FROM:Alita: Battle Angel sets are a “respite” from dark sci-fi dystopia, say production designers
The post-apocalyptic architecture in sci-fi blockbuster Alita: Battle Angel is a diverse fusion of Panama’s vibrant ruins and Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, say its creators.
Production designers Caylah Eddleblute and Steve Joyner told us that they looked to the “welcoming” nature of colourful Cuban and Latin American colonial architecture when creating the film set.
“We wanted to do something that was completely different and never seen before, so we looked to environments that were not typically used in these types of films,” said Joyner.
製作設計師Caylah Eddleblute和Steve Joyner告訴我們他們在創作電影時，他們看起來色彩繽紛的古巴和拉丁美洲殖民建築的“歡迎”性質。
The warm tones featured in Iron City reject the typically dark aesthetic of sci-fi films
Located in an unspecified region of equatorial South America, the fictional Iron City’s sun-drenched scenery goes against the aesthetic typical of sci-fi films.
This “gloomy and oppressive” style is epitomised by Ridley Scott’s rain-slicked 1982 Blade Runner movie, which set the tone for the genre.
Designers “wanted to avoid recreating Blade Runner”
“We specifically wanted to avoid recreating Blade Runner,” stated Joyner. “Science fiction has been imitated poorly so many times, as it’s tough to pay homage to something that’s so well done.”
The designers deliberately looked elsewhere when creating the mood of the production design, specifically to the streets of Havana and Panama.
“A big part of the mandate early on was to not create Iron City to be dystopian in the way that many sci-fi settings are,” explained the duo.
這種“悲觀和壓抑”的風格是雷德利·斯科特（Ridley Scott）1982年的“雨林流行”（Blade Runner）電影的縮影，為這一類型奠定了基調。
“我們特別希望避免重建Blade Runner，”Joyner說道。 “科幻小說已被多次模仿，因為很難向那些做得好的事情致敬。”
Alita: Battle Angel is a cinematic adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga comic series
Alita：Battle Angel是Yukito Kishiro的漫畫系列的電影改編版
Alita: Battle Angel is a real-life adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga comic series Gunnm. It is set in a 26th-century, post-apocalyptic world that is suffering the effects of a destructive war 300 years prior, known as “the fall”.
Home to survivors of the apocalypse, Iron City accommodates both ordinary people and cybernetically enhanced humans, who co-exist in the shadow of Zalem – a wealthy sky city that houses the elites.
Alita：Battle Angel是Yukito Kishiro的漫畫漫畫系列Gunnm的改編版。 它建立在一個26世紀後世界末日的世界，它正遭受300年前破壞性戰爭的影響，被稱為“墮落”。
作為天啟的倖存者的家園，鐵城可以容納普通人和控制論的增強型人類，他們共同存在於Zalem的陰影中 – Zalem是一個擁有精英的富裕天空城市。
Panama City and Havana’s buildings were influences
The designers knew that Iron City had to be located on the equator to allow for the existence of a “space elevator” connecting Zalem to earth – a popular concept in sci-fi narratives of a cable fixed to the equator that reaches into space.
However this location also gave them the opportunity to create a warmer and more vibrant setting, which doesn’t usually exist in dark sci-fi narratives. To achieve this, Eddleblute and Joyner looked to the colourful and weathered structures of the historic district of Panama City, and Cuba’s capital city Havana.
“It’s easy to do dark science-fiction, but to make something stand up in the harsh light of the sun and then look amazingly intriguing at night – that’s the challenge,” Joyner added.
設計師們知道，鐵城必須位於赤道上，以允許存在將Zalem連接到地球的“太空電梯” – 這是一種固定在赤道上進入太空的電纜的科幻敘事中的流行概念。
“這很容易做出黑暗的科幻小說，但是為了讓一些東西在太陽的強烈光線中站立起來，然後在夜晚看起來非常有趣 – 這就是挑戰，”喬伊納補充道。
Writer and producer James Cameron envisioned Iron City as a “place of abundant contrasts”
They built 62,000 square-feet of buildings to a height of 7.3 metres – around two storeys high – in the colourful style of classical colonial architecture.
This was further animated with street art and combined with visual elements of tech spread out across eight constructed streets.
Robert Polidori’s photography series of Havana was a particular point of reference for the designers, as it captures the Cuban city’s picturesque ruins in vibrant shades of orange, turquoise and lime green.
