Alita: Battle Angel : Review by @Kush_Hayes
Despite being a dull story, Im giving the James Cameron produced, Robert Rodriguez directed blockbuster, Alita: Battle Angel, four out of six blueberries.
Story is a big thing, and when youre just doing Pinocchio in the 26th Century, it doesnt have to be complicated, but it does have to be entertaining. Thats what ABL get mixed up. Its story is complicated and unfocused. No, we dont need to see the war from 300 years ago. No, we dont need to see the City in the Clouds. But we do need to have an understanding of situations like: If people are so financially impaired, how is it, when theres a medical emergency that requires fixing a human body part, the best result is to weld some expensive steel with gears and hydraulics to your severed nerves and stump? And also, why are people so cool about that being the go to and end result?
Are those Nit-Picks? Maybe. Kush Hayes, (extends hand out) nice to meet you.
Lets talk about what we did like:
This is Robert Rodriguez biggest budget movie ever. How big? Grindhouse, which was two movies was listed at $67 million while Sin City was listed at $40 million, both of which are still much less than the $170 million estimated budget James Cameron gave him to complete this world.
What Im getting at is everything is very polished. The Special FX provided by WETA look great. The set Im told from Behind The Scenes material says that most of the sets are practical. They both blend well, regardless of percentage. There were several scenes in my 2D screening where I thought, “this would probably look good in 3D” but I cant say that this is a movie that NEEDS to be seen in 3D. I also have to wonder at what point do we draw the line at this being a “Live Action” film versus an “Incredibly Sophisticated Animated Film”. I think this looks better than Ready Player One.
Robert Rodriguez knows how to make an action scene work whether his budget is $170 Thousand or $170 Million. They are very entertaining. You can tell what is happening the entire time. You understand and excuse some laws of physics being defied, considering the material.
How about the actors? Christoph Waltz is in it more than the movie advertises, quite a bit and he brings his A Game to the table. Mahershala Ali is not in it as much as the movie advertises and comes off as hollow. Jackie Earl Hayley plays the main heavy, and Im surprised they didnt graph his face onto his animated robot host. Infact his character looks more like Patrick Warburton. The love interest, is just kind of transparent. You see his outcome from the beginning of the film.
Rosa Salazar. I am not familar with her work in Parenthood or American Horror Story, nor have I seen Birdbox on Netflix, but I have to say she is gem in this film. I dont know what of her performance is CGI versus just Motion Capture. I enjoyed every minute of her presence on screen. Her Fish Out of Water Arch goes very quickly. You feel her confusion. Her frustration. But then you feel her innocence and her ability to distinguish right from wrong. Salazar gives just a delightful performance beginning to end. I look forward to seeing more from her in film and television as well as more of her media interactions as she comes off as quick witted and fun.
Can we go back to the story?
I give Robert Rodriguez credit for knowing how to work in the delicatessen that is Hollywood. James Camerons original script was going to be closer to three hours once upon a time. Thankfully Rodriguez managed to trim it down to two hours. I wish he could have shaved maybe just another fifteen minutes from it.
I think because it had such a budget behind it, because it doesnt swerve far away from the story line this may be the best Manga/Anime to Live Action adaptation presented. It wont be placed on any pedestals, and in hindsight, 1995s Fist of the North Star may still be a better movie overall. Bee Tee Dub, that movie is also boring as hell.
Alita Battle Angel collects a bounty of Four out of Six Blueberries.