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James Cameron Quickly Updates His Battle Angel Adaptation

by
December 15, 2009
Source: MTV, MarketSaw

Battle Angel

A few people have been asking me what this Battle Angel project listed on James Cameron's upcoming filmography is all about. Here's our chance to explain what the movie is and give you a little update on it. James Cameron spoke with both MTV and MarketSaw recently and gave them each some juicy morsels of information on Battle Angel. The project is an adaptation of Yukito Kishiro's popular manga series from the 90's known as Battle Angel Alita. In short, the futuristic sci-fi manga is about a female cyborg warrior who is rescued from a scrapheap beneath the floating city of Tiphares by a cybermedic expert in the 26th century.

"We're not that far down the line," Cameron said. "We have a very good script and we've done a lot of production design. We've done about a year of production design and we've put together an art reel that shows the arc of the film. It's pretty much just add water and we're ready to go." So maybe Cameron could get to this before he returns to Pandora in an Avatar sequel? Not exactly. "I'm not even sure that I'm going to do that film at this point. I might, I still like it, but it seems like every time I make a movie it changes my perception of what I want to make next," he told MarketSaw. Instead, The Dive is probably Cameron's next.

What is one of the reasons Cameron is holding back on Battle Angel? The technology just isn't there yet.

"The mixture of live-action and CG is a little trickier in 3-D than it is 2-D," Cameron told MTV. "Now we see it's good to have done Avatar first before Battle Angel, because the tricky scenes are where you're blending live-action photography, stereoscopic photography and CG."

"Shooting live stuff in 3-D and then adding CG characters and landscapes beyond that, that's a little tricky," he explained.

You might be wondering why this is a problem if they made Avatar look as good as it does. Well, I have a feeling Cameron wants to make Alita - the cyborg girl - a completely CG character like the Na'vi in Avatar. But most of the movie would be otherwise be shot live action with real actors and real sets. So basically he's combining a completely CGI character with live actors who would be performing a sound stage, which they did a little bit of in Avatar. But he's saying that the technology still needs to progress further for them to be able to actually make Battle Angel. In essence, he wants another brilliant T-1000 character all over again.

That's what I love about James Cameron. Back in 1991 when he was making Terminator 2, he wanted a character that was unlike anything we'd ever seen before, and would look and act exactly like a robot from the future with a metal alloy that could form any shape it wanted. He didn't let technology hold him back and he created a flawless CGI character that still holds up today. Now, I think, he wants to do something similar with Battle Angel and create a CGI cyborg character that feels completely real but is actually just a cyborg. Pretty interesting when you think about it. But will he direct Battle Angel next? Only time will tell!

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Reader Feedback - 32 Comments

1

Never heard of the anime...somebody should do Full Metal Alchemist

Trey m on Dec 15, 2009

2

Alita won't be his next movie but maybe we'll see it down the line.

JakeTheSnake on Dec 15, 2009

3

I'm all eyes and years on this one. Loved that Anime and manga.

Johnny Neat on Dec 15, 2009

4

Someone should do Akira,but this would be great.

tir na nog on Dec 15, 2009

5

"Never heard of the anime…somebody should do Full Metal Alchemist" Now I'm feeling old.

chiptune on Dec 15, 2009

6

Akira would get my money.

tir na nog on Dec 15, 2009

7

Love the idea of making Alita completely CGI, but making it blend in good between the real actors seems tricky indeed. Maybe if they make her doll like.. hm.. just thinking out loud.

malax on Dec 15, 2009

8

@6 But would Akira get your money if it had been the Leo Dicaprio produced version that almost was?

Gill on Dec 15, 2009

9

Agree with #1...someone should do Full Metal Alchemist...

zeldaprimed on Dec 15, 2009

10

Avatar looks as if it's going to be awesome and if he puts as much maybe even half as much passion in this live action then it'll be great. I loved this anime so I hope it gets done right, especially with all the effects he's capable of using.

Nuika on Dec 15, 2009

11

i'm still waiting on GITS!!!!!

ray on Dec 15, 2009

12

#11 +1 Ghost in the shell

Dim_one on Dec 15, 2009

13

i thought camron did Battle Angel already it was called Dark Angel

talkmoney on Dec 15, 2009

14

i actually cant stand most manga, but battle angel was probably the only one worth really reading. they can do akira and screw it up i can see that happening unless they fallow the story to a T, full metal alchemist meh saw it and now i am over it, if they do decide to do this i doubt it will get enough attention because most have not read the manga. and no #13 dark angel has no true comparison to battle angel.

splinter on Dec 15, 2009

15

I have never seen the anime, but I always hear it is good. Someone will probably do Full Metal Alchemist one day, but it isn't over yet. The anime may be but the manga is still continuing and manga. What about Trigun.

Ronald on Dec 15, 2009

16

Avatar looks good? Moving on...so 3D has officially screwed up the movie making system. Of course it's been reported before, delays because transferring 2D to 3D takes time, but this is simply pathetic. We could have a great movie out soon if it weren't for stupid 3D.

Tra la la la la di da on Dec 15, 2009

17

What is so hard with combining live action sets with CGI?!? Instead of toying with our brains, I wish Cameron would just make up his mind and tell us whether or not he's making Alita.

Kenneth on Dec 15, 2009

18

I have been waiting so long to hear this news! That Battle Angel is FINALLY getting some progress done on it!!! I'm sorry but I found the GITS anime to be so boring, and Alita has a much more developed character throughout the series, whereas Motoko is pretty much as is. No one knew about Avatar before it was made (obviously) but look at the fanbase it's picked up. I do believe Battle Angel could do the same, if advertised right.

Tara on Dec 15, 2009

19

^You mean like all over MySpace? I think Cameron bought MySpace from Tom. I've simply stop going there since two weeks ago because of all the crap Avatar ads. They're everywhere!!!

