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An action-based cyberpunk film, tailored from a ‘manga’ series created by Yukito Kishiro close to three decades ago, has finally come to fruition. The entertaining epic, Alita: Battle Angel has hit cinemas after being initially ignited by visionary producer James Cameron almost 20 years ago.
The Avatar director and Canadian native had since handed over the reins of the project to ‘close friend’ Robert Rodriguez, with Cameron’s focus seemingly set on the production of Avatar 2 – plus the three further instalments in the works.
That trust between the pair seems apparent in the outcome of this film, as it certainly shows no signs of disconnect throughout this two hour and 22-minute feature. But the lengthy runtime is warranted in this case.
It showcases a breath-taking splendour of visual effects, from the environment of ‘Iron City’ in 26th Century Earth to the astounding realisation of Alita herself.
Played by Rosa Salazar, the character is one of certain intrigue. Supported by motion capture, many would be forgiven for thinking the photorealistic textures by Weta Digital, to produce the manga-like visuals would mean the humanity the actress could bring would be limited. Fortunately, this is not the case as the digital visual effects company behind the Lord of The Rings trilogy allows Salazar’s complete performance to shine through in flying colours.
This in turn leads to tight chemistry between Salazar and fellow cast members. The most notable instance was shown with Christoph Waltz who plays Dr Dyson Ido, an inventor who helps Alita and quickly becomes a father-like figure for the protagonist. The two-time Oscar winner’s performance is expectedly impressive and handles the numerous layers to his character well, yet his limited screen time does befall subject to the majority of the film’s exposition.
The strongest cog to this potential blockbuster is certainly in its action sequences. With the legitimate use of multiple martial arts integrated alongside incredibly smooth fight choreography. It produces multiple edge-of-your-seat moments that still feel fresh.
Notably, the film leaves viewers with a sense that this will not be the last we see of this world, which is a feat in itself with such an extensive plot. Yet this is in typical fashion for James Cameron and this could be just the beginning for a new world to add to his extensive award-winning collection. However, those who fall for this film’s feats will certainly hope that they won’t have to wait over a decade for the sequel, as has been the case for Avatar 2 which is pegged to be released in December 2020.
Besides a strong setup and credible pacing, this film could well take audiences by surprise this February.
For a film that revolves around the existence of cyborgs, Alita: Battle Angel definitely inhabits a lot of heart.