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James Cameron's Live Action Battle Angel Alita 148

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the from-celuloid-to-flesh-and-blood dept.
Dean Siren writes "Moviehole.net reports that James Cameron wants to direct a live action Battle Angel Alita movie. Cameron says, "The issue is will it be the next film, or will it be the one after the next film? That's really all there is to it at this point. We've done a tremendous amount of design for the film, we're fine-tuning the script, it's just a matter of time." As for the movie itself, "Motorball might find its way more into the second film - I definitely want to do more than one film. I want to create a world and a character that can go through at least one more film, possibly more. And that's not just for the classic financial reasons, it's just that I think there's a possibility for a real mythology here, so I feel that this is a good canvas to do something big that's got more scope." UK Anime and The Z Review are also reporting." I enjoyed the original Battle Angel Alita. It left me feeling like so much more could be done with it. It'll be interesting to see what comes of this one.
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James Cameron's Live Action Battle Angel Alita

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  • by skia (100784) <skia AT skia DOT net> on Sunday April 20, 2003 @12:02PM (#5768883) Homepage
    ...you'll love the manga [animenation.com].
  • by ChrisTower (122297) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @12:03PM (#5768886) Homepage
    I enjoyed the original Battle Angel Alita. It left me feeling like so much more could be done with it.



    A lot of people felt that way because the two part OVA you saw was only a small part of the story that sprawled across a multivolume manga [amazon.com]. If you really liked the movie and want more, definitely check out the manga. As with book to movie translations, the manga is usually better then the anime.

    • I'm assuming that Mr. Cameron actually did read the manga.

      He mensions that he wants to do a movie, maybe the second, based on motorball. Which is actually after the two OVA series.

      "Motorball might find its way more into the second film"

      But the manga is certainly leagues better than the medicore OVA.
  • Lessons of History (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20, 2003 @12:08PM (#5768906)
    After seeing how other animes have been brutally destroyed by the influence of the American entertainment industry, I am a little hesitant. They attempt to gear everything for the "Street Fighter" audience, and Battle Angel Alita deserves better than that... Even subtle things like dubbing takes away from anime... who has heard Rurouni Kenshin on toonami? It sounded like they hired the actors from the original Ninja Turtles. Can we expect more in live action? Or will we get another Tomb Raider?
    • by alphaseven (540122) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @12:46PM (#5769047)
      Can we expect more in live action? Or will we get another Tomb Raider?

      Depends on your opinion on James Cameron. Battle Angel Alita has a lot of themes that are very similar to Camerons other work, a tough female lead in the vein of Dark Angel/Aliens/T2, centered around a love story like Titanic/Abyss. And it'll need great special effects. It has such similar themes to Camerons other work I can see him doing a faithful adaptation.

      Akira, on the other hand, I have no idea how they're going to pull off as a live action, so much is tied to it's setting in Neo-Tokyo and the drug use and the confusing ending, I don't see Hollywood doing that faithfully.

      (and hey I mentioned this in October [slashdot.org])

  • I don't think anyone could live up to Alita...
    So cute and tough...and built perfectly...

    I'd much rather see the rest of the series as well done animated movies. We don't need another "Fist of the Northstar" fiasco!
    • Now it's live action Alita, but what happened to live action Akira? [slashdot.org]

      I still believe that when trying to turn an anime into a live action movie one should work with the utmost respect for the anime itself, and try to keep everything the way it was, without trying to over-americanize it. (by adding unnecessary sex, guns, and explosions... Although the sex part is well covered in a lot of animes.) Otherwise you get something that is... crap.

      • Oh, man, be happy Hollywood hasn't yet butchered Akira...if they change philosopher into sorceror, there is no way in any of the nine hells that they'd be able to get the ending right.

