It isn’t often that we get to see two big filmmakers teaming up to bring a project to the big screen. But in the case of Alita: Battle Angel, James Cameron (Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2, Titanic) and Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, From Dusk Til Dawn, Sin City) combined their talents to create a great story with incredible realistic visuals.
The film is based on Yukito Kishiro’s nine-volume manga series Gunnm, also known as Battle Angel Alita. Cameron has said that the film version is derived from the first four books. Production was initially set to begin way back in 2003, but due to Cameron’s commitments to making Avatar and its sequels, it was delayed year after year. After repeated changes from everything such as actors who were attached to star, to even the title, Rodriguez was hired as director and given the largest budget for a film he’s ever had (reports indicate $150m – $237m).
I’ll be honest, there was a time when I was opposed to movies that relied heavily on CGI. As I got older, I slowly became a fan. The technology has gotten so far advanced that it’s mind blowing how realistic these characters look. Actress Rosa Salazar, who portrays Alita, had to wear motion capture dots in addition to a helmet that pointed two cameras at her face in order to register every movement and nuance while she performed. Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley and Eiza González also portray cyborgs, some of whom have been modified beyond anything resembling a human. I read that there are over 1,500 visual effects shots in total so kudos to the team that worked on getting every microscopic detail as close to real life as possible.
The plot is both heartwarming and action-packed, but my favorite part is a sport called Motorball which some of the characters participate in. Picture Rollerball if it was played by Transformers. The Motorball scenes feel like you’re in a virtual rollercoaster at Universal Studios.
The movie hits theaters on Feb. 14th in Real D 3D, Dolby Cinema and IMAX 3D formats. If you really want to experience this movie the right way, I highly recommend going for the IMAX experience!