Like some delicious celluloid Christmas present, 20th Century Fox have just offered industry insiders an exclusive sneak peak at the upcoming ‘Alita: Battle Angel’, and while we won’t give away any spoilers, suffice it to say that the big screen adaptation of the popular manga novel looks set to captivate cinemagoers in the New Year.
Arriving fresh from the imaginations of creative masterminds James Cameron (Aliens, Terminator 2:Judgment Day, Avatar), Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Planet Terror) and Jon Landau (Titanic, Avatar), Alita: Battle Angel looks set to continue the groundbreaking special effects work begun nine years ago with the first Avatar film. To whet your appetite for the film to come (it hits UK cinemas in February), here just a few of the reasons why Alita should be on your ‘must watch’ list.
1. It’s raising the bar for performance capture
FX company Weta Digital is behind the impressive visual effects used on the film, and based on what’s been presented they’re set to maintain their reputation for excellence long established by the Lord of the Rings, Hobbit and Avengers films. Andy Serkis’s iconic performance as Gollum was an ambitious undertaking, but Weta’s work on Alita demonstrates how they continue to break new ground. The title character is captured with subtle, believable imagery, so much so you often forget you’re watching computer-generated work at all. If this is what we can expect from the rest of the film, it’ll add up to a rather seamless and satisfying viewing experience.
2. It’s a world you’ll want to visit
The realisation of Iron City has shades of many fan favourite science fiction worlds, with particularly strong Blade Runner vibes, if not necessarily its unrelenting bleakness. That’s not to say that the film can’t explore darker themes, just that on the grounds of this preview Alita is undoubtedly an inviting world, and that can only be a good thing.
3. It’ll be funnier than you think
You’d be forgiven for thinking that based on the trailer it’ll be non-stop action, but the footage on show indicates that Alita will be full of warmth and humour. In this age of Marvel domination mixing some comedy in with the mayhem is a winning recipe for success with audiences, something Alita looks set to capitalise on. But, with that in mind…
4. Bet on it being scarier than you think, too.
If there’s one thing James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez know how to do, it’s put their characters in peril, and based on what’s on show it’s likely that everyone’s favourite Battle Angel will end up straying into a fair amount of danger. In this sense there’s no one better than Rodriguez to deliver some edge-of-your-seat moments, if his track record is anything to go by.
5. You’ll be introduced to a few up-and-coming stars.
Again, both Cameron and Rodriguez have an eye for spotting actors who go on to become household names, and with an interesting array of up-and-coming faces in the mix, this streak is set to continue. This is particularly true for lead actress Rosa Salazar, who was a real standout in the hugely popular Maze Runner series and more than holds her own in this against acting heavyweights like Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly and Mahershala Ali.
6. It’s been made to entice new audiences AND satisfy fans of the original graphic novel
If there’s one thing that shined through in the screening (as well as the accompanying filmmakers’ Q&A) it’s that this film has been made with an ardent love for its source material. If it can deliver on its promise, Alita will be sure to keep mainstream audiences and die-hard fans happy.
7. There will be tonnes of twists and turns
True, that’s what all good films do – but there really is a lot more going on beneath the surface in Alita than meets the eye. There are likely quite a few surprises on offer, with the trailers only hinting at the tip of the iceberg.
8. You’ll want to see it in IMAX
Just because. Although seeing it in any cinema will likely be a treat, the IMAX offers that unique experience of jaw-dropping sound and visuals, and with the 3D offering you’ll just want to sink into the screen. By no means an essential, but you probably won’t regret the experience.