Alita: Battle Angel

Alita battle angel nc

Release Date
July 1, 2020
Running Time
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(The Channel Awesome logo is shown. Then we cold-open on what looks like a dump, which is apparently home to James Cameron's abandoned projects, according to a helpful sign. Here, NC comes across a binder and what looks like Spider-Man's mask, which would have been used for a Spider-Man movie by Cameron)

NC: Oh, yeah, you sure changed the comic world with that one.

(He tosses the mask aside and looks at the binder. The cover reads "True Lies 2 By James Cameron")

NC: Oh, they should still do that. The Jamie Lee Curtis dance will be hilarious.

(He reaches into the binder and pulls out a CD which has "DARK ANGEL – SEASON 3" writte on it)

NC: (reads) "Dark Angel". Oh, yeah, wasn't that the training wheels for that anime he never got off the ground?

(Suddenly, his attention is grabbed by something else in the pile. He runs over to it and stares in awe)

NC: It's amazing!

(It's a discarded Blu-Ray release of Alita: Battle Angel)

NC (vo): It's still alive! (He picks it up and looks at it closely) How could you survive years of neglect?

(He holds it up and spins around in a circle, laughing elatedly. Then a different title sequence than usual (with credits and all) is shown over a shot of the sky over the junkyard. Then we cut to black)

NC (vo): It's incredible the movie turned out as good as it did.

(Then the camera starts fading in ever so slightly on NC and Rob looking at something. The view of the brothers is blurry and has a hard time coming into focus)

Rob: Look, she's waking up.

(The view finally comes into focus)

NC: Hi. Well, you're a surprise. What's your name?

(They are looking at the Alita Blu-Ray disc)

Alita Blu-Ray disc (voice of Tamara): is...

Rob: It's no use. She's been in development hell too long.

NC: I'm sure she'll still kick ass.

Rob: Are you planning to regenerate her?

NC: Oh, yes. She's the most promising anime adaptation adaptation I've seen in years.

(There is a white flash, and we see the disc is now in its proper case)

Alita Blu-Ray: Wow, this new body looks great.

NC: (seated at his desk) Well, you deserve it. You've been through quite a bit.

Alita Blu-Ray: Really? I-I don't remember.

NC: That's not surprising. A lot of people forgot about you for a bit. But I never gave up.

Alita Blu-Ray: I...I don't understand.

NC: Well, maybe it's best I start from the beginning.

(The title for Alita: Battle Angel is shown, followed by footage of the original anime show on which the movie is based)

NC (vo): In 1993, a Battle Angel OVA was released, based on (A shot of the original manga is superimposed) the 1990 manga. It was the first anime I ever saw that was meant for adults. It was one of those few VHSes at rental stores (A shot of a Battle Angel VHS is superimposed) that had that (A "not for kids" label is added to the VHS) wonderful sticker that called to every teen like the Pied Piper's flute. While it wasn't anything groundbreaking, it had memorable characters, good world-building, and some bloody-as-hell action. I was immediately hooked. It got me to read the manga, opened a world of anime (Shots of other anime shows are shown: Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and Ninja Scroll) that was even bigger and better than I imagined, and I had this VHS (The Battle Angel VHS is shown again) to thank for it. And I wasn't the only one who was taken by it.

(An image of James Cameron is shown)

NC (vo): In the '90s, James Cameron absolutely fell in love with Battle Angel and declared he would one day make a movie out of it.

(Now a montage is shown of Cameron's work, including Titanic)

NC (vo): But as other projects grabbed his attention, (A shot of the poster for Avatar is superimposed) some developed, (A shot of the title character in Spider-Man is superimposed) some abandoned, the film kept getting postponed.

(Cut to shots of Dark Angel and Avatar)

NC (vo): Some projects even served as tests, with his show Dark Angel testing the idea of a futuristic action girl, and Avatar testing if he could CG an entire person to look believable.

(Cut to another shot of Cameron)

NC (vo): Nevertheless, it still didn't seem ready, and he was constantly distracted by other endeavors.

