Alita Battle Angel: Film Review

Alita Battle Angel follows the heroes quest in ways you don’t normally expect– Roller Derby Style.  And since it is roller derby, it’s only fitting it be a woman who ends up on top.

It’s an epic quest, and it is still anime, so it does follow many anime tropes, which I won’t mention here so you aren’t spoiled at all.  You can pick them out if you are a fan of classic anime while you are watching the film–since I’m recommending you do watch.

There are a few things that I really liked about the film.  Here is a list of what I thought of immediately after viewing.

  1. People are still people with all their mixed baggage, even if they have electric parts.
  2. Jennifer Connelly was beautiful in Labyrinth, and I’m glad I’m not the only one getting noticeably older.  Even plastic surgery can’t keep you young forever.  She looks good, of course, and has wonderful hair, but she’s not a cyborg.
  3. Father knows best, most of the time.
  4. Men can be good and wonderful.
  5. Never trust someone who doesn’t like dogs.
  6. Love hurts.
  7. Sometimes you can’t forget what being a mom feels like.
  8. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the world through new eyes and no memory?
  9. Someone used flashbacks in a way that didn’t make me yawn.
  10. Nice use of a sword.
  11. What’s the point of ‘no guns’ if you can still use scorpion’s “get over here” move?
  12. I still love Mars.

It was a pretty good film.  It kept a good pace.  It didn’t go on too long. It didn’t give too much away, and it left you wanting to know more.

alitaI know the film had been scheduled for a release in July of last year, as a summer release, so we have to assume something was off about the film that they delayed the release and dumped it in the cold of winter.  Though they did take advantage of the Valentines Day crowd–it’s not really a romantic film even with it’s love story arc.  It would be a fun date for teens who like anime, millenials who grew up on it, boomers who want to stay hip, and Gen X’ers who brought anime to mainstream in the 80’s.  It has the gritty feel of classic post apocalyptic type of movie like Blade Runner, and futuristic anime like Cowboy Bebop.  If you like those, you will probably like the feel of this film with it’s ruined city sets and junkyard cyborgs.

What the problems were that delayed the release, I can only guess at.  I think they have a nice edit here, knowing how long Cameron likes to go on and on with his movies.  This film was only 125 minutes, which is short for this director.  You might have a huge directors release coming.

From Rotten Tomatoes

It’s got a lot of bad reviews, and I think that’s because critics don’t like Anime and they don’t read Manga.  I think fans of both will be happy with the movie, if they aren’t expecting too much.  I went in knowing there were problems and it might be a trainwreck.  I was pleasantly surprised, but then again, I shouldn’t have been.  Film critics never seem to match fans when it comes to scifi and comic book movies.

The character of Alita grew on me.  Maybe because I’m a girl and I like badass anime chicks.

I wanted more blood stripes on her face….

I would give it a tentative four stars, until I can sleep on it and review more of what I liked and didn’t like, but it’s a movie I’d go see again immediately, and that’s a pretty good sign.

Alita manages to do what few films have actually been able to do: bring Anime into reality without making reality look too much like a cartoon, or CGI creation, to enjoy.  You know, when you first enter the film, that Alita is CGI, but you become so immersed into the story and emotion that you forget she is CGI.  Unlike Gollum, who you can’t relate to because he’s obviously crazy, you can connect to Alita on many levels.  She does still have the eyes, of course, and in the tradition of all good anime cyborg babes, she kicks ass.

Everyone loves Anime–except critics.  This movie makes everyone a little bit weeaboo–except film critics.

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