Alita: Battle Angel has been a movie I’ve been looking forward to for many years. Ever since I was 12 when I started to get really into films and consistently look for articles and news to read and to look forward to in the world of movies, James Cameron was talking about making this movie. Now at that point Avatar was in theatres and the likelihood of Cameron actually making it was pretty low considering this guy now spends most of his time at the bottom of the ocean or making Avatar films. So when I heard a few years back Robert Rodriguez was given the reigns to direct Alita, I was pretty disappointed. I’m not much of a Rodriguez fan, I respect his work ethic and his process of filmmaking, but I only really like Sin City and the first half of From Dusk Til Dawn of his filmography. Granted, I haven’t seen all that much of his filmography either. So what did I think of Alita?
Alita: Battle Angel is exactly what I thought is was going to be like, kind of forgettable. I saw this movie about a week ago and I’m struggling to remember what the story of the movie was about. But I’ll do my best…
Alita is a cyborg living in one of the last remaining cities on Earth. Christoph Waltz’s character finds her laying in a junkyard and takes her home to rebuild her. Alita wakes up having no memory of who she is or where she came from. Along the way we encounter bounty hunters, evil corporate game masters, giant floating cities, and a pretty weak romance.
James Cameron is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. I’d argue he’s more engineer then he is filmmaker because of inventive he is when it comes to telling stories. This man is my idol when it comes to filmmaking. However, he’s not that great of a dialogue writer and it really shows in Alita. The romance that develops is weak and I had zero connection to it at all. The story is a little all over the place, trying to balance so much of the story when we could’ve cut a few of the side story lines out of the movie and made this film feel a lot more coherent trimmed. I feel by doing this, more time could be spent on developing more fleshed out characters and maybe we could feel a little more for the story.
The best things about Alita is Rosa Salazar and incredible special effects and action. Let’s start with Alita herself. Rosa Salazar kicks so much ass in this movie. I really understood Alita’s motives and her pursuit of finding who she is and so much of that has to do with Rosa Salazar’s performance. Yes, those big eyes are a bit of a distraction, but you get use to them pretty quick into the movie. Her character is the best in the movie. I don’t really have a problem with her storyline as I do with essentially everyone else in the movie.
Weta has got to be the best VFX house working. The design of the world feels lived in and inhabited. The cyborg design blends seamlessly into the rest of the world and people living in it. The visuals are spectacular in every sense of the word. The action is clear and so beautifully done and fits narratively to Alita’s journey in finding who she is.
Alita: Battle Angel is not one I see myself wanting to revisit anytime soon. For me, I need something more than just a visual spectacle for me to enjoy it. Story is the most important above all and this one just fell flat for me. I’d however, be intrigued to see a sequel. I do think there is potential in fixing some of the story flaws and getting a better sequel and continuation for Alita and her journey. Again Rosa Salazar’s performance as Alita is captivating and holds the movie together. I’d like to see more of her and what they could do with her story.