Early reactions to Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel praise the film as an emotional, mind-blowing 3D adventure. It’s been a long road to the big screen for Alita: Battle Angel, which is based on the manga by Yukito Kishiro. James Cameron became a fan of the manga after being introduced to it by Guillermo del Toro, and he would spend years developing the material as a directing project for himself. It would eventually take a backseat when Cameron focused on developing the original Avatar, but as the years went by it would fall into development hell.
Cameron’s focus on the upcoming Avatar sequels made it seem unlikely he would ever get around to Alita: Battle Angel. Cameron would eventually pass the project on to Robert Rodriguez instead, giving the filmmaker over 600 pages of notes that had to be condensed into a workable script. The story of Alita: Battle Angel takes several centuries into the future, where a cyborg named Alita (Rosa Salazar) is nursed back to health by a kindly doctor (Christoph Waltz), who tries to help her remember her violent past.
Related: Alita: Battle Angel (Trailer #3)
Alita: Battle Angel has had its release date pushed back a couple of times, and anticipation for the movie currently feels somewhat muted. Now early reactions are in, and it sounds like Rodriguez may have crafted the first unmissable blockbuster of 2019. The movie is praised as an immersive and emotional ride and one that makes great use of the 3D format.
Saw #AlitaBattleAngel, a sci-fi genre landmark offering an immersive glimpse into a future world of haves and have-nots, with Rosa Salazar’s cyborg as its powerful avenging angel. Her photoreal CG performance is amazingly nuanced. Only complaint is the film left me wanting more. pic.twitter.com/vjhUePUfWW— Max Evry (@maxevry) January 9, 2019
Just saw Alita: Battle Angel and it kinda blew my mind. Can’t wait for everyone to see it! More anime/manga adaptations like this please! pic.twitter.com/b6vLkma46T— Hector Navarro (@Hectorisfunny) January 8, 2019
Paul Shirley of JoBlo is particularly effusive in his praise, dubbing it a visceral ride with great effects and dark story twists.
#AlitaBattleAngel is a wild, visceral ride that offers kick-ass action, an immersive virtual world and a surprising amount of emotional weight. Everything rests on you loving the character of Alita and she is fully fleshed out; strong, flawed, endearing and rebellious— Paul Shirey (@arcticninjapaul) January 9, 2019
There are a lot of surprises in #AlitaBattleAngel with some dark turns and violent bursts of action, as well as characters that break free of being humdrum digital beings and emerge as fully rounded individuals. Spectacle is aplenty, but it’s not without investment.— Paul Shirey (@arcticninjapaul) January 9, 2019
Great score by @Junkie_XL that stands out in action beats and quiet scenes. Obviously the effects are great and the creativity behind many of the characters is inspired and cool with a few cameo surprises. This is definitely a theatrical experience movie. #AlitaBattleAngel— Paul Shirey (@arcticninjapaul) January 9, 2019
Final note: 3D is easy on the eyes and unobtrusive. Shot natively and enhances the overall experience. Really look forward to seeing it in IMAX. #AlitaBattleAngel— Paul Shirey (@arcticninjapaul) January 9, 2019
Hopefully, this early buzz will give Alita: Battle Angel a shot in the arm. Given the amount of time the project has spent in development, and the involvement of Cameron as a producer, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise the film had the potential to be great. After spending the better part of a decade developing the Avatar sequels, Cameron is suddenly very busy. In addition to filming Avatar 2 & 3, he’s producing both Alita and the upcoming Terminator 6, which marks his first return to the franchise since the second movie in 1991.
If Alita: Battle Angel performs well, Rodriguez has confirmed further sequels have already been mapped out. Rodriguez himself has been linked to the long-gestating Escape From New York remake as his next assignment, but when asked about his involvement during a recent Q&A event, he wouldn’t confirm he’s still part of the project.
Source: Various [see the above links]
- Alita Battle Angel (2019) release date: Feb 14, 2019