The Criterion Collection has just put out a new 4K restoration, featuring interviews with director Michael Radford and cinematographer Roger Deakins. John Hurt stars as cog-in-the-bureaucratic-wheel Winston Smith, and Richard Burton, in his final performance, is his party superior/torturer O'Brien. The production design mixes desaturated postwar industrial grit with an '80s New Wave sheen. (Yes, dig it out of the memory hole, that was Eurythmics with one of the weirdest hits of the decade, "Sex Crime.")
Producer James Cameron, director Robert Rodriguez, and screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis joined forces to take Yukito Kishiro's sci-fi manga and turn it into a better-than-average movie. But given the weirdness of this project, "better-than-average" counts as something of a substantial victory.
It's centuries in the future, and an eerily not-that-uncanny-looking cyborg gal is discovered in a scrap heap by a doctor (Christoph Waltz) who specializes in posthuman surgery. He's also a late-night bounty hunter, but let's not get into that right now. Our young heroine (Alita, played by Rosa Salazar) has a blank memory, but take one look at the title of the film, and you get the sense that her secret purpose isn't sitting around playing backgammon. Soon she'll be zooming around on a Rollerball-esque track, but also gearing up for a fight for freedom.
The effects are cool, the design is unusual, and the love story between Salazar and Keean Johnson is sweet. One word of caution, though: Alita stans are some of the nuttiest online, so any comment other than "This is a perfect film" is gonna get you a hurting. But if we started judging things by their psychotic devotees, we'd have much bigger problems.
20th Century FoxSo yeah, watch this cool movie, and then stay the hell away from its Rotten Tomatoes page.