What do you get when you combine the styles of James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez? Sort of the worst of one director and the best of the other.
Alita: Battle Angel is full of awesome action and 3D CG effects that will surely keep you glued to your seat… then you’ll listen to clunky, hokey dialogue that will make you want to leave your seat. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great, either. Yeah, it’s got cool Rodriguez action, and Cameron’s corny, banal dialogue.
A deactivated female cyborg is revived, but cannot remember anything of her past life and goes on a quest to find out who she is.
Alita: Battle Angel is based on the 1990’s Japanese manga, Battle Angel Alita, created by Yukito Kushiro, as well as a 1993 two-part animated feature. And frankly even THAT title was changed for American distribution. There are, of course, various other changes in character names and plot points along the way compared to the Japanese original.
The visuals and effects in Alita: Battle Angel are pretty great. Most characters have some kind of cybernetic implants or limbs – or even most of their bodies – and the CG integration is pretty fantastic. The action is stylish and kinetic, and pretty exciting. There is also a great sequence in the film where Alita (Rosa Salazar) plays this game called Motorball that’s really cool.
Motorball is, however, very similar to the game in the 1975 film Rollerball. However, even the original manga Battle Angel Alita came out in 1990, so you can’t complain too much about them copying that in this film.
The problems lie mostly with dialogue and tome. It’s definitley cheesy and hokey in parts, in a bad way. It’s like with Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, but at least he stuff to an overall consistency. He really committed to it 100% across the board, and you either bought into that or not. Here in Alita: Battle Angel it just came up in certain dialogue. Most particularly with Alita’s love interest, Hugo (Keean Johnson). Their scenes together were sort of painful to watch. And he just wasn’t much of an actor anyway.
Rosa Salazar, however, is awesome. She really gives 100% and commits. She manages to sell everything every time she’s on screen. Even with the big crazy anime’ eyes, she conveys everything necessary. And for the record, you get used to those big eyes pretty quickly. I thought they’d be more distracting, but turns out, not so.
The cast also includes Christof Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, and Jackie Earle Haley. Oh, and Jeff Fahey, if you were wondering where you might see him next. Seems like every time i wonder if he’s still acting, he turns up in something.
This is one of those films that some people – Alita fans in particular – will probably enjoy. And maybe those that like this kind of film. But most everyone else will find the tone too goofy to keep a straight face. unfortunately, this is one of those movies that really needs a big screen for the action. So, you just need to figure out what you can tolerate.
Alita: Battle Angel is about a 3 kittenhand film, but just barely so. i wouldn’t need to see this a second time, and any possibility of a sequel would barely be of interest, despite the surprise cameo of a pivotal character at the end of the film.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, definitely calling this one average.