For 15 years, James Cameron has tried to bring Alita: Battle Angel to the big screen. But with his dedication to the long-promised sequels to Avatar, the project took a back seat. Until 2015, when he hired Robert Rodriguez as director. “Robert and I have been looking for a film to do together for years, so I was pumped when he wanted to do Battle Angel,” said Cameron when he announced the film in 2015.
Cameron’s original screenplay consisted of 186-pages and had 600 pages of notes attached to it. Which Rodriguez helped clean up. With Laeta Kalogridis also assisting in the writing of the screenplay, filming commenced at Rodriguez’s studio lot in Austin, Texas.
“This project is near and dear to me, and there’s nobody I trust more than Robert,” Cameron added. Based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga series Gunnm which ran from 1990 to 1995, the film’s story centers on a rebuilt cyborg named Alita. Though she has no recollection of her past life, her only memory is her training in the martial arts form of Panzer Kunst. Which leads to her hunting cyborg criminals in the 26th century dystopian city of Scrapyard.
All while trying to discover who she was in her past life. But can this film break through the uncanny valley? As shown in the trailer, Alita is a fully digital character and looks like she does in the manga. But her interactions with her human counterparts look a bit odd and don’t look too convincing.
With movies like Ex Machina and War For The Planet Of The Apes, the level and amount of graphics shown in this trailer only raise concern. Though the film was shot on practical sets, and Cameron wanted to shoot it digitally like Avatar, a lot of the CGI is very noticeable. Giving certain scenes a concept art look.