December 9, 2017 by
With a teaser for the movie released yesterday, we now have the full trailer for Alita: Battle Angel and it looks like it could be actually decent. Now, it is worth understanding the history behind James Cameron’s involvement with this project. In that, this is something that he has been working on in the background since the 1995 Ghost in the Shell anime film came out. This is definitely a passion project for him and much of what held the film back was the limitations of special effects during the 90s. Cameron has also clearly read the original manga, known as Gunnm in Japan and penned by Yukito Kishiro, and has used that as his source material here. To understand what this means, you only have to look at this trailer and see that Alita is already using Panzer Kunst moves from the manga. This is a special cyborg martial art in the story that originates on Mars and was initially used in zero gravity situations. It is used specifically to allow smaller and supposedly “weaker” cyborgs to subdue much larger and stronger enemies. By the time of the story, Alita is one of the last Panzer Kunst practitioners alive and that makes her an inherent target for the new power structure on Earth, or what is left of it. Gunnm was and still is a brilliant and thoroughly dystopian cyberpunk manga with a wonderful and nuanced woman lead character. Considering Cameron’s back catalog of films, the premise is beyond perfect for him. My only gripe is that Alita is depicted as per her manga and later anime likeness, which means her eyes are enormous. This makes her look very odd next to what is clearly an amazing cast of very talented actors. I don't get why this was necessary, as it is visually quite jarring. Alita’s face is proportioned like a manga and anime character in real life, yet everyone else looks like a regular human being (even the other cyborgs). Bar that though, this is something I have been hoping Cameron would get around to for decades and thus far, from what I am seeing this could be genuinely good. Ollie Barder