Sunday, February 24, 2019

Alita: Battle Angel - Movie Review

The Movie: Alita: Battle Angel

The Director: Robert Rodriguez

The Cast: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Jackie Earl Haley

The Story: A deactivated female cyborg is revived, but cannot remember anything of her past life and goes on a quest to find out who she is.

The Review:
James Cameron has been developing this movie since well before he started work on Avatar and now, with the help of director Robert Rodriguez, Alita has finally been brought to life on the big screen. Based off of a popular manga series, the movie adaptation is a visual explosion of computer generated theatrics that demands to be viewed on the biggest screen you can find.

As the movie began, it took a bit for my eyes and brain to adjust to the extreme visual style but, once I got settled in, it was a pretty amazing sight to behold. Weta Digital has been a special effects powerhouse ever since it was brought to life for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and with this movie they continue to impress. The sheer scale of the movie is huge and great effort was put into maintaining a level of detail and complexity that definitely raises the bar a few notches.

The story is a pretty straight forward origin story which is fine as it allows for the spectacle to take center stage and for Alita herself to really shine thanks to an impressive motion capture and voice performance from rising star Rosa Salazar. Her own star power and personality shines right through the CGI and it didn't take long to forget I was watching an animated character on the screen. The mix of live actors and CGI characters was very well done and looked perfect within the overall visual context.

Alita's journey reminds me a bit of Rey in The Force Awakens. She has no idea who she really is and is slowly discovering her power and potential just in time to face a gigantic pile of adversity. Just like Rey, she picks things up with ease but with Alita she is remembering what she is capable of instead of learning new abilities that had yet to appear. Once she begins to figure these things out, there is really no stopping her and this is where it becomes apparent that the already epic scale of the movie is going to get much bigger when the inevitable sequels come out.

The Verdict:
Alita: Battle Angel is the bad ass, epic scale, science fiction movie we've been waiting for. You definitely want to look at this as part one of what will be multiple films as it doesn't really end as much as it sets up the story to move forward in some pretty spectacular ways.

I watched the movie initially in the 3D IMAX format and I was blown away by how amazing it looked. Definitely recommended for any premium format theater.

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