WRITTEN BY: Jordan Hallerman
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending an early screening for Alita: Battle Angel, the newest film by director Robert Rodriguez and producer James Cameron. I’ll go through both my positives and negatives with the film before settling on a verdict to help you decide whether you should see Alita.
There’s a lot to like with Alita. First off, the visuals are absolutely jaw dropping. Not only is Alita herself an entirely motion capture character performed by actress Rosa Salazar, but everything in the film is gorgeous to look at. Everything from intense chase sequences to simple dialogue scenes are filled with plenty of eye candy. All of the action scenes are exceptionally well done with a particular highlight being a sporting event called “Rollerball”. Rodriguez does an excellent job of making sure that the action is smooth and easy to follow which makes it all the more enjoyable as an audience member.
Additionally, the major actors in the film all do a solid job with Salazar and Christoph Waltz being standouts. In terms of the story, the world building is excellent. Even though the film really takes place in a small city, allusions to other locations and glimpses at a bigger world make it incredibly interesting to see what or where a possible sequel could explore. Lastly, the film is one of the best examples of 3D being used right. Never during the film did it feel like a gimmick and a large majority of that can be attributed to Cameron who has been one of the pioneers for 3D filmmaking, especially in his hit 2009 film Avatar.
While Alita Battle Angel is a very enjoyable film, there are some areas where it misses the mark and falls short of being great. The biggest flaw in the film is probably the story. While Alita is a very compelling character, the plot jumps around and feels like chapters united by a common theme more than it is a fleshed-out journey. Building off of this, the film’s romantic subplot between Alita and a boy named Hugo (played by Keean Johnson) is extremely weak and is only hindered by the fact that the film continuously tries to force it upon the audience. Additionally, the film very obviously sets up a sequel to the point where it barely wraps up the film and the ending feels very anticlimactic as a result. It feels as if the writers were debating between three endings for the film and decided to try and fit all of them together as opposed to just settling on one.
Overall, Alita: Battle Angel is a solid action film that ends up being the opposite of its main character. While Alita herself is special on both the outside and inside, the film is more noteworthy for its visual achievements than its other aspects. Regardless though, Alita is a solid time at the movies that if you decide to see it, should be watched on the biggest screen possible.
Alita: Battle Angel opens nationwide on February 14, 2019
Synopsis: “When Alita (Rosa Salazar) awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate doctor who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious history while her street-smart new friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers instead to help trigger her memories. But it is only when the deadly and corrupt forces that run the city come after Alita that she discovers a clue to her past – she has unique fighting abilities that those in power will stop at nothing to control. If she can stay out of their grasp, she could be the key to saving her friends, her family and the world she’s grown to love.” (IMDB)