Tra la la la la di da on Dec 15, 2009

20

"I think...Cameron wants to make Alita - the cyborg girl - a completely CG character" You're probably right. Cameron has been on a mission to make photorealistic CGI. Its one thing to make alien creatures, objects or landscapes that look real. Its another to do the human form and make it look well human. If anybody does that it will be James Cameron.

JimD on Dec 16, 2009

21

Alita is awesome. The anime is just stunning. Cameron would make a great movie out of it.

Ambient on Dec 16, 2009

22

That's some awesome news. I loved the Alita manga, and for someone like Cameron to make a movie out of it is truly wonderful. Can't wait 😀

Wicked on Dec 16, 2009

23

To 8,I dont know,depends,but setting it in New york is too far from original.

tir na nog on Dec 16, 2009

24

I've read the entire Manga, and watched the anime. After reading the manga i've always wondered why they didnt make an anime tv series out of it instead of just an OVA. If Cameron can pull this off, it'll be awesome. But he will need to pour alot of blood and sweat into it, and the CG will need to be in a league of its own all over again. Also, if he wants to make it properly he should aim for an R rating, since the manga is actually quite violent and thought provoking. I'm actually looking forward to this if he manages to pull it off.

Crystal on Dec 16, 2009

25

James Cameron -long rich and decades stale -stands accused of receiving massive financing and market favors from the most awesomely genocidal (70,000,000 'missing' people) regime in human history---across the Pacific. Of course the other end of the deal is that he and the rest of Hollywood keep conscousness away from any reckoning with this looming and damning reality. 70 million folks! ---70 million -and counting... NOW ---back to your circle-jerk fantasies.

tp ne on Dec 17, 2009

26

{{Trey: "Never heard of the anime…somebody should do Full Metal Alchemist"}} So you probably don't know very much about manga or anime.... From my point of view (very well suported for millions of fans, Cameron included) Battle Angel is a classic from the release of the first chapter. {{chiptune :"Now I'm feeling old."}} You dont need to, thought Gunnm(for who don't know the original title) - Last Order is still running very smoothly on Japan. I don't know there on USA since I'm on Brazil but you should look for it. It's still very good...

Getulio on Dec 29, 2009

27

Full Metal Alchemist or Tri-Gun? Compared to Gunnm? You have got to be kidding me. "I" feel old now. As for the comments for Akira and GITS: No. Those two are great in their own medium. We do NOT need them in Americanized live-action or even 3D form. Gunnm lies somewhere after those two pivotal titles and is better suited for what Cameron make. And to preempt, no to Evangelion. As for GITS being slow, GITS is not slow; it's just a more philosophical and inquisitive narrative. If anything Mamoru Oshii is trying to bring cinematic film pacing to a genre that's not used to it. Slow shots, deliberate scenic setups, slow build up to finish, character development and dialogue.

JimmyTheTongue on Jan 2, 2010

28

I don't know about Full Metal Alchemist and Tri-Gun, but Battle Angel is an anime classic and it came out during that time period which included the likes of Akira, Ninja Scroll, and Fist of the North Star. Much of modern anime has to be influenced by the Battle Angel OVA. Also, compared to those other three, I personally felt that Battle Angel had the best storyline. Akira is just a little too weird (I would love to hear people explain the last hour of that movie), Ninja Scroll's story is a little too derivative and Fist of the North Star didn't really have a story, just a simple plotline used to string together scenes of hyper-violence. There's a reason anime like Akira, Battle Angel, Ninja Scroll and Ghost in the Shell are getting looked at for Hollywood: because the current crop of producers, directors and other "players" grew up to these movies. Full Metal Alchemist might get looked at somewhere down the road, but for now, that generation of anime might have to wait.

Imajicka1 on Jan 3, 2010

29

I'm a bit confused here. From the plot description given here of Battle Angel, it sounds very interesting & intriguing. And I know how groundbreaking the T1000 character was in T2. I watched the BD version of that(my 5th viewing of that movie overall)last summer. And yeah, that movie still stands tall today. But here's what I don't get. What's the point in making Alita the only CG character in a movie that's all live action otherwise? Is it just a technical exercise to see how lifelike you can make a CGI character? Because if Cameron is going to have a human actress provide the voice and facial expressions as Zoe Saldana did, but with cyborg Alita in the form of a 14 yr old human girl, why not just have a child actress play the part in live action as usual? They could get the young girl from Chocolate to play the part for instance. And then mix in some CGI when necessary to show the inside of her arms and legs as robotic. Also, didn't they mix in CG robots with live action humans in I Robot with Will Smith? What am I missing here?

Marshal on Jan 5, 2010

30

He's holding back because he says the CG isn't advanced enough to show a human face. But I hope he remembers that Alita is a CYBORG, with only the brain being fleshy. So he can get away with making her completely CG, with poreless skin, in fact it will be more true to the manga.

Jack on Jan 5, 2010

31

Battle Angel Alita has farout the best storyline especially for adaptation for the big screene and the major public I just hope he doesnt fokitup Cause its a really nice story with nice and intresting characters

Nimrod on Feb 11, 2010

32

---YET MORE New World Order eugenics predicitve programming from the totally on board, aging FAST, James Cameron. MEANWHILE, as George Soros announces just days ago "RED China MUST OWN the New World Order" AND as UN 'eco' heavy Maurice Strong visits his favorite aunt, who's buried in Beiing, right next to MAO TSE TUNG (FACT) we learn--- Labs inside RED China aren't just managing VAST abortion operations ----BUT they're keeping some of the unborn alive -----"for experiments". Happy New Year kids! -----------------------AND remember ---eugenics -----MEANS YOU!

anon YMUS on Jan 3, 2011

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