Alita: Battle Angel

20th Century Fox has released the second trailer for Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming anime/manga adaptation ‘Alita: Battle Angel’. In addition to improved effects, the new trailer spends more time introducing the movie’s villains led by Iron City crime boss Vector, played by Mahershala Ali.  (Actually, as Ali himself revealed earlier this year, he is playing two parts in this film.)  Ed Skrein portrays the hulking cyborg Zapan, who comes across as a more advanced version of his role as Ajax in ‘Deadpool’.  The new clip also delves a bit deeper into Alita’s origins as she is found in a scrapheap and restored by Doctor Dyson Ido, played by Christoph Waltz.  As Vector reveals to Chiren (Jennifer Connelly) she holds the key to unbelievable power from nearly 300 years before this movie’s time period.

The one thing that is the most divisive about this film is the decision to give the titular hero, Alita (Rosa Salazar) enormous “anime eyes” via motion capture and CGI.  The effect did not look great in the first trailer which was released in December, but half a year has passed and the effects team has had time to fine tune the visuals somewhat.  The CGI overall still looks a bit jarring, but with Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron attached, by the time it hits theaters, ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ will look impeccable.

In addition to Salazar, Waltz, Connelly, Ali, and Skrein, ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ stars Eiza González, Jackie Earle HaleyMichelle Rodriguez, Casper Van Dien, Jeff Fahey, Lana Condor, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Idara Victor, Elle LaMont, Sam Medina, Keean Johnson and Marko Zaror.

Director Rodriguez co-wrote the script with Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis, based on the manga by Yukito Kishiro.  Rodriguez along with Salazar and Keenan Johnson were on hand at San Diego Comic-Con to debut new footage from the movie and answer questions from the audience.

‘Alita: Battle Angel’ opens on December 21, 2018 (the same day as ‘Aquaman’, so we’ll see who wins there).