My Review of "Alita: Battle Angel"
Updated: Dec 19, 2019
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead
That's the word that first comes to mind when I think about how I want to describe this Robert Rodrigues directed and James Cameron produced futuristic cyber punk drama.
First off, let's start with the premise: In the 23rd century, the united mars colonies attacked earth's flying cities. After the dust had settled, all had been destroyed except one, below which is where the story takes place.
Head forward three centuries after "The Fall," and Alita who is a united mars colony cyborg who was built to destroy the floating cities and earth itself, was found by a Neuromechanic who came across her head that even though had been separated from her body was still perfect, even though she had no memory of who she was.
What follows is a story of discovery of who she is and what she was built for, finally culminating her... not... killing the person she needs to, yet looking up into the sky knowing that some day, she will finish her mission.
Its a movie, that like the Manga created by Yukito Kishiro "Gunnm" from which this film takes its story, is bound to have many books.
So why did all the transformative stuff happen so fast?
Robert Rodriguez, who I know best from directing the Spy Kids franchise, and legendary Avatar and Titanic directorJames Cameron know that in order to keep people interested in a series, you need to drip feed moments to film-watchers when you've got a series of films on your horizon.
So then I wonder why they packed all of Alita's character development into the first half of the film.
The main character not knowing their backstory allows us to discover what makes them tick as they do, and I'm of the belief that you can't boil every drop of development into the first hour of what could be a three-film franchise.
I also wonder what the role of Hugo really provided to the film. Keean Johnson does a great job of portraying the character, but apart from providing an unnecessary love interest to a cyborg, whose purpose for being built was to fight as we learn through the movie, I don't see the point in having a character that isn't the main reason for our hero to be fighting for.
There are many things in this film to like too. The special effects are great. I especially like keeping the Manga feel of Alita in particular with the large eyes, and Rosa Salazar's work in the Mo-Cap suit to provide such emotion in the role from the crying when seeing Hugo possibly passing away thanks to Zapan's sword to the anger when confronting Vector and eventually Nova.
Its a good movie, and I'm looking forward to seeing the sequels, but I would've enjoyed a little more if I didn't know so much. It's like looking into the future. It can be a privilege, but it can also be a curse.