(Cut to a shot of Robert Rodriguez)

NC (vo): It wasn't until Robert Rodriguez stepped in to help condense the script that Cameron realized the only way this was gonna get made was if someone else took the helm.

NC: And I know I've mocked (The poster for Sharkboy and Lavagirl is shown in the corner) some of his movies in the past, (A shot of Rodriguez replaces the poster) but not only is this guy one of my favorite filmmakers, but he is perfect for directing this.

NC (vo): Well it had a Cameron look, it felt like a Rodriguez story. Super gritty and over-the-top with almost violence and random deaths around every corner. (A shot of Jon Landau, James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez is shown)  It was also a perfect mix of two opposite styles: Cameron famously went over budget making some of the expensive films ever made, Rodriguez made several films in his garage, so for a future that's supposed to be half state-of-the-art and half low-tech, this was a match made in heaven.

NC: But there was still one question: What version of Alita do you adapt?

NC (vo): ​​​​​The manga and anime (The manga pops in on the left side while the anime is shown in the right) were surprisingly quite different with several elements and characters created and other elements and characters cut out.

NC: The solution? Do them both.

NC (vo): Alita ambitiously combined both stories resulting in critics giving it mixed reviews because they thought there were too many side stories and characters making you feel crowded.

NC: Yeah, that's called an anime.

NC (vo): I'm sorry Cameron didn't sell you Ferngully again, but I thought this was a lot more creative than at least acknowledged the source material it was based on this time creating one of the best anime adaptations if not the best anime adaptation ever shown on the big screen.

Alita Blu-Ray: Wow, so with all that time, I must be the most perfect film ever made.

NC: You are awesome!

Alita Blu-Ray: So I'm perfect?

NC: Well, you are awesome!

Alita Blu-Ray: Doesn't that mean I'm perfect?

NC: Funny enough, being awesome rarely means you're perfect. In fact, often it's part of what makes something so awesome.

Alita Blu-Ray: That makes no sense.

NC: Okay, look I'll go over what's perfect what's not and how they're sometimes the same.

Alita Blu-Ray: As long as one of us follow that sentence, we should be alright.

NC: This is Alita: Battle Angel.

Alita Blu-Ray: I know, I'm right here.

NC: Oh, I was talking to the audience that time.

Alita Blu-Ray: This is gonna be confusing.

NC: Yes it is.

Alita Blu-Ray: But I'm used to it by now.

NC: Oh, good.

(The Alita: Battle Angel variant of the 20th Century Fox logo is shown​​​)

NC (vo): We opened to how Dark Pheonix left 20th Century Fox and come across a sort of cyborg doctor named Dyson Ido, played by Christoph Waltz who rummages all the dead Terminator franchises coming across something unique.

NC: It should be pointed out that the attention to detail in creating certain scenes is crazy.

NC (vo): (An clip from the anime is shown on the top-left) This isn't surprising seeing is Rodriguez did Sin City which basically use the comics as storyboards, but the little touches for Die Hard fans really deserves a golfclap. (NC does a golfclap)

NC (vo): He brings what he found to his assistant who I don't mind changing from the original, but look at the original, that has so much more character to it. I don't care if you make him a black woman, but go with someone like (a picture of...) Whoopi Goldberg, that'd be fitting and more memorable.

Dyson Ido: What are you dreaming, little angel?

NC (vo): Okay, that was creepy, and probably belongs in the manga. They start off a little creepy too. They give her a body, and she wakes up with those eyes.

NC: So people have a lot of thoughts about these eyes and honestly, they're all kind of right.

NC (vo): They are freaky, but they emphasize her expressions. They're distracting, but they also give the character in a film more of an identity. Oh yeah, Alita the girl with the big eyes. Without that, It'd be, what that robot girl in the future movie? There's like a million of those. (Posters for Ex Machina, Ghost in the Shell (2017) and Metropolis (1927) are shown) It's not like an anime because (a picture of 5 anime girls are shown) everybody doesn't have the big eyes, but I think that confirms her as a bit of an outsider.

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