#REVIEW: “ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL”
Review by Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
Anime adaptations seem to fluster fans and annoy outsiders. Alita: Battle Angel seeks to subvert this trend. James Cameron began working on Alita shortly after Titanic, but paused in his progress to focus on Avatar. In time, Robert Rodriguez picked it up and saw it through to the end.
The Film’s been built and billed as an IMAX experience, and this is not simply an allusion to the titular character’s oversized eyes. No, this is a visual feast led by Rosa Salazar’s beautiful motion-capture performance. She leads us through Iron City, which is filled with well-defined CGI. There’s a lot of Cyberpunk packed into the two-plus hour run time, making it easy to get lost trying to keep up with the characters.
Alita: Battle Angel begins with Dr. Ido finding Alita in a trash heap. As an adept doctor of Robotics, he brings the Cyborg back to life. Amnesiac, Alita works to reclaim her identity and independence. Along the way she learns about Zalem, the elitist epicentre towering over Iron City. She learns this from Hugo, played by Keean Johnson. He tells Alita about his dream of going to Zalem and the danger of doing so – after all, what’s an Action-Adventure without a little danger?
The strength of the Film is its Visuals, as Alita looks amazing in every frame. The enemies she battles appear a little overdeveloped however, but fans of 90s Comics will love all the sharp angles. Fans of the original Manga will appreciate the nods and winks to the source material, but this homage may lead outsiders to roll their eyes at all the jargon and emotional outbursts. Be that as it may, most will appreciate Rosa Salazar and her Supporting Cast. Jennifer Connelly and Mahershala Ali look cool in a cool world, while Jackie Earle Haley appears gruesome as Grewishka. Christoph Waltz is the source of knowledge in the script. So it is through him that we make sense of the Story.
The Movie’s most glaring issue is its story line. Although it isn’t overly confusing, it tends to meander and struggles to create a definitive emotional peak in the Third Act. Sure it delivers a great character, but it also blunders about when connecting her dramatic beats. This is not to say the Film isn’t in fact a lot of fun. So for theatre-goers looking to enjoy a Blockbuster, this one is definitely worth seeing. Because for whatever faults it has, Alita: Battle Angel still unquestionably is engaging, charming and cool.
20th Century Fox Canada release ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL Thursday, February 14, 2019.