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Alita: Battle Angel is a hero's journey of a fallen warrior cyborg who gains a second chance at life as a cyborg girl on earth.
Rosa Salazar does a wonderful job with the performance capture rig and catches and distills Alita's four basic emotions: wonder, delight, cold fury and totally berserk. Particularly the 'warpaint' scene shows her emoting both as a sad little girl and as a berserker going into pre-asskicking mode at the same time.
The world of Iron City is an interesting hybrid between the typical floating city/dystopian post apocalypse earth setting like Appleseed or Elysium and a Solarpunk, post-cyberpunk or hope punk mode almost like Wakanda with its street markets and sunny and colorful favelas.
Waltz does a reasonable job as Ido, but the other named characters are somewhat lacking. I suppose there might have been more worldbuilding and characterization that ended up cut to make the two hour runtime.
Alita is front and center, and her human emotions and vulnerabilities make her sympathetic and makes the cyborg-on-cyborg violence seem less jarring as we are all rooting for her to survive. The score, the staging, everything emphasizes that this is the story of Alita's fall and rise.
I'd like to see a series come out of this, the movie seems episodic anyway and doesn't have a very coherent plot, it's more like Vampire Hunter D and other manga in that way that its disjointed and not a lot of continuity some times.
I saw Alita at the local theater with no Dolby, IMAX whatever. But a nice small screening room so relative screensize was generous. Afternoon matinee had only a few people and there was no real audience reaction or interaction.
Overall, a good B movie and action cyberpunk smash'emup. Probably my favorite in the line of dystopian movies since Fury Road.
First off, I have to say that I was a huge fan of the Battle Angel Alita manga, but also that it's been years since I actually read it. After the Ghost in the Shell movie, I was a little wary of westernized anime/manga remakes. The trailer with the unnecessarily big-eye-CGI also kinda turned me off.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well everything worked out, though. Yes, there's a little bit of infodumping here and there; there's a lot of backstory to introduce and quite a few characters. However, I was glad to see the film didn't pull any punches. The manga had a huge range of pure joy and harsh grittiness, the movie does as well. The character progressions feel fairly natural and understandable, although it is a bit rushed - they were definitely trying to cram a lot of the story into the runtime.
The result is that, as a standalone movie, it glosses over things, including some characters. Some characters may feel strongly about one thing and then change their mind after a single scene when they probably should have been given more screentime to develop into it. It makes the characters seem fickle. It only has a short time to touch on major aspects of the story like the city, Alita's past, hunter-warriors, bounties, motorball, gang crime, corruption, and so on, so none of it has time to really hit home before moving onto the next "thing". Every time there's a big "reveal" we barely have time to think about it before jumping to the next "thing".
The action scenes, however, are great. Sometimes they get a little messy, but the one-on-one scenes are amazing and well-choreographed.
Oddly enough, I felt Christoph Waltz's performance was lacking. I've always liked him in all his other films, I just felt like his character was lacking in passion for things that he should be feeling strongly about. Everyone else is great though. Rosa Salazar is a perfect fit for Alita, and Mahershala Ali makes a surprisingly good double-performance.
Lastly, the sequel hook. The film simply feels... incomplete. Which, for a manga adaptation, I can forgive because they barely covered 1/5th of what happened in the manga. But as a standalone movie, it just feels like it ended out of nowhere. I really do hope it gets a sequel (possibly a trilogy), but at the same time, as a standalone, the movie feels like they suddenly realized they couldn't make it any longer and just decided to cut it off there.
Overall, 7/10. Worth watching for sure, but is far from perfect. Most of the problems stem from trying to cram too much story into a short time. I still can't figure out why they CGI'd her eyes like that.
I'm not going to bother summarizing the film. Check the mainpage.
Alita suffers from a rather jumbled story. There isn't a consistent arc throughout - in fact, you can tell that this was adapted from multiple episodes/volumes of the source material. And I really have to ding them for a lame non-ending that probably wouldn't have worked even if this had been titled Alita: Part I and production on Part II was already underway. The writing itself is better, though nothing fantastic.
What saves this movie is two factors. The first is the actress. Rosa Salazar gives an amazing performance as Alita. She made me really care about what would happen to Alita. To whoever made the casting decision here: well done.
The second is the visuals, and holy fucking shit are they amazing. The special effects used to create not only Alita, but also a host of other cyborgs, are incredible, and the action scenes are beautiful. That alone is going to make the Blu-Ray a definite purchase, even if I only rewatch the action scenes. This movie absolutely deserves to win an Oscar for best special effects, and I can't wait to see where the technology goes from here.
Disclosure up front: due to the horrorshow that is Bangalore traffic, I managed to miss the first ten minutes of Alita: Battle Angel. That is not insignificant, as I doubtlessly missed some useful exposition and - more importantly - some initial character and tone establishing moments. That said, I still watched the other two hours of it, so there is an opinion to be salvaged somewhere.
I was put off watching Alita: Battle Angel in the first place, just by the contemptible title alone. Apart from it coming from the lame Eragon school of misspelling words to make new ones, Alita: Battle Angel sounds so dorky a title I feel embarrassed just saying it out loud.
My perception of the movie isn't improved massively at the point I pick up in the story, at which protagonist Alita has just mouthgasmed at the taste of chocolate. Alita is a woman with no memory, the body of a robot, and the humongous eyes of Emma Stone. She's on a date with a guy who serves to be the male audience surrogate, sans charisma. Alita herself is stuck with a stock cyberpunk personality and backstory. It's that cyberpunk "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny problem all over again. In this case, Alita combines two cliches: the sci-fi city where the upper-class literally live on an upper strata, and "sci-fi action chick with brain damage found in the garbage".
Alita doesn't have surprises. There's a bit where Alita walks into a scummy bar and immediately gets bullied by stock sexist jerk number 211. You know the one; that guy who obligingly appears in every super hero movie, right around the time the lead needs to demonstrate their super powers to the audience? Well here he is, calling Alita "cupcake", and putting an arm around her. Guess what happens to this asshole?
As to the special effects. On one hand, they are a landmark effort. On the other, they utterly fail at making Alita any less freakish. She's the only anime proportioned figure amidst a cast of human actors, and for some reason none of them seem to notice. Dramatic scenes fail to hit home, either because she looks too weird, or the robot person she's talking to looks too ridiculous.
Director Rodriguez makes the most of the stupendous budget, providing plenty of colourful action sequences, such as one where Alita takes part in a kind of less violent sci-fi version of a roller derby. Unfortunately the action feels disjointed, attached to a plot that doesn't know where it is going. The movie doesn't even end so much as demand you come back for a sequel, which feels a tad too optimistic.
There is a sincere effort behind Alita, and some people will see past the problems and enjoy the nerdy hot mess that it is. But I haven't a clue if you are one of those people.
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