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Battle Angel Alita – James Cameron’s 3D adaption will have motorball according to Jon Landau

Posted by LiveFor on March 1, 2010

The last news we heard about the Cameron’s adaption of Battle Angel Alita was about some test footage for the film that may, or may not have been real.

Just to bring you up to speed, here is a little bit about what the story of Battle Angel Alita is all about:

Battle Angel Alita tells the story of Alita (“Gally” in the original Japanese version), an amnesiac female cyborg. This cyborg’s intact head and upper torso are found in a state of suspended animation by the cybermedic expert Daisuke Ido while he is out searching for useful scrap. Ido manages to revive her, and upon finding that the girl has lost her memory, he names her Alita after his recently deceased cat. The rebuilt Alita soon discovers that she possesses instinctive knowledge of the legendary martial art Panzer Kunst, although she has no other memories of her previous life. Alita uses her Panzer Kunst as a link to her lost past, which leads her to first becoming a mercenary Hunter-Warrior, killing cyborg criminals in the Scrapyard, and then a player in the brutal sport of Motorball. While pushing her limits in combat, Alita awakens memories of her earlier life on Mars. She becomes entangled in the machinations of Tiphares as one of their agents, and is sent to hunt those who wish to bring the floating city down. Foremost among these is the mad genius Desty Nova, who clashes with Alita before becoming her ally. Together, they take on the dark secrets of Tiphares.

Now we have some news that is a lot more reliable as it comes direct from the mouth of producer Jon Landau. He worked with Cameron on Titanic and Avatar so he knows what he’s talking about.

While speaking to MTV Landau went into more detail about the project. Firstly he would like the name to be changed to Alita and their biggest problem so far is deciding what part of Yukito Kishiro’s nine book manga series they want to adapt for the first film.

“We’re trying to pick what is the best story to tell,” explained Landau. “It’s sort of like when you do a biopic; you can’t really do a biopic that goes from cradle to grave, you have to pick out what is the important section in that person’s life, to tell that story.”

“I think we’ll tend to err on the earlier side, because it is the more fascinating side where Alita’s lost her memory and she doesn’t know where she comes from,” he explained. “And it’s when she discovers where she comes from, she’s terrified of it and doesn’t believe that that’s who she really is.”

“If people are familiar with the series at all, there’s something they call Motorball,” Landau said “That is something that Jim has always been dynamically excited about. It’s racing on a super track, with characters that are built and created in the cyborg world to race against each other in an arena.”

At this moment thoughts of the pod race in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace are ringing alarm bells in my head (the video below is to show some motorball and is nothing to do with the Cameron adaption – I just found it on a search through youtube).

“It’s almost like a gladiator match meets an Indy 500 race,” Landau added. “[Their mode of battle] depends on who they are. It depends how they’ve been modified as cyborgs; they’re not in cars — it’s their physical being that is out there. Some of them are on roller skates — and Alita participates in this, and she’s on roller blades, while other people might have different devices. It’s a wonderful, rich world to design and develop.”

At least with Cameron it should look good and they have an awful lot of story to choose from so the complaints about Avatar’s generic story should, hopefully, not be a problem with Alita. Oh and of course it will be in 3D.

“Jim’s gonna do all of his movies in 3D [from now on]; he’ll do even the smallest drama,” Landau confirmed. “I think even if Jim were to do ‘My Dinner With Andre,’ he would do it in 3D.”

Are you a fan of Alita? Will Motorball work in a film or should they choose a different part of the tale?

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The plot of James Cameron’s Avatar

Posted by LiveFor on June 9, 2009

Avatar Producer Jon Landau spoke to /Film about the plot of James Cameron’s 3D Sci-Fi epic. There are lots of spoilers to the plot here so beware.

Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) has lost the use of his legs, so he accepts the chance to become part of a mining operation on the planet Pandora, where a new mineral is the solution for Earth’s energy production. The planet Pandora is so harsh, the usual armor and environmental suit options aren’t enough, so humans have come up with a clone program, combining DNA from humans and Na’Vi, the native species on Pandora, to create half-human, half-Na’Vi Avatars that are a genetic match for the individual human.

Jake Sully’s brother was one of the original Avatars, but he’s dead now. So the corporation asks Jake to come to Pandora and “pilot” his brother’s very expensive Avatar, because his DNA is a match. That means Jake will be able to walk again.

The story flashes forward a few years, and Jake has arrived on Pandora, a planet of indescribable beauty, including the weird flora and fauna and the bioluminescence. Floating mountains soar above 900-foot-tall trees. Working for the mining corporation, Jake has a nasty encounter with a Viperwolf, one of Pandora’s vicious creatures, and he nearly dies. But an arrow kills the creature — and it’s been fired by one of the Na’Vi, played by Zoe Saldana, who starts telling Jake the truth about life on Pandora.

Jake starts to realize the Na’Vi live in harmony with nature, dangerous as it is, on Pandora. And he decides to help the Na’Vi fight for their freedom from humans — even though it means his Avatar will be driven away, and he’ll lose the ability to combine with it. He’ll give up his ability to walk, in order to save these noble savages. Landau described the film as not dissimilar to Pocohontas. The power suits make up a small part of the film. Cameron is definitely contemplating a sequel.

People who have seen the 3D footage say it is stunning, especially when you see Pandora at night and everything glows with that bioluminescence that must have been inspired by Cameron’s undersea adventures.

Everyone is saying that this is going to change the face of cinema forever. It is sounding a bit like the old Harry Harrison Death World novels mixed in with classic Western stories. It doesn’t actually grab me as much as I though it would. I’m really looking to see it all and I want to get lost in Pandora when I put on the 3D glasses.

What if it looks amazing but isn’t actually a very good film?

Discuss in the forum or leave a comment below.


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