Alita Battle Angel Review
Alita Battle Angel has been a passion project of James Cameron for decades now, and at one point he even was adamant to direct the manga adaptation. But, in the 2019 film version of the famed manga, he serves as one of the co-producers and co-writers.
Set in 2563, some 300 years after the Fall- the Great War between the Earth and United Republic of Mars, the Earth is basically decimated. The poor part of the population lives I Iron City- the junkyard of what’s left from the Earth, while the rich folks live in Zalen.
A thriving metropolis that only the select few will be granted access to live in. Rosa Salazar is Alita in Alita Battle Angel. Half human and half cyborg. And at the very beginning of the movie, the scientist Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) will find scrapes of her and transform her into Alita. A teenager cyborg that has no previous memories. But as she gains some of her memories, she’ll also gain her fighting abilities back and some people in the Iron City won’t like that at all.
It may looks like Alita is headed to Box Office doom, it shouldn’t be. It’s perfectly flawed by decent and enjoyable movie. If your motivation and general staying power and to go and see Alita Battle Angel solely for the CGI, you won’t be disappointed. The CGI, the motion capture portrayal of the main heroine and the fight scenes make the viewing experience well worth it. The Motorball scenes are exceptionally good and so are the fight scenes between Alita and pretty much everybody else.
Rosa Salazar is doing a fine job in the titular character, but having the calming and fantastic presence of Christoph Waltz is the true treasure here. The two time academy award winner is wonderful here, and his father figure role of Dr. Ido his protective nurturing nature really shines through from the beginning until the very end.
But despite the movie having 3 (yes three) Oscar winners, Mahershala Ali and Jennifer Connelly are wasted here in very stiff and lack-luster roles. They’re basically walking and talking cardboards that don’t ignite the story with their presence.
Oh and there’s the unnecessary and very cheesy attempt for a PG romance between Alita and Hugo (Keean Johnson), but the lack of chemistry between the two characters makes this part of the story very boring and even cringe worthy. And there’s no denying that Robert Rodrigues is amazing director. He can do CGI infused action like no other, and I think that James Cameron entrusted this move for precisely that reason. But, what’s sad about the rest of the movie is that there’s not much original stuff in the plot.
The division of two cities according to wealth and social status is similar to the plot line of Elysium, the Motorball competition is basically Rollerball but with Transformers, a cyborg character that struggles with identity is basically Mira Killian from Ghost in the shell, and there’s entire bar fight in Alita that’s a more futuristic version of From Dusk Till Dawn.
The influences can be found in the characters, set pieces and even scenes, but we might never know what will happen of this story despite the movie ending with a teaser. Yup, the teaser is setting up the story for a potential sequel but I don’t think there is going to be one.
But the thing is, for the most part you won’t get bored by watching Alita Battle Angel. It’s charming, colorful and has enough action to keep you occupied. The attention is dwindling when most of the characters are talking and talking and talking.
But it’s not bad movie. Just uninspired one. Even though is an adaptation of a great manga.