Alita; Battle Angel – Was James Cameron right to stall the movie for this long?

Photo courtesy of SlashFilm

Set for a worldwide release on 14th February 2019, Alita; Battle Angel is a cyberpunk action film based on Yukito Kishiro‘s manga in Battle Angel Alita. It revolves around Alita, a disembodied cyborg, and her journey of self discovery after waking up in a futuristic and post-apocalyptic world. The film is directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron alongside John Landau.


Cameron was poised to direct the movie as far back as 2003 when it was first announced but it’s development over the years had been stalled time and time again majorly due to his directorial work in the years leading up to his ground-breaking film, Avatar.

In an interview with FilmIsNow Movie Bloopers & Extras, Cameron confessed that he had a hard time choosing which of the two films to focus on at the time but eventually ended up taking on Avatar. That said, did the famous director do the right thing by stalling the development and production of Alita; Battle Angel for this long?  Well, here are some plausible reasons why his decision might have been a blessing in disguise.

Photo courtesy of KickAssFacts


With an astounding worldwide gross of $2.788 billion at the Box Office hence making it the highest grossing movie of all time, 2009’s Avatar certainly needs no introduction and it’s reception amongst critics and fans alike just speaks to the impact it made almost a decade ago.

If events had unfolded differently, Cameron would have gone on to make Alita; Battle Angel in the time he would have been developing Avatar hence leaving the latter film by the wayside and perhaps picking it up again in future. Would this have payed more dividends? Well, one thing’s for sure, the outstanding reason why Avatar was as successful as it was at the time was because of the world of Pandora and it’s unique visuals that audiences flocked theatres over and over again to witness and enjoy.


This factor can be attributed to the fact that the movie was shot on a Reality Camera System which James Cameron and his team used precisely for Avatar’s production; a notable fete that had not been implemented in any other film before.

Photo courtesy of FluentU


Undoubtedly an integral part of Japanese culture since it’s inception centuries ago, Manga has evolved over the years to become a multinational phenomena that has gone beyond the boundaries of art and comics onto other media i.e digital manga.


According to an article published by Today on August 4th, 2010, the surge of manga in the United States (one of the biggest markets of the art-form outside Japan) particularly among females, had just started gaining a lot of attention more than ever before. In the article, celebrity voice actor Tony Oliver states that this was in part due to the fact that the art-form was beginning to be more inclusive of more complicated and emotional plots which appeal mostly to female audiences.

Though Alita has been in existence for more than 2 decades, its safe to say that the character’s emotional aspects will probably be a reason for more female and male audiences alike to go see the film now than they would have more than 10 years ago. This is a factor that Rosa Salazar, the actress playing Alita in the movie, alludes to in her recent interview with The Indian Express.

-Thomas Kitinya.

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