A deactivated cyborg is revived, but cannot remember anything of her past life and goes on a quest to find out who she is.
Rosa Salazar : Alita
Christoph Waltz : Dr. Dyson Ido
Mahershala Ali : Vector
Keean Johnson : Hugo
While I’m learning name, do you have one for me?
It’s a nice name.
I love it!
I was really looking forward to this movie “Alita: Battle Angel“. A cyber-punk setting and unparalleled computerized images that are perfectly injected into a real-life environment. Of course, you know Alita (Rosa Salazar) is the result of a hard-working graphic designer who has been sweating for hours behind his computer screen to project a graphic shell onto a real-life person. However, it didn’t bother me. Alita seemed like a lifelike person. Even though she had those unnatural large Bambi eyes. I admit that at the beginning, my eyes always wandered down to her derriere to see if there was such a sweet little wagging tail. But eventually, how strange it might sound, I thought the end result was quite meager. Poor in terms of atmosphere and narrative.
Cheesy father-daughter story.
Maybe my expectations were a little too high. Or was it the cheesiness of the father-daughter story? There’s the all-consuming grief after the loss of a daughter. A search for a surrogate daughter to appease this sorrow. And that causes Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) scouring the dump of Zalem (the last air city that immediately reminded me of the movie “Elysium“) for discarded cyborg parts, so he could construct Alita. He’s a kind of Frankenstein. But this time using non-human parts.
Oh no. The romantic part.
Or maybe it was the romantic part. The last thing I needed. Really. The moment Hugo (Keean Johnson) came into the picture, I already knew that this rebel-looking hunk would make a romantic connection with this artificial being. And I really didn’t feel like witnessing romantic frivolities that make young teenage girls float. The only thing you aren’t sure about is the outcome. A happy ending? Or a catastrophic one?
The visuals are tremendous.
The only thing I regretted afterward, was that I hadn’t seen it on the silver screen. Probably it will all have been bigger and more impressive. Because frankly, the visuals are really amazing so to call (Not so hard when you see the budget they had). Great eye for details. A city that looks like a run-down anthill where metallic constructions stand next to remnants of the past. And a whole bunch of futuristic technologies and vehicles.
Past-paced, action-rich combat scenes.
And also, the action-rich combat scenes look great actually. Swirling images in slow motion and impressive choreography you might say. Especially the fight in the bar with Zapan (Ed “The transporter refueled” Skrein), the skirmish in an alley after she followed Ido and the underground fight with Grewishka (Jackie Earle Haley) appealed to my imagination. And finally, there are also the Motorball competitions. Action-packed, fast-paced and mouth-wateringly brought into the picture. It immediately reminded me of the old film “Rollerball” from 1975.
Impressive visuals, poor story.
But despite all the graphic power and hard action, I found it overall disappointing and moderate. Even though the fighting was extremely solid in terms of views, it was too safe and colored inside the lines. Perhaps because they were aiming at a young audience. But most of all I missed a solid and clear story. The so-called Great War was mentioned, but they didn’t do much more with it. The flying cities were also a complete mystery to me. There was no explanation. Beware, I had the same thing with “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets“. Also, a visually overwhelming film where the story is difficult to understand. This last film is also based on a comic, just like “Alita“. I can imagine that fans of these comics can empathize better with the story. But my biggest annoyance was that at the end I realized that I had watched a lengthy intro to the sequel that is probably already on the table at Twentieth Century Fox. And I hate sequels. Good advice Fox. Provide the continuation with a touch of humor, because that was missing too here.
Conclusion: a film that looks magnificent with a not so impressive story.
My rating 5/10
It’s always interesting hearing what others think about Alita Battle Angel. Personally I loved it and it seems like you enjoyed it a bit as well. Though maybe not as much as me. I do have some things I’d like to bring up about your review however. Particularly regarding the story because we seem to have opposite thoughts about this. Firstly, I’m curious as to what you thought was cheesy about the father daughter relationship between ido and alita? I agree that the romance was cheesy (by design though, they’re portraying love between two young and inexperienced people which always seems cheesy to me) but I didn’t feel that way with ido and alita. I noticed also that you mentioned hating sequels and the need for a sequel seemed to be one of your bigger issues with the movie. Honestly that’s all fine and fair, some sequels truly suck. I’m not going to try to tell you to love sequels or anything. In my experience however it’s usually when sequels are made without a source material to go from or when they’re made just as a cash grab on a popular franchise. In the case of alita, sequels are necessary to tell the story right. There is simply too much story to tell it all in one movie. It would be like trying to tell all of Lord of The Rings or Star Wars in one movie. It just wouldn’t work. No one was upset when fellowship of the ring came out and needed sequels to finish the story. As for the things like the fall and the floating cities not being explained or explored, that kind of falls back on my previous point. Personally, I really don’t think you need any of those details in the movie to enjoy the story. Plus trying to add all that into a movie that’s already being criticized for having too much going on would have only hindered the story more in the end. They didn’t go into depth about the robots that use people for batteries in the first matrix but it didn’t prevent people from being able to enjoy the movie. This also gives things to explore in further possible installments. The final point I’d like to make is that this movie is an adaptation from a Japanese comic book (manga). One that was done very faithfully to the source material. It’s important to remember that Japanese storytelling is very different than Western storytelling. They tend to leave a lot unexplained in the beginning and slowly reveal them throughout the entire story. This is a big part of why the movie went the way it did. We’re more used to super hero comics here in the states which have a very different story structure compared to most manga. It was good to read your thoughts though and I hope you find this comment informative.l and not offensive.
Offensive? Quite the opposite. You don’t know how delighted I was while reading this. To be honest, you’re the first one ever who takes the time to comment and do this in a constructive and thorough way. You have my eternal gratitude for that 🙂 Now let me answer to your remarks. First the cheesy father-daughter issue. Maybe the word cheesy is wrong. I can’t explain it exactly but maybe I hoped it would be a kind of relationship between a scientist and a cyborg as in “Ex Machina” and not a heartbroken father who wants to recreate his daughter. Though, this part was a minor issue and didn’t bother me. Second the sequel part. Yep, I hate sequels. Maybe that’s because of the huge amount of crappy sequels that are made in the last years. Especially when I think of the super-hero universe. They tend to release sequels without any creativity or new angles. It’s always the same. And yes, there are sequels that are worthwhile and even fantastic. For instance The Lord of the Rings, which I enjoyed enormously. On the other hand, I thought “The Hobbit” was absolutely catastrophic. Surfing on the wave of fame after TLOTR. And yes, I’m a noob when it’s about Asian storytelling and movies. “Asian movies” is something I avoid. Not because they are bad (they are mostly more creative than Western moviemakers) but because of the language. And maybe sequels are necessary for this kind of stories. So the story can be told thoroughly. As you stated. They made once the same mistake with “Death Note”. Tried to cram the whole manga-story in one movie. Well, I was planning to watch the sequel (if they make it) for “Alita” anyway. And once again, thanks for the comment. I’m going to frame this one 🙂