Alita: Battle Angel – Movie Review

*****No Spoilers*****

Outline

A gifted cybernetic surgeon repairs a found android who has no memory of her past. She embarks on a quest for her identity and quickly discovers her skills as a warrior.

Starting Blind

Just for clarity, I have not seen the anime version of Alita nor have I read any comics. I went into this movie with no backstory or knowledge of it’s lore. That said, I’ve always loved Anime and I’m very fond of everything animated (Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Spirited Away are all fond favorites of mine). I was also drawn to a movie directed by ‘Robert Rodriguez’ and produced by ‘James Cameron’ as I consider both to have superior skills in making quality action movies. So how does Alita fair in my estimation? Lets find out!

 

Dialogue & Plot

The weakest point of this movie is definitely the script. It’s a rare complement to give but the most believable and passionate character in this movie is a CGI robot which really speaks volumes about the rest of the cast. The script is clunky and dull and some of the back and forth speeches are almost laughably bad. It’s a real shame too as this movie boast an amazing cast who clearly didn’t get enough direction (or perhaps only showed up for a pay-check). ‘Christoph Waltz’ as Alita’s creator/father Ido, ‘Jennifer Connolly’ as his ex-wife Chiren and ‘Mahershala Ali’ as the big bad Vector should on paper at least make for interesting viewing. Each in their own right have given numerous stellar performances throughout their careers but none of them shine here. Jennifer Connolly in particular seems completely emotionless throughout the movie and her character really seems to have no effect on the plot or the other characters whatsoever.

 

Action Scenes

As poor as the acting may be, the action set pieces are truly magnificent. The CGI and 3d effects in use are simply next level. Each set piece is expertly choreographed and they flow with excellent tempo. I loved every time the action kicked in and there were plenty of scenes to enjoy in between the exposition and dull dialogue. Alita and her fighting style are both elegant and deadly in equal measures and every frame is packed with both beauty and action. I loved plenty of scenes, from the motor-ball to the fight sequences and even the flashback battles. All had style and made you as the viewer want more and more.

 

CGI Alita

The special effects are worth a mention. Truly James Cameron’s effects studio are on another level when it comes to computer animation. Alita herself blends flawlessly into every scene and interacts with human characters on screen without ever breaking the immersion. She herself is played with gusto by ‘Rosa Salazar’ and conveys innocence, compassion and strength while looking very realistic throughout.

 

Overall

This could have been an absolutely amazing blockbuster with stunning visuals, style and a character to aspire to. However, the poor script, wonky love story and terribly dull acting drags it right down to a mediocre level which is a real shame. I finished this movie wondering what’s on ‘Zalem’ the floating city in the sky but not really caring all to much to find out. I think Alita as a character is brilliant and I would like to see her more of her story in a movie with a more interesting plot and a bit more passion.

 

Worth a watch if you love Anime and I suspect young kids will love this spectacle regardless. Hopefully Alita gets a better sequel!

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