'Alita: Battle Angel' - Give me all of the sequels: A Brandon Schreur Cinema Review

Alita: Battle Angel

Nobody hated the trailers to Alita: Battle Angel more than I did. Nobody.

Up until the past couple of weeks when early word of mouth started proclaiming that thiswas one of the biggest surprises of 2019, that was practically nothing at all that looked appealing about Alita: Battle Angel

Whether it was the god-awful marketing campaign, the $170 million budget or the uncanny valley effect that the lead character gave off, it sure seemed like this was destined to be one of the biggest box office bombs of the year.

Granted, it still might become one of the biggest box office bombs of the year, but it won’t do so if I have anything to say about it.

From acclaimed director Robert Rodriguez and executive producer James Cameron, Alita: Battle Angel is based off a manga from Yukito Kishiro that’s entitled Gunnm and takes place in a far off apocalyptic wasteland during the year 2563.

Alita: Battle Angel
credit: YouTube

After “The Fall” — which is this franchise’s name for the nuclear war or whatever that left most of the planet uninhabitable — Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) and the rest of earth’s losers are forced to reside in Iron City. 

All the wealthy, elite and upper-class citizens, meanwhile are granted access to Zalem, which is this huge metropolis that hovers in the sky right above Iron City, just out of reach.

Dr. Ido doesn’t mind it so much, though. He’s become an important staple in the community by helping repair human or robot’s prosthetic arms or legs.

And, as of recently, he also has Alita (Rosa Salazar).

Alita: Battle Angel
credit: YouTube

Doc is scanning through Zalem’s junkyard one afternoon when he comes across a broken down android in need of a home. The android, which he names Alita, has no memory of who she is or where she comes from, but she’s desperately in need of a friend.

Doc brings her back to his lab, performs a few upgrades and tells her she’s safe her, giving Alita a much needed chance to start completely fresh.

Unfortunately, her old life doesn’t feel the same way.

Without going into any spoiler-y details, Alita isn’t just any broken down robot. Her parts have a lot of history behind them, and there are a lot of bad people out there who would do anything to keep those parts from seeing the light of day.

Alita: Battle Angel
credit: YouTube

More specifically, it’s Vector (Mahershala Ali) who wants to find Alita before anyone else. Vector was sent down to rule Iron City a number of years ago by his boss, Nova, and capturing Alita might just be his ticket back to Zalem.

Any review you read for Alita: Battle Angel is going to mention the visual components going on in this movie.

Truly, they’re probably even more extra-ordinary than you heard. Rodriguez and Cameron spared no expense here, creating this elaborate and exaggerated world that just begs to be explored and seen in 3D.

The visuals were actually a fear of mine going into Alita: Battle Angel, too. While I was certain they’d look impressive, I was afraid this movie was going to be nothing more than a giant, empty CGI showcase similar to Jupiter Ascending or Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

Alita: Battle Angel
credit: YouTube

Turns out, Rodriguez was way ahead of the game here and brings his Sin City kind of filmmaking to make the world in Alita: Battle Angel feel inhabited. He isn’t just throwing a bunch of special effects at the screen for no reason whatsoever, but it’s done to really explore Iron City for all it’s worth, which then feeds into the overall narrative of the film.

That narrative might not be the strongest part of Alita: Battle Angel, but it’s still able to get the job done.

The biggest problem when it comes to the story isn’t so much the writing as it is the editing. This feels like a movie that was meant to be three-hours long but was forced to cut itself down to two-hours, which seems pretty evident during some of the frantic pacing and juggling of storylines during the second half of the film.

Funny thing is, I would have totally been okay with a three-hour long Alita: Battle Angel film. Release an extended director’s cut with the blu-ray and I promise I’ll be the first in line to buy it.

Alita: Battle Angel
credit: YouTube

Rosa Salazar deserves some serious credit for her performance as Alita, because she’s phenomenal in this role. Yes, the eyes take a little getting used to, but after the first ten minutes of the film you likely won’t even notice them anymore and can start focusing on how good Salazar is, instead.

I’m really just a fan of the way her character is written, too, as Alita: Battle Angel is a prime example for how to write a female heroine in film. While the romance with Keean Johnson’s character might have felt a bit forced, Alita is still a strong, independent character who’s constantly kicking ass and taking names while also going through her own personal journey of self-discovery.

That feeds into a really well developed relationship with Christoph Waltz’s character, who I also thought was pretty brilliant in this film. 

As for Ali and Jennifer Connelly, who plays a character named Chiren, they’re both somewhat underused here, but not to the point where I was overwhelmingly frustrated because of it. Both Ali and Connelly are going to turn in good performances no matter what, so they’re still able to help elevate the film in some ways.

Alita: Battle Angel
credit: YouTube

While there’s elements of Elysium, The Matrix and Blade Runner on display in Alita: Battle Angel, this feels like one of the more original movies we’ve had in a while now. Mass audiences might not all respond to it the same way, but I found myself thoroughly entertained by this world and these characters.

So, please, give Alita: Battle Angel a chance and go see it this weekend. I really want a sequel and the only way that’s going to happen is if those box office numbers start going up.

Watch the trailer for Alita: Battle Angel here and then let us know, in the comments below, what you thought of the film!

'Alita: Battle Angel' - Give me all of the sequels [REVIEW]
  • 'Alita: Battle Angel' - Give me all of the sequels [REVIEW]
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Brandon Schreur

The fella over there with the hella good hair. Movies and TV are my jam, and the fact that I get to write about them on a regular basis is the bees knees.

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