        Anyway, I'm still trying to get my hands on a copy of the live action Wicked City...I once saw an add for it, but I've never come across the movie anywhere :(
  • by Xpilot (117961) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @12:15PM (#5768939) Homepage
    I'll watch anything with her in it. She is the ultimate in hotness. She was James Cameron's lead actress for his short-lived TV series.
    • She's also a talentless hack.
    • Which series I always assumed was supposed to be an Americanized Alita. Guess not. Anyway, before JA can star in a movie, she's gonna have to take acting lessons. Hot or not, she has all the screen presence of a Shelty on qualudes.
  • A dream come true (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    As a film student and special effects guru-type, I can only say thank god for this. The manga is my favorite series hands-down (how many people can say they've cried at the conclusion of the Ourobouros section, where Alita and Nova face off?), and I've taken 2 years of Japanese mostly to be able to translate the rest of it that wasn't released here (look for Gunnm: Last Order on the net).
    Cameron knows how to use effects well, and has enough of a reputation to command an impressive budget. He's got the kinks
    • actually, on a slightly offtopic note: Gunnm: Last Order is also available in a comic book series getting released (monthly?); so if you can't find the scans and translations, look into picking up the translations at your local comic book store.
    • "As a film student and special effects guru-type, I can only say thank god for this..."

      BZZZZZZT!!! *Red Flag*

      C'mon, everybody knows you SFX guys only care about production values and completely lack discrimination in terms of plot and story.

      "Cameron knows how to use effects well, and has enough of a reputation to command an impressive budget..."

      BZZZZZZT!!! *red flag (again)*

      Cameron is an effects whore. He nearly always uses movies as vehicles for his "groundbreaking" special effects. "Aliens" was

      • "As a film student and special effects guru-type, I can only say thank god for this..." BZZZZZZT!!! *Red Flag*

        Well, what kind of student calls himself a guru?

  • Not Interested (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BadmanX (30579) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @12:30PM (#5768989) Homepage
    He'll Americanize the crap out of it and cast some no-talent pretty girl in the lead (hell, he'll probably stick with Jessica Alba). I cannot imagine him finding a real actress with both the physicality to play Alita AND the childlike innocence that made her so easy to identify with. And then the whole movie will become a warning about how we should take better care of our environment or something.

    If rich American directors and actors find Japanese anime movies they like, I'd rather they fund the creation of a new movie or a remake IN JAPAN than try to "bring it to the American audience", destroying everything that made the anime great in the process.
    • Re:Not Interested (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Paolomania (160098)
      I cannot imagine him finding a real actress with both the physicality to play Alita AND the childlike innocence that made her so easy to identify with.

      Thats because in reality having exceptionally powerful physique and being a childlike waif are mutually exclusive.

  • I suppose it was only a matter of time before hollywood decided to destroy Anime too...
  • Oh wonderful... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BJH (11355) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @12:35PM (#5769008)
    I quote:

    There's a lot of really great things about it, and there's a lot of things - whether the artist really intended them or not - that I read into it, and so I think it'll be a good fusion of what Kashiro created and how I would do things.


    "The manga is very episodic and very discordant - it's not internally consistent, meaning sometimes she looks like one thing and has one set of abilities, and at the whim of Kashiro he'll go off on a whole different tangent. It needs to be fused and focused and given a centralised storyline. But the character will be very, very true to Alita as she is in the manga.


    Sure, it'll be "true" to the original character even though you want to change the storyline, the characterization and the focus. Great, another Americanised bastardization of a work that doesn't need that kind of 'improvement'.
    • Alright, I'm not defending Cameron, but let's be honest, despite the protestations of some the anime and manga the Japanese give us isn't the epitome of perfection. A huge percentage of titles have plot holes you can drive a tanker truck through, and coherence isn't exactly the order of the day.

      The manga is very episodic and very discordant - it's not internally consistent, meaning sometimes she looks like one thing and has one set of abilities, and at the whim of Kashiro he'll go off on a whole differe
      • The manga is very episodic and very discordant - it's not internally consistent, meaning sometimes she looks like one thing and has one set of abilities, and at the whim of Kashiro he'll go off on a whole different tangent.

