated by the concept, you will be rewarded with a series that shows where current science fiction can be. It engages in the debate about transhumanism , and where the boundary goes between man and machine in a reality where technology will govern ever greater parts of our lives.