Alita: Battle Angel is James Cameron’s next big sci-fi film.
With the film coming out in less than a week, we thought we should look into some of the important things fans should know before watching Battle Angel.
1. Alita: Battle Angel was based off the manga Gunnm.
Following the somewhat successful footsteps of 2017’s Ghost In The Shell, Alita: Battle Angel is Hollywood’s next big adaptation of a popular manga series from the 90’s. Originally created by Yukito Kishiro under the title Gunnm (also known as Battle Angel: Alita), the cyberpunk manga series ran from 1990 to 1995 and was even translated into English for international fans.
While the series did get a two-episode OVA series in 1993, it was not picked up for a full anime adaption, nor did Kishiro want an anime adaptation of his original work.
Similar to video game adaptations, Hollywood has often struggled to stay faithful to the original source material of anime, either coming too close to the series’ cartoony aspects, or straying too far from the original plot. However, while it can be said that Ghost In The Shell wasn’t a perfect film, it definitely set the groundwork and the standard for further adaptations like Alita: Battle Angel.
Check out the trailer for Alita: Battle Angel below!
So far, there have been many positive reviews of Alita, so we are confident that this one will definitely knock it out of the park!
2. James Cameron wanted to make this film for decades now.
Fascinatingly, sci-fi icon James Cameron had been interested to bring Alita to the big screen for nearly two decades. At the time, Cameron had already directed huge box-office hits like Terminator, Aliens and Titanic. In the early 2000s, the domain for “battleangelalita.com” and “battleangelmovie.com” was registered to Cameron under 20th Century Fox, but due to his commitment on a little project called Avatar (I don’t suppose you’ve heard of it), he had to delay production for Alita.
Eventually, the project kept getting delayed year after year as Cameron was slated on to direct other films until only a few years ago when another director was signed on to direct the film, with Cameron helming the reins as the project’s producer.
3. Robert Rodriguez is directing the film.
Robert Rodriguez is an American filmmaker best known for his directorial role in titles like the Sin City movies, the From Dusk Till Dawn TV series, and Spy Kids. His works are often very stylish and are often shot in either Mexico or his home, Texas. To my knowledge, I believe the principal photography for Alita: Battle Angel was done in Texas (or at least, some of it) so it’s nice to see Rodriguez bring in his own unique flavour to the adaptation.
However, given Cameron’s strong interest in this project, as well as his heavy experience in science-fiction and CGI, we can expect Battle Angel to be a strong collaboration between the two.
4. There’s a reason for Alita’s huge eyes.
When the first trailers came out for Alita: Battle Angel, there was a lot of backlash for the film’s CGI, in particular the over-exaggeration of Alita’s unnaturally massive eyes. Many attributed this to another form of Hollywood misunderstanding its source material and deciding to go with overly massive anime eyes for the character.
Being somewhat of a connoisseur for mixing live-action with CGI himself, James Cameron wanted to make Alita an entirely CGI character, and he spent months trying to perfect this technique with the use of various technologies like the Fusion Camera System and facial performance capturing. A lot of the pre-production and design was actually done nearly a decade ago, according to a statement made by the film’s digital artist in October 2008.
Back to the eyes, in an interview with IGN Brazil, director Rodriguez explaining his thoughts with Cameron after having seen the initial designs. He comments “It was so striking and so arresting, I thought, ‘My god, we have to do that. We have to be the first to bring a true manga and anime character to life.'”
Fans have definitely been divided over this and have gone to the internet to express their own opinions. However, it is fair to say that Alita: Battle Angel definitely has one of the most unique incorporations of CGI in a live-action film and it speaks to the design’s originality.
5. A sequel is possibly in the works.
While nothing has been confirmed yet, both Rodriguez and Cameron have expressed interest in following the film up with sequels. Fans can expect special appearances towards the final act that will definitely get them excited for a continuation of the story.
Cameron explained that it wasn’t wise to confirm sequels to a film that has yet to be released, seeing as though if the film fails, it becomes a massive disappointment. While they do have plans and a direction on how to further develop the narrative, both Cameron and Rodriguez will have to wait to see how the film does in the box office.
Alita: Battle Angel comes out in cinemas this Thursday.