Alita: Battle Angel — Movie Review

Alita: Battle Angel movie got its attention due to the most ambitious James Cameron. Many in India know and love him for the kind of visual Spectacle he brings on the silver screen. For me, it was also Robert Rodriguez’s name which compelled me to watch the movie. The trailer of this movie has set an expectation for an amazing cyborg action movie and it was fulfilled.

I am a huge fan of Robert Rodriguez's style of action choreography. I loved his Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn and the Spy Kids series (I know, someone might laugh at this but c’mon I was from a small town and when kids of my age could do so many adventures we tend to love them and I still love them :D) and Sin City. The kind of action he brings on screen is spectacular. Only recently I got to know that James Cameron desired to make this movie 20 years ago, good that he didn’t and also bad that he took so long because, in these two decades, we saw more such Post-apocalyptic movies which revolve around the same theme of reaching a place of high borns.

In hindsight, the movie seemed more like Elysium movie for me, with respect to the theme but there are so much more to it than that. This Cyberpunk* movie takes place in the year 2563 after the great fall (A war between humans and the Martians) which made Earth devastated and many floating cities destroyed except the glorious Zalem. This floating city sends the trash to earth, especially to Iron City. While Dr. Ido discovers a cyborg head which might still have life in it, he puts that in a new body which Dr. Ido saved for her physically handicapped daughter who was killed and he also names the new cyborg after his deceased daughter’s name Alita.

Alita doesn’t have a memory of her past nor how she ended up in Zalem (The floating city which rules Iron City on earth). The story starts from here where Alita adjusts to her new life on earth, finding love, knowing about her past and the skills which came with it and many others. This world of Alita has bounty hunters who are named “Hunter Warriors” who don’t use guns because they are banned in this world and also a sport, “Motorball” (A roller derby violent game) which is a ticket to go to Zalem. Most importantly, everything and everyone in this world is controlled by Nova (Oops! Not Spoilers) who is a big baddy in this movie. Did Alita find her past? What happened to her love? Did she avenge? Watch the movie to find these answers.

What worked for me:

  • Rosa Salazar who played the titular character Alita. Even though those eyes were CG, they express far and beyond. She carried the movie completely on her shoulders effortlessly and Dr. Ido played by fantastic Christoph Waltz, he brings those emotions so naturally to the character.
  • The Worldbuilding in this movie. Instead of getting history lessons from one of the characters, we are following Alita to find the world which she steps into and the clues to her past. A very good screenplay should I say? The credits go to James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis.
  • The Mystery villain. We are only introduced to his name all throughout the movie but never get to see him. This basically excites me, a powerful villain who doesn’t come head to fight his battles but sends his minions and create chaos with that. Brilliant.

What didn’t work for me:

  1. Underutilised actors. Be it, Jennifer Connelly or Mahershala Ali. They both are brilliant actors in their own right and they could have fleshed out more from them but all we get is peanuts.
  2. The love angle. Well, it had its own drama attached to it but the love was so naive and didn’t add much to the plot. Even, if the love is removed from the story still it would have been as enticing as it is now.

On a whole, this movie is IMAX worthy if you ask me. The ambitious vision of James Camero’s visuals is one of the major reasons for us to watch the movie on IMAX and those glorious action sequences. Such movies are worth enjoying in big screens.

Final Verdict:

*Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that tends to focus on a “combination of lowlife and high tech” featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order. (Source: Wikipedia)