BY: Rohn Romulo
SETTING standards anew notches higher in (big-screen) cinematic experience, James Cameron and Jon Landau (producers) along with director Robert Rodriguez blend the bleeding edge of digital tools with the art of epic, human storytelling in “Alita: Battle Angel.”
The mesmerizing adventure of Alita begins as cyberphysician Dr. Ido (Christoph Waltz) makes a scrapyard find that will change his life and Iron City forever: the discarded “cyber-core” of a girl whose body may be broken but her human brain is still barely pulsing with life. Ido cannot abandon her. He begins to restore this mysterious cyborg and discovers a second chance at fatherhood—a chance to watch her learn, grow and taste the wondrous pleasures of life for the first time with wide-eyed excitement. But the sweet, curious girl Ido names Alita (Rosa Salazar) hides many secrets. When Alita inadvertently reveals she possesses unique long lost fighting skills, it becomes clear she must carve out her own destiny. For even if the art of the battle was long ago hardwired into her, Alita must discover in her soul the reasons to fight.
Landau recalls that Cameron’s (Avatar and Titanic filmmakers) draft was a starkly emotional read. “At its heart were two love stories: a love story between Alita and Ido, the father figure who rebuilt her, and a love story between Alita and Hugo (Keean Johnson), a street kid and cyborg jacker who never thought he’d fall in love with a cyborg.”
Setting a possibility in the not-so-distant future, the cyborgs in the movie are not robots; they’re humans enhanced by biotechnological components built into the body. Today, the cutting edge of medical prosthetics research is pioneering new ways for the human brain to both directly control and sense artificial limbs. The movie brings about the fusion of mind and machine making a quantum leap that grants humans the promise not just of restoration but of total reinvention.
A playful innovator who enjoyed blowing past conventional boundaries from the start, director Robert Rodriguez had already been a 3D pioneer—his Spy Kids 3D became the first all-digital movie in 2003, Now, he was like a kid let loose in the ultimate cinematic candy store. “Tech has always been a big part of what I do,” says Rodriguez. “But with this film, I knew I would have a chance to go exponentially further because Jim has already innovated so many different technologies for visualizing, pre-visualizing and making 3D films. I took it as a real chance to learn. I knew I’d be really challenged, which I thought was fantastic.”
Made-for-the-big-screen, “Alita: Battle Angel” is a 20th Century Fox film now playing in Philippine cinemas – available in 2D, 3D and 3D IMAX.