From producers James Cameron and Jon Landau comes a new digital dazzler. We’ve got your full lowdown.
Spoilers to follow.
What’s it about?
Based on the first four books in Yukito Kishiro manga series ‘Gunnm’ – aka ‘Battle Angel Alita’ – Alita: Battle Angel tells a cyberpunk story of a bounty hunter in the post-apocalyptic far future. This is a tale of empowerment in a society crippled by technological failure.
The film opens with compassionate doctor Dyson Ido discovering a disembodied cyborg, named Alita, in a scrapyard. Taking her in, Ido rebuilds Alita’s ruined body – learning of her extraordinary past in the process – and introduces her to a new world that she no longer recognises.
With the help of her street-smart friend Hugo, Alita explores the treacherous Iron City, learns of her past – against the wishes of Ido – and takes on the malicious forces that have taken over in the wake of calamity.
Alita is a fighter like no other but, with her family, friends and home at stake, can she survive long enough to save the day?
Who’s in it?
Maze Runner franchise star Rosa Salazar brings Alita from page to screen, albeit with significant input from computer generated effects. Indeed, whilst this is a live-action film, Alita is a purely digital creation. The effect is uncanny but does well to capture the illustrated character’s original aesthetic.
In supporting roles, three Academy Award winners lend their talents. Christoph Waltz plays Dr. Ido, with Jennifer Connelly as his disenchanted ex-girlfriend, Dr. Chiren, and Green Book‘s Mahershala Ali as Vector, a Motorball-rigging crook.
Feature film newcomer Keean Johnson plays Hugo, alongside Ed Skrein as Zapan, the cyborg tasked with tracking down Alita, and Jackie Earle Harley as his superior Grewishka.
As ever with Hollywood takes on Japanese culture, east Asian stars are conspicuous by their absence.
Who’s made it?
James Cameron was first introduced to Kishiro’s manga at the turn of the century by Guillermo del Toro and the film’s production has been bubbling away ever since. Much like Peter Jackson’s relationship to Mortal Engines, Cameron has been too occupied by his spurious Avatar odyssey to direct the film and has handed the reigns to Spy Kids director Robert Rodriguez.
Not content with too distanced a role, Cameron remains the film’s producer and writer, in partnership with Shutter Island wordsmith Laeta Kalogridis.
The film has been edited by Cameron’s Avatar partner Stephen E. Rivkin and is co-produced by his long-time collaborator Jon Landau.
When’s it out?
Alita lands in UK cinemas on 6 February, a whole week ahead of its US release.
Watch the trailer here: