Alita: Battle Angel - Review
Alita: Battle Angel – February 14, 2019
Alita: Battle Angel is a very rare kind of movie. Not because of the story, acting, action, characters or special effects. Alita is rare because the trailer is a great representation of the movie. Whatever your initial thoughts are about the film, that is what you should expect. For me, I was indifferent about the movie and after seeing it, I’m still indifferent. Nothing above or below expectations.
The story isn’t particularly original. On the podcast, I mentioned how this movie reminded me of Chappie, but this is more like A History of Violence. I’m sure there are other examples but that is the first movie that comes to mind. Christoph Waltz plays doctor/scientist who fixes up robots and creates robotic limbs for people who need them. He finds Alita in a junk yard and decides to reactivate her in a new robo-body. Alita then slowly but surely starts to remember who she was before she ended up in the trash. She can handle herself in a fight but isn’t exactly sure how or where she learned to defend herself. It’s like a muscle-memory type of thing (or robot memory?).
The Alita character is quite the bad-ass. She stands up for herself and isn’t afraid of anyone or any situation. Her confidence makes her a fun character to watch and root for. There are a couple confusing things about what she is even made of. She has what seems to be a human brain. But it’s unclear whether she was once a human that was transferred into a robot body, or if she is a robot with a brain shaped like a human-brain. Alita also eats and enjoys food, but why and how does that even work? She has a robot body, why does she need food? Maybe these things were meant to be explained in a sequel, but based on its opening box office weekend, I don’t think that’s going to happen ($170 million budget. $27.8 million weekend).
The special effects are really amazing. The team at Weta Digital did an incredible job of mixing CGI with live action. There are some great action sequences with fast-paced stylized violence. But there is something about them that leaves you wanting more. Which I guess is a good thing, but it can also make you feel underwhelmed. I also wish the movie was 10 minutes longer because it ends rather abruptly. Once again, setting up for a sequel, but probably not going to happen.
Overall, Alita: Battle Angel isn’t original or different enough to recommend rushing out to the theater to go see. It’s worth a rental or a free watch on a streaming service in the future. Then again, the trailer is a great representation of the movie. So, if you weren’t interested then still don’t bother with this. Alita: Battle Angel is based on a manga series called Gunnm or Battle Angel Alita. Usually the original source material is better anyway.