By Chris Kavan - 01/23/19 at 12:37 PM CT
I was hoping the MPAA Ratings Boards would have a meatier update, but, alas, just a single new wide release is all I have to talk about. At least it is an interesting one as the long-in-the-works Alita: Battle Angel is finally heading to theaters. Long a passion project for James Cameron, this adaptation of the manga has been teased as far back as when Avatar (2009) was making waves. Whether or not audiences embrace it is a different story, but we'll get into that below.
Hollywood's track record at adapting famous manga stories is rocky at best. With bombs like Dragonball: Evolution and disappointments like Ghost in the Shell, it's tough to get these kind of adaptations right. James Cameron, though, has wanted to make Alita: Battle Angel for a long time - since at least 2003 - though Avatar took precedent while the film languished. Director Robert Rodriguez (best known for Sin City and Spy Kids) was chosen to direct the adaptation with Rosa Salazar (Maze Runner) cast in the main role as a cyborg found by Dr. Ito (Christoph Waltz) who realizes she is the key to saving the present, as she is weapon from a bygone age. But when she meets Hugo (Keean Johnson) she finds an instant connection - and something more to live for - and he also happens to be her connection to the futuristic (and highly dangerous) gladiator-sport Motorball. Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali is a man who rigs this highly-competitive sport while Jennifer Connelly is on hand as Ito's disillusioned ex-wife and several big names like Eiza González, Jackie Earle Haley, Michelle Rodriguez, Ed Skrein and Casper Van Dien play highly-modified cyborgs who look to stop Alita. The film's first trailer was greeted with mixed reactions, mostly due to the fact Salazar's motion-capture performance had really big manga-style eyes. This has been toned down somewhat and it looks more... normal - not quite as distracting. Early reactions are just beginning to show up and they are full of hearty endorsements - but almost every early preview is this way and I have a suspicion this big-budget film may not appeal as widely as those involved would hope. Still, I'm looking forward to this and will see it in theaters. Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language.
That is your only big film earning its ratings due this week, but be sure to check out the rest in the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language.
FAITH, HOPE & LOVE
Rated PG for some thematic elements.
THE POISON ROSE
Rated R for some violence and language.
Rated PG-13 for thematic material and language.
Rated R for language.