他們建造了62,000平方英尺的建築，高度為7.3米 – 大約兩層樓高 – 採用多彩的古典殖民建築風格。
Closed packed city-scape inspired by Hong Kong
Made up of an intricate network of interconnecting streets, passages and “nooks”, Iron City was envisioned as a “deeply layered place of abundant contrasts” by the film’s writer and producer James Cameron.
In the early stages of production Cameron turned to a book by Greg Girard titled The City of Darkness, which documented life in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City that would further inform the production designers’ work.
Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, once the most densely populated place on earth, informed the production design
“As the last surviving major human settlement, the philosophy behind Iron City was that it would be a melting pot of people – a place where all cultures and all races have gathered to trade,” said Joyner.
In the aftermath of the apocalypse, Iron City is overcrowded, allowing for a darker, more dystopian reference to China’s Kowloon Walled City.
Before its demolition in the early 1990s, the tightly packed, interconnected high-rise blocks that make up the Walled City was the most densely populated place on earth. With an estimated 50,000 inhabitants, it became a microcosm of crime.
“作為最後倖存的主要人類定居點，鐵城背後的理念是，它將成為人們的大熔爐 – 所有文化和所有種族聚集在一起交易的地方，”喬伊納說。
How people move in environments was key
While this informed the fictional metropolis’ dense structure, the designers focused instead on using the sense of tightly packed bodies to establish a sense of openness and inclusion.
Eddleblute explained how she used what she learnt from her days working at Disney when aiming to create a welcoming environment: always use curves and soft edges.
In line with this idea, many of the buildings in Iron City are accented by arches, colonnades and rosette windows.
Eddleblute and Joyner also looked to the “welcoming” nature of vibrant Cuban and Latin American architecture for the film sets
“It is designed as a place that is safe for people to go to, a sort of respite,” she said. “We wanted it to feel warm and comforting.”
“We didn’t want the sets to be just a series of streets,” said the duo. “We thought a lot about how people move in environments, and how cities have nooks and crannies and gathering spots where people congregate and live life.”
“We wanted to make sure all our environments had depth to them,” they continued. “So that people could be standing in the alleys, and vendors could be selling their wares in the market storefronts to passers by – we wanted to have that sense of community in the neighbourhood.”
“我們希望確保我們所有的環境對他們都有深度，”他們繼續道。 “所以人們可以站在小巷裡，供應商可以在市場店面向路人出售他們的商品 – 我們希望在附近有這種社區感。”
The designers built the sets to a height of 7.3 metres in the colourful style of classical colonial architecture
To create this sense of collectivity they also included a fountain, positioned in the middle of a square, as a central point where people gather.
“I wanted to make sure that we had a fountain somewhere in Iron City,” Eddleblute explained. “Because that’s an element that represents – and has done over centuries, no matter where you are – an area of congregation and community, with water being a symbol of life.”
“我想確保我們在鐵城的某個地方有一個噴泉，”Eddleblute解釋說。 “因為這是一個代表的元素 – 並且已經過了幾個世紀，無論你在哪裡 – 這是一個會眾和社區的領域，水是生命的象徵。”
An archeological layering of multiple environments
When it came to overlaying the sets with CGI for the finished effect, the brightly coloured streets were completed with a hazy, sun-drenched look suggestive of a city “buzzing with life”.
“No matter what is going on in Iron City, people are still people,” explained Joyner. “We wanted to create a place where people still go about their daily lives, where there’s culture and art and shopping, where people still go out dancing and enjoy the music.”
Arches, colonnades and rosette windows were used to create a “welcoming” environment
This, paired with the colourful and decaying architecture of Havana and Panama, made Iron City an unusual combination of two “really diverse and beautiful, multi-layered environments”, the designers explained.
“We appropriated all of the layers of Panama City just like real archaeology, which has gleaming skyscrapers, colonial Latin American architecture and ancient stone ruins in the centre of town,” explained Eddelbute.
The result is a vibrant cityscape of over-layered references that feels as if it has built up over time.
“We wanted to show that Iron City was built generations upon generations – it needed to feel like it was a part of history,” said the designers.
設計師說：“我們想要證明鐵城是幾代人建造的 – 它需要感覺它是歷史的一部分。”
The result is a vibrant cityscape of over-layered references
Alita: Battle Angel is just one of the many movies Eddelbute and Joyner have worked together on. Previous films include 2010 adventure sci-fi film Predators, 2014 thriller Sin City and the 2001 children’s action film Spy Kids.
Alita：Battle Angel只是Eddelbute和Joyner合作過的眾多電影之一。 之前的電影包括2010年冒險科幻電影“掠奪者”，2014年驚悚片“罪惡之城”和2001年兒童動作片“間諜小說”。