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“Alita: Battle Angel” A Wild Ride

 

 

Review by John Delia

If you are a fan of Manga, then you probably already know the character Alita. If you are just an action or superhero lover, then you’re covered as both genres take stage in Alita: Battle Angel. It’s a fast moving and furious action movie now in theaters. If you fall in love with Alita, I’ll remind you she’s just a figment of someone’s imagination, or is she?

While on a scrap finding mission in the ruins of an old city, Dr. Duson Ido (Christoph Waltz) comes across the body parts of a cyborg. Wanting to finish his replica of a daughter that died, he uses the 300 year old caucus as the base of his project. When completed he calls her Alita (Rosa Salazar) and sets out to enter her into the modern society of his uncertain world.

Rosa Salazar stars as Alita in Twentieth Century Fox’s ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

So begins a leap for Alita into a new society where the main game is to thunder skate gladiator style in a contest called Motorball. When she teams up with Hugo (Keean Johnson), he opens up her mind to the world above called Zalem where Vector (Mahershala Ali) controls the planet below for his ill-gotten gain.

Most actors who play a role certainly want their face on the screen as much as possible, well that’s not the case here. But, the actress who stars with the motion capture, Rosa Salazar, still looks a lot like Alita with her beautiful eyes and facial features. It’s like others who have taken roles where they are an ape like Andy Sercus in Planet of the Apes or other actors who work with animation films. But, this role is more unusual as the character That’s motion captured has a lot of extreme movement and dialogue to make audiences believe Alita the cyborg is real.

James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez on the set of Alita: Battle Angel. 20th Century Fox

Director Robert Rodroguez, who has had a very good career with his grindhouse genre, really lets it all hang out as he dives into the action early one. His antagonist characters are crazy and wild to watch on the screen as they use futuristic body armor and weapons against Alita. But, it’s the screenplay by James Cameron (Avatar, Aliens Terminator 2, etc.) that really makes the film a blast. He even leaves Alita: Battle Angel wide open for a sequel that will hopefully be in between his screenplays for the next four sequels of Avatar.

Keean Johnson (left) as Hugo and Rosa Salazar as Alita (center) in Twentieth Century Fox’s ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

I like the fast and furious action of the film that once in motion really commands attention to the plight of Hugo and Alita as they move closer to their goal of defeating those who hover above in a giant air-city. The special effects are really amazing showing the main protagonist speed around the city and the track, the Motorball arena, the street scenes and an army of robots, cyborgs, and other antagonists.

The star of the film may be Alita, but the performance by Christoph Waltz as cyborg scientist Dr. Ido holds the film all together. As Alita’s “father” he must get her ready for life in a city under the rule of Vector. His Dr. Ido is loving, yet determined to keep Alita safe no matter what it takes. But, his task of being a Hunter-Warrior shows his power and disdain for Vector and his ex-wife Chiren (Jennifer Connelly).

Rosa Salazar stars as Alita in Twentieth Century Fox’s ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

Alita: Battle Angel has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA and contains language, extreme violence, and gore. I watched the film in a Dolby Atmos auditorium and the sound and picture is amazing. It is also in IMAX at those theaters that have the screen. The film is based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga series Gunnm, also known as Battle Angel Alita.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good actioner with a plot that will have Sci-fi fans on the edge of their seat. (4 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Keean Johnson
Directed Robert Rodriguez and
Written by: James Cameron & Laeta Kalogridis
Graphic Novel by: “Gunnm” Yukito Kishiro
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-fi, Romance
MPAA Rating: PG-13, contains language, extreme violence, gore
Running Time: 2 hrs. 22 min.
Opening Date: February 14, 2019
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Released in: Dolby 3D, Dolby Almos, IMAX

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