A l i t a : The Battle Angel Review


Ryan Rivera, Arts and Tech Editor

From the creator of “Avatar”, “Titanic”, “Aliens” and “Terminator 2.” James Cameron brings Robert Rodriguez, director of “Sin City”. To a world of master visuals, charismatic characters, intense and gripping action with an empowering but feminine female character in Alita. “Alita: The Battle Angel” is based of the Japanese manga mini series about said character, Alita. For  many years now, James Cameron has had the rights to this character but still had trouble getting this film of the ground into full production. So let’s dive into this unique and fascinating world of cyborgs, bounty hunters, bionic arms and motor ball.

Once I  saw one of the first trailers for Alita I was very reluctant to see it. I thought it was going to suck. Maybe it was the unfinished visual effects or possibly the story alone. Until one day I was in the theater a few months before the film’s premiere and It was the final trailer that was being played that drew me in so much more. I was almost instantly hyped now for Alita and I’m proud to say so. I think this film is really good, not flawless but still very good. The character alone of Alita played by Rosa Salazar had me head over heels for her for all the right reasons. She had a heart bigger than any human I had ever seen. She had a cute innocence to her with a total badass persona of just taking people down without even breaking a sweat. Let’s talk about the positives first with “Alita: The Battle Angel.”

Something that is definitely a strong suit for James Cameron is world building for his films, and Alita establishes an extremely dense and 3 dimensional world of cyborgs, bionic people with mechanical arms, legs and even bodies. Christoph Waltz portrays Dr. Dyson Ido, a mechanical surgeon for bionic body parts. When one day as he’s rummaging in the junkyard he discovers a cyborg head with a human brain inside. The brain is still very much alive so Dr. Ido takes her back to his office and fixes her. Young Alita wakes up to find herself in a new body, full cyborg with no memory of what happened before she got to the junkyard. Once meeting Dr. Ido a cute and charismatic father daughter relationship forms between the two. Christoph Waltz gives a good performance as Dr. Ido with his overprotective but good nature fatherly actions towards Alita. Rose Salazar as Alita was just all around fantastic. She was funny, kind, charismatic, humble, and open to trying new things all around like fruits, street food, and her personal favorite chocolate. The action alone is something worth the price of a theater ticket alone to see. It’s stellar, shot in beautiful wide angels. No jump cut, shaky cam BS it’s all beautifully filmed and executed. For me personally world building is extremely important when making a large world like Alita. A hyper stylized, fantasy, science fiction realm is key for feeling real and inhabitable. So Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron do a masterful job with establishment and direction of the world in its entirety. Cinematography is great showing the massive landscapes of the city they live in and the people and day to day life. One of the highlight action sequences for Alita is the Motor ball chase where all the younger lads of the city come to watch people run around a race track and catch a running ball in order to reach the finish line in victory. But it’s not all safe and sound until it’s more like a fight to the death kind of challenge in motor ball which hosts as a thrilling and my personal favorite part of he film.

What the film ultimately lack is some of the romance between Rose Salazar’s Alita and Keenan Johnson’s Hugo. Earlier on in the film Alita is introduced to Hugo, a young street kid who helps out Dr. Ido from time to time. After Alita gives Hugo an attractive stare with her literal big googly eyes, it’s very much obvious where this relationship will go. I personally felt it dragged the story a bit with its pacing. Hugo wasn’t a bad character but I felt he wasn’t necessarily needed. Also the film has actress Jennifer Connelly as the told of Chiren. The ex wife/ partner of Dr. Ido who works with Marshala Ali’s, Victor. Now the two of them are well respected actors in their work but they felt very underutilized in their roles. Now I’ve never really been the biggest fan of Jennifer Connelly but I give her in credit where credit is due such as her role in “Labryinth”, “A Beautiful Mind” and “Blood Diamond.” But she barely had a presence in this film other then, “the ex wife of one of our main characters.” Along with Marshala Ali who I liked in “Moonlight” and “True Detective” reduces to just an underling for the main protagonist and not a memorable one sadly.

Overall I very much enjoyed Alita and recommend it to anyone to see it for a full price at your local theater. All around a good story and a fantastic world established by a James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez. With dazzling visual effects and a charismatic character to keep me engaged from other not so intriguing performances and a kinda hoaky, cheesy romance intertwined with it. Now thanks to Alita I’m actually starting to get into anime for the first time. Something I never thought I’d be doing eve before.


Grade:  8.5/10 =  B