Alita, Battle Angel
by Mark Suszko on Feb 20, 2019 at 10:32:49 pm
Solid entertainment that would have been revolutionary a few years ago, now shares a more crowded market space/mind space and fights for recognition. It's still worth a theater viewing though.
While I'm only passingly familiar with the source material, I know there's a whole damn LOT of it, and that it's always a challenge to collapse the most important parts of the source material to fit a 2-hour movie format. Something that "Ghost In The Shell" didn't quite pull off to my complete satisfaction, but I know that source material better. Not being a hopeless Otaku boy, I took this movie on it's own terms, without the context of the source material, and thought it was solid. Predictable story, but good execution, with some surprising visuals here and there. Not something I necessarily want to buy to take home and step-frame thru incessantly... though my wife might do that for some of the striking visuals...
Rosa Salazar does a tremendous job conveying a character that's got very little development in this movie. I wished the flashy motorball sequences had been shorter, to give more time for that development. The mocap work on her live performance has gotten really good, to the point we should just consider it "digital makeup". The lucky thing here is, Alita can have these giant anime styled eyes, and fleshy human heads or faces pasted onto improbable robot bodies, and you don't feel the "uncanny Valley" effect so much because it's science fantasy - you just suspend your disbelief and go with it.
This is a "girl power" movie, and women I know who are not into anime', are going out to see this specifically. I can't tell if men or women will like it more. Teens might dig it.
I liked Roberto Rodreguez' directing, parts of this movie reminded me of "Spy Kids" in his choice of shots and camera movement. I also got a strong Wachowski's "Speed Racer" feeling from the motorball sequences.
I'd give the movie a solid B+ overall.
This movie is basically Alita's origin story, so there wasn't much room for plot, and you can plainly see they're setting this up for a series of sequels. They are also teasing the live action "Alita Experience", which from what I have seen of it so far, is a cross between a themed "escape room" venue, a sci fi cosplay version of a ren faire', and Quark's bar from Las Vegas' Trek Experience. That did not impress me.