Lucas Cavanaugh, 2019
Alita Battle Angel, a live action adaptation of the manga of the same name, was released earlier this month. Almost every live action adaptation of an anime has been terrible (DragonBall Evolution and Death Note for example). Unlike those, Alita is a good live action adaptation and is extremely faithful to the source material, with only minor changes.
The movie is set in the 26th century, 300 years after a societal collapse caused by a major war. It’s a technological dark age following a pinnacle of achievement far beyond where we are right now; Cyborg technology is a way of life. People are augmented as workers, so being a cyborg is not unusual. The main character is a cyborg with an organic human brain, and she looks like she’s about fourteen years old. Her body is completely artificial and she’s lost her memory. She is found in a wreckage and reconstituted by a cyber-surgeon who becomes her surrogate father.
The movie took almost two decades to even come to light. James Cameron had the script, voice over, setting, and character designs made in 2005, but while directing Avatar and its upcoming sequels, Alita fell to the wayside until Robert Rodriguez got permission to direct it with Cameron as producer.
When I watched the movie, I could tell that it was a passion project. Cameron and Rodriguez didn’t make it for money; they made it because they were fans of the manga, and you can really see the love and care with the intensive and stunning world-building, attention to detail, and CGI.
There is only one major flaw: Hugo was only included for the romance, while in the manga he was a developed character with an interesting back story. In the movie, though, he barely develops past “Alita’s boyfriend.”
Overall, Alita Battle Angel is a great movie and is most definitely worth a watch.