Reviewing Alita: Battle Angel
Since seeing the first trailer for Alita: Battle Angel I was excited and anxious to see it. Unfortunately, life got in the way and it was one of those films that fell to the way side. Finally, a year and a half later I found myself with a bit of time to sit down and take in this spectacle of a movie.
Released in February 2019, after multiple delays, Alita: Battle Angel raked in $404 million world wide in its run. Inspired and adapted from a 1990 Manga ‘Battle Angel Alita’ from Yukito Kishiro and a 1993 video game ‘Battle Angel’. Alita: Battle Angel was directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron.
The movie follows a Female Cyborg, Alita, who was found and repaired by Dr. Dyson Ido to be a sort of adopted daughter. Through out the film we get bits and pieces of how this Cyberpunk world, set 500 years from now, came to be. The reveal that the Earth was devastated by a Great War dubbed “The Fall” gives the story an other worldly feel all while making it very human in a way. This easily becomes one of the best parts of this movie. A story like this needs a strong basis and the World this adventure lives in feels more real than many recent sci-fi films despite it’s other worldliness.
The movie has a few layers such as a coming of age story as well as learning to Love while learning the realities of Loss. While Alita doesn’t go through the typical heroes journey, the call for her being something greater is very prevalent and is the catalyst in pushing the movie forward. It’s through Alita’s actions we, and Alita, discover where she comes from and what she was used for 300 years prior, or during The Fall. With this information Alita feels, in an honorable way, that she can use her abilities to help those in need; most notably her adoptive father Dr. Ido. However, Ido is totally against this idea as he reveals he once had a daughter who was killed by a Cyborg junkie and he does not want to risk losing Alita.
Alita, befriending a young man, Hugo, who secretly paralyzes Cyborgs and farms them for parts, finds herself falling in Love with this boy. Hugo also seems to be falling for Alita which leads him to want to do more in life besides farming cyborgs for parts in hopes to make his way to the last remaining sky city, Zalem.
Zalem, run by the scientist known as Nova, is viewed as a paradise in comparison to where our characters live, Iron City. It’s believed that the only way you can ever make it to Zalem is by paying your way there or winning and becoming Motor Ball Champion.
All of this builds a beautiful world and exciting story which never lets up all while never feeling rushed.
A cast of Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein and Rosa Salazar lead the viewers on this epic and magnificent adventure. Probably what impressed me the most was that all of the characters are given time to shine in some form or fashion. With the exception of the massive surprise of who is playing Nova near the end of the film.
This movie is masterfully crafted. It gives you everything and more that you could ask for in a Science Fiction film. It’s highly disappointing that it didn’t do better financially or even critically for that matter. While the special Effects where obvious, the story and performances more than make up for it and even helps you forget about some of the shoddy CGI. Currently there is a call for a sequel by fans who call themselves #AlitaArmy. While I agree this movie more than deserves a sequel it’s hard to imagine it happening with Disney recently taking over 20th Century Fox and the movie barely making a profit.
It may be a hard sell to get any further story in this world but if you are so inclined to help the cause use #AlitaSequel on social media to help it trend.
Finally, If you are looking for an excellent Sci-fi film to hold you over until Dune is released later this year, Alita: Battle Angel just might be that film to appease the need.