        Sounds like valid criticism to me.


        Would be, if it made any sense to someone who has read the manga 3 or four times. If he had read it, and actually paid attention, and read it in order, he would see the progression. And he'd realize that much of the variation in her abilities was due
    • You didn't even mention that many of Alitas changing capabilities were due to different cyborg bodies. Her head was basically all that stayed consistent through her various cyborg bodies.

      As for her personality, she grew up a lot. Coming to terms with who she was in the past, who she was in the present, and who she wanted to be in the future really played with her mind, so of course thats a bit sketchy.

      And I doubt this guy has read the manga, or if he has, he's read it out of order. There is a consisten
  • Gunm? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bonker (243350) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @12:37PM (#5769012)
    Speak not of this Alita... Wherefore art thou, Gally?

    Seriously, 'Alita' has already be pretty seriously corrupted by some of the same forces that mangled Macross into 'Robotech'. If Hollywood touches this, it's only going to stray further and further from the original plot and intent. Worse, it will be given a juvenile treatment and the dystopian story elements will be forgotten in favor of boobs and explosions.
    • Eh, the name fits the reason for her name.

      *** Spoiler reference alert ***. Gally just doesn't sound like the name of a flower to english speakers, whereas Alita does. And the ending, as strange as it is, pulls on the fact that her name is the name of a flower.

      --
      Evan

      • And the ending, as strange as it is, pulls on the fact that her name is the name of a flower.

        Not a flower. Kishiro says it's a "nanomachine tree". I admit that it looks like a flower.

        And you're assuming Kishiro always intended to end the series this way. In fact, he originally intended to continue the series with Gunnm travelling into space. But for personal reasons he decided to cut the series short. Now he's changed his mind again [jajatom.moo.jp] and has already published a new story line [comcast.net] that pretends the confrontat

  • I'm scared (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Galvatron (115029) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @12:38PM (#5769015)
    Okay, I really enjoyed the Battle Angel Alita (aka Gunnm) manga. I could even believe that they could make a good Hollywood movie out of it. However, I'm not convinced that James Cameron is the right man to direct it. I generally don't like the way he directs female action stars. They always seem like they're trying too hard. Vasquez, in Aliens, I think is the best example I can point to. It's like he doesn't think we'll believe a woman can be bad-ass unless he "proves" it to us. Look at the Terminator movies and the transformation Sarah Conner underwent. Whereas Kyle, the hero of the first movie, could be a soldier fighting a depserate revolution, but still an otherwise normal guy, Sarah Conner was turned into a nutty, ultraviolent caricature for the second movie.

    All that being said, his action movies DO still tend to be pretty good. I just think that Alita has more of a quiet confidence, rather than an in-your-face attitude, than Cameron is really used to dealing with in female action heros. I suppose on the bright side, he can probably reuse some of the costumes from Dark Angel to keep costs down :)

    • I suppose on the bright side, he can probably reuse some of the costumes from Dark Angel to keep costs down :)

      Where do you think he got most of the concepts for Dark Angel from. An enhanced warrior female who does not know anything about her past. That sounds familiar. Even where she liked to go to sit and think up on the tower was straight out of the manga series. It looks like he really wanted to do Alita then but couldn't get the go ahead for it.

      All in all it'll be interesting to see if Cameron c

      • An enhanced warrior female who does not know anything about her past. That sounds familiar.

        Okay, I never watched Dark Angel past the first episode or two, but your description is not unique to Gunnm. There are countless other science fiction and fantasy works that feature similar ideas. Also, one could just as easily argue that going to the top of a tower to think is taken from American superhero comics (Batman and Spider-Man spring to mind as heros that liked to brood on rooftops).

