ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL (vt. BATTLE ANGEL ALITA). Robert Rodriguez, director, co-script. James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis, Robert Rodriguez, script. Based on the graphic novel series Gunnm by Yukito Kishiro, 1990-95. (Note also BATTLE ANGEL short animations, 1993.)Canada, Argentina, USA: Twentieth Century Fox, Lightstorm Entertainment, Troublemaker Studios, in association with TSG Entertainment (production) / Twentieth Century Fox (US and most places, distribution), 2019. Caylah Eddleblute and Steve Joyner, production design. Not to be confused with AELITA: QUEEN OF MARS (1924).
Post-apocalypse cyberpunk movie, featuring a female-gendered cyborg.
For IMDb Storyline: here
Opening of plot summary from Wikipedia:
In the year 2563, a catastrophic war known as "The Fall" has left the Earth devastated. While scouting the junkyard metropolis of Iron City, cyborg scientist Dr. Dyson Ido discovers a disembodied female cyborg with a fully intact human brain. Ido rebuilds the cyborg, who doesn't have any recollections of her past, and names her "Alita" after his deceased daughter. Alita befriends a teenage boy named Hugo, who dreams of moving to the wealthy sky city of Zalem. Hugo introduces her to the competitive sport of Motorball, a battle royale race wherein cyborgs fight to the death.
The players also try to score goals in the manner of Rollerball, very much in the manner of Rollerball, as a kind of cinematic citation.
Whatever is happening in the graphic-novel, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL — and for who has influenced whom, note that the manga came out 1990-95 — ALITA can be read as "recombinant cinema," nicely pulling together a number of relevant motifs and intertextual with a range of works.
• For Motorball, cf. and contrast ROLLERBALL (1975) and its source story "Roller Ball Murder" (1973). For gladiatorial robots, see, notably ROBOT JOX and contrast them strongly with the cyborgs of ALITA. • For Alita as female-gendered construct, note tradition going back to Robot Maria in METROPOLIS (1926) through the female terminator T-X in TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES (2003). • Note postmodern "Industrial" and "Brutalist" mise-en-scene in "the junkyard metropolis of Iron City," on the surface, presumably contrasted with the floating sky city of Zalem and definitely contrasted with a few shots of the cleaner, more Modernist decor of the lab/workshop of the film's surface-world antagonist. • For the stealing of body parts, in this case prosthetic and literally parts, cf. and contrast at least the US version of Max Headroom. For extreme prosthetics generally, cf. and contrast Limbo. • For the floating city, cf. and contrast the tradition going back to Laputa in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726), Sky City of the Flash Gordon comic strip and movies (1934/1936),, Cloud City in the Star Wars Galaxy,, and more recently. • Note large to huge security robots, for which cf. and contrast the clunky but still far more elegant ED-209 in ROBOCOP (1987) and note suggestion with some of them of arachnoid legs and movements, for a variation on the theme Thomas P. Dunn and Richard D. Erlich called "The Ovion/Cylon Alliance". • Note motif of surveillance, reinforced with the (Margaret) Keane/anime eyesof Alita and climaxing in the glasses-augmented eyes of the chief antagonist, looking down from the floating city. Cf. and contrast this motif from the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg in The Great Gatsby (1925) to the eye of HAL-9000 in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (film) (1968) to the numerous other works we have cited (and others we've undoubtedly missed). • ALITA raises the question of love between a human and a near-total-prosthesis human; significantly, it does not raise the question of how embodiment in almost-entirely robotic body would affect a human psyche, for which contrast such serious SF as “Masks” and “No Woman Born.” • Note also motif of Pygmalion and Galatea (with thanks to Sandra Lindow).
Most interesting "intertextuality" is the opening sequence's riff on Dr. Ido as Victor Frankenstein, initially going through a junk yard to pick up body parts both mechanical/cybernetic and organic — significantly including a brain — and then re-assembling them with the help of an assistant. The tone is earnest, and in the screening seen by the Initial Compiler there were no chuckles from the audience.
RDE, Initial Compiler, 13/17Feb19, 2&3Mar19