1st August 2019 - Alita Battle Angel.

Movie review. Contains spoilers.

I've always been a big fan of anime and always cringe when a live action movie is made about one of my favourites. I never read the manga comics that Alita Battle Angel is based upon but I have seen the original Alita Battle Angel anime on VHS video. In fact I still own it as part of my collection.

The first thing that struck me when seeing publicity pictures for the movie is the size of Alita's eyes. It's only her that has the larger than life eyes which in some ways makes sense as she possesses a cybotic body. I still felt however that this movie may be a parody that pokes fun at itself so I still wasn't looking forward to watching it. I intentionally avoided the trailers not wishing to risk catching sight of spoilers as often modern movie trailers reveal.

I didn't watch the movie at the cinema, instead I waited until it came out on DVD and blu ray. In the end I watched it through the PlayStation streamed via PSN. I purchased it to keep along with a multitude of extras (including the director making chocolate) for 9.99 which surprisingly is far cheaper than the blur ray version. There is no option for commentary however.

It was certainly not what I expected and I felt tearful while watching it. I can only describe it as an action movie / romance / humanity / dystopian sci-fi all rolled into one. Not only has the plot remained true to the anime but in many ways it has been improved upon.

Alita's larger than life eyes are certainly noticeable at first but it's surprising how quickly I became accustomed to seeing them.

While Alita has incredible strength it soon becomes apparent that it's more about her skill and agility than the physical power her cybotic body possesses. This was how she was able to defeat other cyborgs with far more strength than her own.

While Alita is strong, both emotionally and physically, she's still realistic in the way she reacts to certain situations. She's not Terminator robot but a teenage girl so acts accordingly. She cries, gets angry, often disobeys her father figure, and falls in love. She has flaws and is vulnerable.

Some scenes of note I particularly liked

  • When Dr Dyson explains to Alita that she's really over 300 years old and she laughs at his comment before realising he was being serious.

  • When Dr Dyson is being attacked by multiple cybotic bad guys and he tells Alita to run away. We then see her running at full speed only to discover she's running toward the cyborg kicking him to the ground and pounding her fists into him. The expressions on everyone's face, including her own, is priceless.

  • While crying and cradling Hugo in her arms Chiren sees them intending to turn them in but has a sudden change of heart.

  • The move has a certificate rating of 12 so there are no swear words, apart from one f-word which was certainly appropriate for the moment.

My only gripe is the way the movie ends. It's clearly a set-up for a sequel but a neater ending would have been better suited in my opinion.

I think to sum up this movie there's something about it that a lot of modern movies have been lacking in recent years. The plot and story telling really shines through what could have easily become another generic sci-fi. It has varied appeal to all kinds of audiences.

While Alita is a skilled warrior she's still a teenage girl at heart.

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