        I don't doubt that s

        • Actually, from what I can remember. Cameron planned this movie once before. At least there were rumors about it at the time.. but eventually these rumors turned into rumors about Dark Angel (which I haven't seen) leading many to believe that Cameron had chickened out of a Gunnm movie and had decided to make a gunnm THEMED tv show instead. I have mixed feelings about the movie actually going through...... we'll see.... at this point I think I'd rather someone less mainstream directed it, because I think its
    • Re:I'm scared (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Whereas Kyle, the hero of the first movie, could be a soldier fighting a depserate revolution, but still an otherwise normal guy, Sarah Conner was turned into a nutty, ultraviolent caricature for the second movie.

      Eh, Kyle WAS a soldier. Trained to fight, brought up in a world full of Terminators, death, destruction etc.

      Sarah was a waitress. Trained to flip burgers and go out on a Friday night, and suddenly confronted by Arnie complete with shades, lots of guns and a pretty strong desire (absolutely WI

  • I'm really looking forward to this. Not only have I read the original manga, I also have started reading the new comic that has started from it that is basically about the rebirth of Alita after visiting Mars. It's a very dynamic world that has a lot that can be played with. I also think that Jessica Alba would actually be pretty decent in the role, because she DOES have the skills as an actress, and the physical capabilites to perform like Alita, although if she were 15 it'd fit better... But, yeah, I
  • Dark / Battle Angel? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by infonography (566403) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @12:40PM (#5769024) Homepage
    It's almost the same type of plot. At least we won't be seeing another crappy hack job by the so-called greats of Hollywood (Spielberg, Lucas, et al). I would not put it past him to use Jessica Alba again. She's is the basic type for the role. I would watch it even if it was an Alan Smithee production [mvdbase.com]
  • I thought James Cameron's next movie was an adaptation of Barry Malzberg's Galaxies, as reported here [locusmag.com].
  • Battle Angel Alita: Last Order is out these days.
  • by truenoir (604083) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @12:54PM (#5769073)
    Whenever I see this sort of "translation" going on for anime, I wonder why. I mean, Cameron especially has helmed (and written) some good sci-fi movies (T2, Aliens, The Abyss). Though Battle Angel/Gunm/Battle Angel Alita is probably more doable as a good sci-fi movie than say...Akira (also announced) or Dragonball Z (shudder), why does it have to be redone? It's not particularly old, and it's already a moving picture medium. Book/comic translations are different, since you essentially see the book as one person imagines it. Does having an American director redo a movie in live action somehow honor the original work(s), or rather say that the original is not good enough? I don't think so. We don't see (for instance) anime remakes of Hollywood movies for Japanese audiences. We do see American remakes of foriegn live action films though. Perhaps it's simply that American directors feel it's the only way to get the masses to see and appreciate what they consider outstanding works of fiction. In some cases, I feel it should be left as the audience's loss. There are libraries of books I haven't read, films I haven't seen, anime I haven't watched, etc. Do I need someone to go through and retranslate their favorites to more suite my taste? I don't think so. Could perhaps Cameron use his influence to instead get more anime that he likes (he has a quote on the Ghost in the Shell DVD case too, so I assume he watches it) shown more? For instance, the Cowboy Bebop movie was released not too long ago...great movie, and one that most people could enjoy. Except many didn't even get a chance to, since it didn't get a wide release. He could also helm a "director's choice" type program showcasing anime or foriegn films. After all, how many Joe Sixpacks are going to go look up the other Alita media after seeing the live action version? It's not doing much for the public's opinion of anime, or getting them to watch it, which means there will still be that library of entertainment that they won't even consider. I guess the main point is, does remaking stuff into live action show the opinion that anime is somehow a lesser format for telling a story? Or that Hollywood has a low opinion of the average viewer, figuring they just wouldn't "get it"? (which is probably somewhat accurate...there are many people that lack a certain open-mindedness when it comes to anime or non-American film). With all the great stories that could be told, why choose one that's already been shown? That being said, of course I'm curious to see what he does with it, since it *is* a great story.
  • One of my favorite mangas.. The anime version IMO has a lot of the meat of the story pulled out. Ultimately it's this very tragic love story about charecters trying to rise above their circumstances. I have a feeling that James Cameron would turn the story into an action movie. Ridley Scott might do an okay job.. Ang Lee would do an excellent job.. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of the greatest films ever made IMO, and Battle Angel Alita should be made with the same sense of tragedy and loss. James C
  • Although Ido wouldn't've taken half the shit that Spengler took from Venkman...

