'Alita: Battle Angel' Offers a Glimpse into the Future of Movies

Rosa Salazar and Ed Skrein in "Alita: Battle Angel." (Fox)

Director Robert Rodriguez and producer James Cameron have always been fascinated with cutting-edge film technology, and they've introduced some amazing new tricks in "Alita: Battle Angel" (out now on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital).

The movie, based on the Japanese manga Gunnm, spent more than two decades in development while Cameron waited for technology to catch up with his vision for the movie. Rodriguez stepped in to direct the film since Cameron is tied up making those long-promised "Avatar" sequels.

Alita (Rosa Salazar) wakes up with no memory and a body that's half cybernetic limbs. She's in the care of a kindly doctor named Ido (Christoph Waltz) and only starts to unravel the true story of her past after she uses her superhuman skills to play the futuristic sport motorball.

The most jaw-dropping part of the movie is the use of new technology that allows the filmmakers to employ CGI imagery in true three dimensions. The camera can make 360-degree movements around a computer image, and those images can seem even more like real objects on a set.

We interviewed the movie's visual effects supervisor Eric Saindon earlier this year, and he offered great insights into the making of the movie.

RELATED: How Weta Digital's Eric Saindon Helped Bring 'Alita: Battle Angel' to Life

"Alita: Battle Angel" ends with a setup for a series of movies that will expand on the world established in this film. Fox officially merged with Disney shortly after the release, and there's no word yet whether we're getting an "Alita 2."

The home video release is loaded with extras for anyone interested in the technology behind the movie, and we've included a comprehensive list below. If you buy the 4K version, all the bonus features are included on a Blu-ray disc.

DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Extras

  • Alita's World: Get a deeper look into the world of Alita: Battle Angel with these dynamic motion comics.
    • The Fall -- a look back at the terrible war that almost destroyed two planets and set the stage for the cyborg warrior Alita's return 300 years later.
    • Iron City -- The character Hugo gives a guided tour of the Iron City he knows, showing off its dark corners and broken-down neighborhoods.
    • What It Means to be a Cyborg -- hunter-warrior Zapan tracks his mark across Iron City while musing about what it means to be a cyborg.
    • Rules of the Game -- A high-octane "crash course" in Motorball, introducing the rules, game-play, and the top-ranked players and their arsenal of weapons.
  • From Manga to Screen -- a behind-the-scenes look into the origins of Yukito Kishiro's beloved manga, "Gunnm," and the long road to bring it to life on the big screen.

Blu-ray and Digital Only Extras (all of the above plus the below)

  • Evolution of Alita -- how Alita was brought to life, from the casting of Rosa Salazar, to performance capture, and final VFX by WETA Digital.
  • Motorball -- go inside Iron City's favorite pastime, from the origins and evolution of the sport, to rules on how the game is played.
  • James Cameron, Robert Rodriguez and cast Q&A moderated by Jon Landau.
  • Robert Rodriguez's 10 Minute Cooking School: Chocolate, a cooking lesson on how to make delicious chocolate like that seen in the movie.
  • 2005 Art Compilation (2019) -- James Cameron's original compilation of concept art for the then-titled "Battle Angel: Alita," presented with new voiceover and music.
  • Scene Deconstruction -- view three different stages of the production: the original live action performance capture, the animation stage, and the final Weta VFX from four different scenes
    • I Don't Even Know My Own Name
    • Just an Insignificant Girl
    • I'm a Warrior, Aren't I?
    • Kansas Bar

Digital Only Extras (all of the above plus the below)

  • Allies and Adversaries -- meet the allies and adversaries that Alita encounters in Iron City.
    • Zapan
    • Dr. Dyson Ido
    • Grewishka
    • Nyssiana
    • Romo
    • McTeague
    • Vector
    • Chiren
    • Hugo
  • Production Materials -- explore the initial vision for the movie with art reels from 2005 and 2016.
    • 2016 Art Reel -- Lightstorm Entertainment and Robert Rodriguez's 2016 compilation of concept art reflecting the design of the final film.
  • Theatrical Trailers
    • Alita -- Official Trailer
    • Alita -- Battle Ready Trailer
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