Comic-Con 2018 - Why Alita: Battle Angel's Eyes Are So Big, Trailer Coming Soon

Get ready for Monday.


Taking a beloved manga property and translating it to an western audience for the big screen can be quite the task. This is what 20th Century Fox is trying to accomplish with its December 21 film Alita: Battle Angel. During San Diego Comic Con, director Robert Rodriguez and producer Jon Landau showed off almost 20 minutes of the film at a panel. Additionally, attendees got an early look at the trailer, which will be released worldwide on Monday, July 23 at 8 AM PT / 11 AM ET.

Before the event began, Landau and Rodriguez discussed how the manga, called Gunnm in Japan, got the Hollywood treatment by James Cameron and why it took so long to develop this movie. Cameron switched focus, years ago, to Avatar, which Landau explained was good in the long run for Alita as technology, 3D effects, and filming have become advanced enough to properly realize the story for the big screen.

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While a lot of the controversy surrounding Alita deals with the titular character's look, more specifically how large her eyes are compared to other cyborgs in the film, Robert Rodriguez explained a bit more why she looks like that. James Cameron's vision, since he obtained the rights to the property, was to bring manga to life. Rodriguez explained that he wanted the look of what's on the page to be realized in a three dimensional form and look as real as possible. He wanted to stay true to the source material. While other cyborgs didn't have-the large eyes, pointed chin, and anime/manga aesthetic in the footage we saw, it fit Alita. It may have takena few minutes to get used to, but it felt comfortable as the scenes went on.

As with Avatar, Alita is also in 3D. There were a couple moments in the scenes shown where shots were set up purely for the "it's coming right at you" effect for the audience. Additionally, there were some action sequences which also incorporated the 3D elements. While we can't get into finer details of the plot or what these scenes actually contained, attendees did get a pretty good picture of what the entirety of the movie is about. The footage showed a balance of story and action from what seemed to be pivotal moments from the movie. However, we can say that Weta's visual FX look outstanding, especially for a movie that still four months out from release. Even when some things looked a little rough--like faces on a couple cyborgs--it still looked cleaner than most of the CG in this year's summer blockbusters. More than anything else, this movie will be a showcase for what CG should look like.

Hollywood has tried to do live-action versions of Japanese anime and manga, like Fist of the North Star, Fullmetal Alchemist, Death Note, and Ghost in the Shell to name a few, but it has yet to capture the essence of the stories and characters. Because of the team behind the movie, including James Cameron, who has been a driving force behind getting this made, Alita: Battle Angel shows a lot more promise in the manga-to-feature genre than any of its predecessors.

San Diego Comic-Con 2018 Coverage

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