After 15 years of being in development, James Cameron’s Alita Battle Angel is finally hitting theaters. Robert Rodriguez is behind the camera here and is definitely working as a hired gun.
Alita takes place in the dystopian future in a place called Iron City where people with cybernetic enhancements are common place. There’s also giant floating city that hovers above called Zalem where the wealthy people live, who when they throw their junk away, it lands in Iron City.
Christoph Waltz plays a doctor/mechanic that rummages through the junk wasteland looking for parts to help the poor citizens of the town when they need replacements. He discovers a partial cyborg body of a girl that’s still alive, and decides to rebuild her. This discovery causes a ripple effect throughout everyone she comes in contact with as she tries to rediscover who she is and how she landed in a trash heap.
This movie has all the familiar plot points of a James Cameron movie, strong females, cyborgs, ham fisted love story, and big set pieces. Now it’s up to Robert Rodriguez to make it entertaining, and I think it works, but it just barely makes it.
The movie worked for me on every single level, except the plot. Something about the story did not feel organic enough to me, although not for a lack of trying. Everything progresses the way that it should, but there were times that it felt like a group of scenes strung together, instead of an unfolding story.
This could be because I’m familiar with the original Anime and pretty much knew all the ingredients to this Sci-Fi gumbo. As a fan of the 1993 animation, I was in movie heaven, it’s was fantastic to see these characters in live action form. There were some moments from the anime that I thought “There’s no way they will do this in the live action movie” and surprisingly they did.
The performance by Rosa Salazar as Alita was the stunning. I totally bought her as a real person instead of a CG characters. Actually the special effects for ALL the cyborgs were incredible. The 3D is some of the best I’ve ever seen in the theaters, James Cameron has definitely become the master of this technique. The action set pieces are absolutely brilliant and all the characters did what they could with what they had been given.
I really liked this movie, mainly because it was cool to see this anime come to life, I just wish the story was a bit tighter and more focused. Something feels like it got left behind on the way to make this a franchise starting epic, but I love this world and hope to see a return there
4 out of 5 Stars