Title: Alita Battle Angel
Release Date: February 14th, 2019
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Release Format: Theatrical
Alita Battle Angel is a new cinematic experience. Robert Rodriguez has given on-screen Sci-Fi a new and advanced reality. His best work since Sin City. Sci-Fi is his strong suit. Bringing the worlds, we read and breathing life into them and creating a new tech world that you experience in theaters. In the one night only screening, at Disney Springs Dine-In Theater, we were so graciously allowed to see the one of a kind film. Adapting to the Yukito Kushiro Manga with a modern day twist, James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez have created a realistic future world. Three hundred years after “The Fall”, you still see old architecture and farming for food is always a necessity. Rosa Salazar, who stars as Alita, gives audiences a relatable and truthful future with an empowering female role. Displaying that life still has a hardship, war, and pain.
The film starts when Dr. Ido (Christopher Waltz) is searching for parts in the scrapyard outside of Iron City. He discovers half of a cyborg in the rubble. She has almost nobody, but her heart and her brain are still miraculously intact. Putting her back together with a spare body he had in his basement he is overjoyed and becomes protective of her. She awakens and can not remember a thing about herself. Ido gives her the name Alita until she can remember who she is. Teaching her and loving her, you get a sense of fatherhood from Ido and yet an undertone of something is wrong. You quickly discover that no matter how nice people are in Iron City, they all can have a dark and sinister side.
Like all young girls, Alita is curious and wants to have fun. She meets a boy named Hugo, the love interest, played by the hapless Keean Johnson. It is capturing all emotional moments while woodenly delivering his end of touching exchanges with Alita. Hugo teaches her the local culture and captivates her with the main sport that drives the city, Motorball. This dangerous and invigorating sport combines NASCAR, roller derby and a token to the Mesoamerican ballgame, played since 1400B.C. Its dangerous and yet creates such a rush of adrenaline that she can’t resist the urge to be near it. Motorball sequences are some of the best-animated race sequences since Speed Racer, yet darker and much more dangerous. The action is fast, yet the camerawork is precise enough that your eye never loses track of what’s going on.
All urges become harder to resist as she realizes there is more to who she is and Ido isn’t telling her. A cyborg built for so much more than an average bot. She is attracted to danger and strives to protect those that she loves. Powerful, more than anyone could imagine, Alita faces many trials of love and cunning fighting for what’s right. The film gives you twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat. With the new digital technology, it isn’t hard to feel like you are there in the film. The battles are unrestrained and eye-popping, looking more like an episode of Dragonball Z than the 2009 live-action movie ever did.
While the idea of Motorball feels like a relic from the Rollerball days, the sequences are fast, exciting, and very violent. I would go so far to say they may be too intense for kids, no matter what the age rating on the film may be. Even those moments when the movie rouses itself to cinematic vigor are followed by padding and recycling. Cameron has been trying to get Alita’s story on screen for two decades. No wonder it feels wobbly and worked-over. Back then it might have played like gangbusters.
But now, after a deluge of comic book epics and other CGI-filled sci-fi fantasies, the movie feels like it’s way past its sell-by date. Will there be a sequel? The manga contains nine books, while this movie will only cover the first 3. After the success of the original series, Yukito Kishiro wrote a sequel series, titled “Battle Angel Alita: Last Order”.
Verdict: The advanced technology and execution of this film are incredible and overwhelming. The film gave me the sense of a realistic future whether it is good or bad. It was real. Emotion, pain, and struggle. The love story was a sideline and necessary to humanize Alita. Though it failed and left many audiences disturbed, the romance between Hugo and Alita worked for this film. Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron adapted a manga into an action Sci-fi and blew it out of the water. All in all, this film gets a 4 out of 5 stars for me.
Do you agree with our verdict? What is your favorite James Cameron film? Tell us in the comments below!
- New Technology
- Source Material
- The Cast
- James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez
- Long Development
- Recent Manga Adaptations
- Character Designs
- PG-13 Rating