First Impressions - Mortal Engines/Alita: Battle Angel
Last night, just mere moments before the opening scroll for Star Wars: The Last Jedi(Review Coming later this weekend), while in the middle of a barrage of trailers I had an idea! I write reviews after I see movies so why not talk a little about these movies way way way before they come out. Original I know, but my creativity is not on trial here, but the trailers for two movies are and without taking up any more of your time lets take a look at Alita: Battle Angel.
First up is the intriguing Alita: Battle Angel. While this trailer came out a week or two before my screening of The Last Jedi, it really had it's best effect on me on the big screen. The adaptation of the Japaneese Manga (is that an oxymoron?) titled Gunnm, It is not so much the source material that particularly excites me but the people involved.
Obviously the first thing almost everyone notices about this trailer is the unusual size of Alita's eyes, while I am no Manga expert and know even less about this specific Manga, this seems to have been done to keep some of that Manga esthetic. Normally I would question both the choice and the ability to watch an entire movie looking at these oversized eyes but Alita has some visionaries on her side.
Director Robert Rodriguez, probably best known for making Spy Kids, is one of those guys who just seems to have been born to make movies. Not every one is a hit but there is something redeeming about all of them and his passion for the stuff he works on is matched by none. Not only does he have the ability to make movies on a budget but he also loves going outside the box and trying some of the most innovative styles we have seen in movies in recent years. While the cell shading style of Sin City has not been copied and pasted as most of us thought it would in the years after it's release, I think the difficulty of the task plays more of a part than the usefulness of the technique.
Producer James Cameron has a reputation that proceeds him, if you don't know him by name you certainly know him by his movies Titanic, Avatar and The Terminator. Cameron is no slouch when it comes to innovative visual styles basically changing the visual effects game almost every time he steps outside and it seems that Alita: Battle Angel with her huge Manga eyes will be no different. It has been said that the huge eyes was Cameron's idea and if we are being honest I trust whatever James Cameron says when it comes to visual effects.
These two titans together, Cameron and Rodriguez have given me a stupid amount of hype for this movie. As I said earlier I have never seen any of the source material but just these guys involvement and this dope ass trailer are enough to get me excited. Alita: Battle Angel feels like a Hollywood super group, taking titans of the field and putting them together to make as great a movie as one can possibly imagine, in the vein of the criminally underrated "The Adventures of Tintin" movie which was captained by cinematic masters Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. Speaking of Peter Jackson Alita is not the only CGI filled flick on this post.
For the life of me I cannot find the teaser trainer anywhere on youtube but take my word for it, this teaser does exist. Mortal Engines is a movie I have heard about for quite some time, but the narrative has always been about how impossible it would be to make. Mortal Engines takes place years into the future in a world where most of humanity has been wiped out after the "60 Minute War". The earth has become a wasteland and major cities have become massive, massive, massive rolling metropolises that search the desert for smaller cities to devour, stealing their resources and population.
Not only does that should like a nightmare from a concept standpoint but the thought of having to somehow put cities on wheels and have them roam the wasteland while keeping the audience into the idea from a visual standpoint must have taken 10 years to get down with. Well when they say it can't be made there is only one man to call, the man who made the most unmakable adaptation of all time. That's right, Peter Jackson is back into the epic saga business although from a different position from his direction on Middle-Earth.
Jackson will produce the movie with his long time storyboard artist and visual effects supervisor Christian Rivers directing. I also have not dipped my toes into the source material of Mortal Engines but the audiobook has been downloaded and will be my next thing I listen to. While I can't show you the trailer I can tell you that there seems to be quite a bit of influence taken from 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road. This clearly is a good thing as Fury Road is a fantastic movie and hopefully will inspire and motivate future filmmakers.
2018 looks to be a great year for fans of Sci-Fi movies and not necessarily ones that have a superhero or a Jedi in them. To go along with Alita and Mortal Engines 2018 has Alex Garland's Ex Machina follow up Annihilation, The Pacific Rim sequel and Steven Speilberg's Ready Player One.
Alita: Battle Angel is set to be released on July 20th
Mortal Engines is set to be released on December 14th