Movie #164 2020: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

She’s beauty, she’s grace, she’ll kick you in the face, it’s Alita! (Hope you liked my theme tune, I’ll be here all month.)

Alita: Battle Angel is one of those movies that got a huge cinema release, yet no one seems to have seen it. That might not be the case in other countries (apparently it did really well in China), but I’ve heard approximately two people mention this film in my entire life. Now that I’ve seen it, that seems kind of weird because it was actually pretty good!

Based on a Manga comic book series, Alita brings with her a whole new futuristic world that the viewer can immediately immerse themselves into. Alita herself is a deactivated cyborg, and when re-built by nutty professor Christoph Waltz, she quickly realises that she does not remember anything from before her deactivation. As a result, she sets out on a soul searching mission, to find out her purpose and who she really is.

What struck me straight away was how well Robert Rodriguez managed to introduce this new landscape within a very short space of time. For the most part, we are shown the ways of this new world situation in a concise and effective manner, and I have information – on good authority – that says the whole movie is basically a shot-for-shot, frame-by-frame replica of the original book. And that’s not a bad thing.

Despite some of the CGI (mainly of some of the cyborgs and the way they moved) being a little choppy, this film is glorious to look at. The landscapes are gorgeous, even if the green screen was a little obvious at times. There are some sequences in which the main characters take part in roller derby style sports that are particularly excellent, both in terms of fun, and also general visual prowess. 

What I didn’t care so much for was the love story, but that might be because Hugo (Keean Johnson) has all the charisma of a wet sponge. This subplot was thankfully necessary to the plot, but would have worked just as well as a platonic relationship. However, this is a small snag in an otherwise original story.

The main cast (Christoph Waltz and Mahershala Ali in particular) were brilliant, but some of the secondary characters’ performances weren’t up to speed… Quite noticeably, this was not Ed Skrein’s (Game of Thrones, Deadpool) finest hour, and his character ends up being about as menacing as Ian Beale.

What really impressed the most during this viewing was the choreography. Of course it’s all based on Manga so isn’t supposed to be super realistic, and Rodriguez does an amazing job at capturing its roots. Not only does it stick to the original content, but it’s simply a damn lot of fun.

To be honest, I won’t be watching this again any time soon, but there’s talk of a sequel in the works, and I’d definitely be up for giving that one a go too.

Would I recommend? Hell yeah.

Alita: Battle Angel is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV – and it’s only just been added, so you have plenty of time!

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
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