I can’t explain how excited I was to see Alita Battle Angel. I’m a huge fan of the original source material and of the director Robert Rodriguez. When the first trailer dropped I got so excited, all of my friends said “Shazam looks epic” “Aquaman looks cool” but I was always most excited for Alita. The effects looked amazing and it seemed as though they weren’t cutting any corners with trying to adapt the manga. So many manga adaptations have failed in the past, ‘Dragonball Evolution’ and ‘Death Note’ come to mind. I felt like Alita was going to be different, it looked great from the trailers and the marketing was insane. I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing Alita Battle Angel being advertised. Last night, I was lucky enough to go to an early screening in 3D, 2 days before the official release. So does Alita live up to the hype? I am so happy to say yes it does.
Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido, a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic. When Alita awakens, she has no memory of who she is, nor does she have any recognition of the world she finds herself in. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious past
Before the movie started, there was a 20 minute Q&A with the cast. I think most people found this boring and just wanted to get straight to the movie. Personally, I found it to be insightful. This was really a big passion project for James Cameron and he entrusted Robert Rodriguez to bring it to the big screen. Rodriguez has always been a so/so director for me, I like some of his movies but most I find a chore to sit through. However, I’ve always admired the work he puts in, mostly writing, directing and editing all of his movies. Rodriguez was a great choice to direct Alita, his style of filming feels right at home here.
It’s pretty obvious from the trailers that the effects were going to be good but words can’t explain how phenomenal the visual effects truly are. The motion capture on Alita is some of the best I’ve ever seen, the VFX department should be so proud of themselves. If the audience is going to take anything away from their experience, it’ll be just how good the movie looks. The world they’ve managed to craft feels so vibrant and alive, the mixture of practical and visual effects blend really well with bringing Iron city to life. I also got to see the movie in 3D.
Usually, I tend to think 3D is nothing but a gimmick and a waste of money but in this case, it was worth every penny. The 3D is really good, truly coming to life during the brilliantly choreographed fight scenes. I especially loved the motor all racing, the 3D during this scene was extremely memorable for me.
The story is where the movie does lack slightly, it does its best with the source material and most characters get enough development but it never truly feels new or refreshing. Alita is easily the best character, her development as a young woman and as a warrior is showcased really well and never feels forced or rushed. Christoph Waltz as always is brilliant, he played Ido, a father figure for Alita. Their relationship feels real and you can tell he cares about her just as much as she does him. I understood Jennifer Connelly’s motivations and why for the most part she was an antagonist. Mahershala Ali could have had a little more screen time, I was a little disappointed because he’s such an amazing actor but he never got enough time on screen to leave an impact on me. Rosa Salazar gives an astounding performance as Alita, she brings so much heart to the role. She’s a very powerful character who’s brought to life by a brilliant young actress.
Overall, Alita Battle Angel is a great movie and an even greater adaptation. The narrative does lack in certain areas but is held together by Salazar’s performance and a brilliant supporting cast. The world is immersive and compelling in 3D. The action scenes are choreographed really well and are incredibly thrilling. It never focuses too much on setting up sequels, unlike every other big Hollywood movie that comes out lately. It’s an incredibly entertaining and fun movie. If you have the chance to see it in 3D then don’t miss it, you won’t be disappointed.
Alita Battle Angel (7/10)
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Runtime: 122 Minutes