    Seriously, though... this could be good, barring some sort of greedy bastardization (unfortunately a distinct likelihood with Hollywood, never mind the fact that it's Cameron). The only problem I really see with it is the ending, since Americans are not usually all that keen on action movies that end sort of as a downer. No pun intended, really, for those of you who've seen it.

    On the other hand, can you imagine the eye-candy

  • Cameron interview (Score:3, Informative)

    by torian (409642) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @02:58PM (#5769582)
    There's an interview with James Cameron in today's Sunday Times Culture Section over here in Ireland. Here's a quote about what his next feature will be:

    [He] is prepping his eighth feature film, which he hopes to shoot next year. All he will reveal is that it will be shot in 3-D, with "action and visual effects". He denies it will be a live-action/computer-generated adaptation of the Japanese animé film Battle Angel Alita, thought that's "in the queue", along with numerous other ideas.

    So it looks like Battle Angel Alita won't be his next project after all.
  • "I like that, that the development of her mind actually affects her physicality."

    So the more she learns, the more she gets back problems. Great.
  • That anime was utter crap.

    PLEASE! Focus on the story from the manga and its themes, its a much more engaging and sensible story.
  • I'd just like to remind everyone that you can read the complete original article in Hotdog magazine, from the UK but available all around the world.

    Again, that magazine name is HOTDOG. Hotdog, the movie magazine.

    And why am I plugging Hotdog? Because I edit it, and I wrote the article, and I got to interview James fuckin' Cameron! Woohoo! (Got a load of cool stuff about the making of Aliens that didn't go into the article, as well - but that's for a future issue of Hotdog, the movie magazine.)

    Ghosts Of

  • It is no secret that many high profile directors have been keeping a close eye on anime (Spielberg was one of the first). It seems that Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi's Oscar has opened the floodgates to the medium.

    Normally this would be a superb event but, historically, foreign film makers have often misunderstood and misconstrued the medium. Producing subpar renditions of excellent series (G Saviour anyone).

    Overall, my buttocks are firmly in "clench mode" for this one.
  • Just because a work of art is great in one medium doesn't mean that it will be great in another. Yes, you will often see manga to anime and visa versa, but other than that conversion... most other conversions are a waist of time.

    Making a live action version of an anime will not improve it. Live action is not better than anime. It is different.
  • It is not part of western culture, so you have to make anime recommendations whenever possible. There is one anime series that I was introduced to and loved. Hearing a description of what the show is about will turn most off, so I won't try to describe much about the show, except:

    1. There is no violence, gore, sex, or robots.

    2. On the surface, it is about professional gaming. Though the game played is 4000 years old.

    3. Underneath the surface, the show is about a person that starts out as a loser an
    • Damn that Touya! How dare he not wait for Hikaru!
      [Currently downloading 46-50 - thats a lot of gig on my hd]

      It's a shame Hikaru has basically lost his old friends now.
      • Akira Touya is giving Hikaru some of his own medicine. Hikaru refused to play Touya in the begining, and now Touya is doing the same.

        The tension between those two rivals is one of the big appeals of the show. That and the fact that Touya is just so fucking cool in that elite way.

        Yeah, leaving his friends was a drag, but Hikaru paid one of the prices of success. Most of his friends supported him though... with the exception of Mitani, of course. Also notice that Hikaru and crew ages throughout the seri
  • James Cameron was on the BBC (Blue Peter) this weekend and said that his next film will be in 3D, using the three-dimentional camera systems he's helped develop for the Titanic documentary he's just done. And when asked by the presenter what KIND of movie, said Cameron "It'll be Sci-Fi". And that's all he'd say...

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