Alita: Battle Angel, directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau, is an adaptation of a cyberpunk manga written by Yukito Kishiro in 1990 that follows Alita becoming a Hunter Warrior after being found and rebuilt by cybernetic doctor.
This project has been developing for the last 19 years when Cameron told 20th Century Fox he wanted to make Alita. By 2003, Cameron was deep into the script. However, by 2005, the project was delayed while Cameron focused on Avatar. Now we are finally here, after 19 years, Alita is coming to theaters in February 2019.
Now, despite Japanese animation and manga becoming more popular, it seems that most people recognise Alita as the woman with insanely big eyes… and I don’t blame them. Even though people thought the look was slightly odd, it actually remains true to her look in the manga. Typically, most manga characters are drawn with over-emphasised eyes so the fact they adapted this trait is particularly interesting.
When talking to SFX, Rosa Salazar, the actress playing Alita, said:
“When I saw how much of me they put into her, I was pleasantly shocked. And it was more than I could’ve ever imagined or dreamed of. It’s never been done.”
CGI performances have only improved throughout the years. We’ve gone from Gollum in Lord of the Rings, to Caesar in Planet of the Apes, to the Navi in Avatar, Thanos in Infinity War, and now the cyborg heroine, Alita. According to Jon Landau, Rosa was hooked up to two cameras which tracked her throughout production, capturing any quirks that could be transferred to Alita on the big screen.
In an interview with Total Film, Robert Rodriguez has said that it’s a “huge production” consisting of “a thousand pages of notes, a 200-page script, and a tonne of artwork” It seems as though Alita is looking to be the next Avatar in terms of incorporating new innovating technology.
So at the moment, what is not to love? giant robots, cyborgs, and spectacular visuals. But there is a lot of built up pressure. The project has been around since the early 2000’s… and it is an manga adaptation. After films like Death Note, Dragonball: Evolution, and Ghost in a Shell, it’s safe to say that many anime fans are slightly concerned about Alita.
Are you excited for Alita? The big-budget extravaganza is due in theaters on February 6th in the United Kingdom and on the 14th in the United States- just in time for Valentines Day.
In the meantime, while we eagerly wait, check out the trailer below