Alita: Battle Angel – An Action-Packed SCI-FI Spectacle with a Humdrum Storyline
Movie Review by Rafiaa Khan (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
James Cameron’s latest thriller production, Alita: Battle Angel is a science-fiction blockbuster driven by special effects. In collaboration with Director Robert Rodriguez, who is known for his pulp fiction action movies: Alita: Battle Angel is based on a manga series by Yukito Kishoro.
The movie is set in the year 2563 in Iron City, a ruined metropolis. While rummaging for parts, a scientist and doctor, Dyson Ido (played by Christoph Waltz) discovers a cyborg head which still has life left in it. He takes it back to his laboratory and constructs a highly functional robotic body for it.
The robot turns out to be a girl, played by Rosa Salazar who remembers nothing of her origination. She accidently discovers the real powers she possesses and sets out on a journey of self-discovery. Rosa Salazar playing Alita via motion capture is commendable. The motion capture makes the movie’s kinetic action scenes really fun to watch. Named after his dead daughter, Alita is protected and sheltered endlessly by the doctor.
Alita: Battle Angel has fingerprints of Cameron’s blockbuster, Titanic all over it with its melodramatic romance. This is portrayed in scenes where Alita goes on to meet Hugo, her human lover, played by Keean Johnson. Mahershala Ali plays the supervillain and Edward Norton plays Nova, the puppet-master. Jennifer Connelly plays Chiren, and Ed Skrein stars as Zapan.
Alita: Battle Angel is visually stunning with a lot of magnificent futuristic worlds. The movie has a series of immaculate action scenes. What sets Alita: Battle Angel apart from the other C.G.I. heavy science-fiction movies is how it offers interesting prospects for how the future world could be.
Rodriguez’s direction has a lot of inventive energy and the action sequences flaunt a lot of big-budget toys. The engaging background score perfectly blends in with the flawless cinematography. The movie also has a lot of Ghost in the Shell DNA and though it lacks originality, the movie is visually exciting. However, Alita: Battle Angel did not live up to the hype given to it (before its release) due to its uneventful plot.
You go through the movie waiting for the plot twists and wow moments as with most James Cameron movies, but end up watching scenes with the same old predictable concepts of storytelling we have grown up with. The movie ends at the very moment the plot reaches its purpose, shamelessly setting up for a sequel.
The movie could be described as sort of a coming of age story of a young girl, except that here the girl is a cyborg with an extraordinary warrior past. While the film does manage to capture the emotional theme of the manga, there is truly nothing that sets it apart from the other last-of-her-kind narratives. This would be forgivable, if Alita: Battle Angel wasn’t a James Cameron movie, with a 20-year development process. But, it is.