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Saturday, February 23, 2019

AT THE MOVIES ~ ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL


ALITA—BATTLE ANGEL
In the 26th century, Dr. Dyson Ido is Iron City’s best doctor and renowned for his ability to rebuild people by meshing them with improvised machined parts savaged from scrap yards. Discovering the remains of an outdated female cyborg with signs of brain activity, Ido rebuilds her with a body designed for his deceased daughter. He names the cyborg Alita when it turns out she has no memory of who she is or where she’s from. When Dr. Ido realizes the young woman in the salvaged cyborg has an extraordinary past and the promise of an even more extraordinary, if violent (very violent) future for which she is unprepared complications ensue.

Alita—Battle Angel reminds me in many ways of Ready Player One. Both films brilliantly present a complex story in a way understandable to neophytes, but multifaceted enough to still engage those intimately familiar with the world being presented. Where Ready Player One accomplished this feat under the genius directorial guidance of Stephen Spielberg, Alita—Battle Angel succeeds through the genius writing and producing skills of the equally gifted James Cameron.

A cyberpunk epic, Alita is based on a popular dystopian manga (stylized Japanese graphic novels) by Yukito Kishiro, which is a mash-up of Rollerball, Robotech, and Transformers. What makes Alita different and worthy of attention is it has a heart, a girl warrior—the titular Alita—who is all human despite her almost entirely cyborg body. 

The film effortlessly captures this human element along with pitch-perfect pacing, fantastic motion capture techniques, outstanding visual effects that go beyond the high-tech CGI, seamlessly choreographed action, a clicked in soundtrack, a solid story, committed acting by Rosa Salazar as Alita and Christopher Waltz as her father figure Dr. Ido, and inspired direction on the part of Robert Rodriquez.

Overall, Alita—Battle Angel is gorgeous, entertaining, and a special effects spectacle. Be prepared to let your popcorn get cold when you get caught up in the story despite never having read a magna in order to understand why Alita’s eyes are so stylized and big.

 

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