Review: Battle Angel Alita

So I just watched the movie Alita: Battle Angel. First and foremost I wanted to watch it in cinema since it was a good mix of CGI and real actors and I really wanted to know how that could work out. If it’s just CGI then a movie can get away with a lot of crappy CGI but with a mix like this… No can do. It has to be great.

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Well in this review I wanna talk more about the movie and tell you what I thought of it.

James Cameron and Jon Landau

So the producers of this movie is non other than directing big hit James Cameron and star producer Jon Landau, the two people where you know at least two movies they did before. Titanic and Avatar. Both of them broke records and so the expectations were high with Alita: Battle Angel, even if they did NOT actually direct the movie. At least my expectations were high*. And even if James Cameron just produced the movie the name of James Cameron still gives you specific expectations -the same when you hear something was produced by Steven Spielberg or Jerry Bruckheimer, all of them carry a specific “image” with them, I guess- James Cameron may not be awesome or great with stories but what he is good at is giving you a movie where you forget time and just get sucked into the story’s world and not think of anything else until the movie is over. It may not become your favorite movie but you will still watch with focus and forget your surroundings. James Cameron and Jon Landau give you those good old cinema movies where you eat and drink the popcorn and coke during advertisements and trailers before the movie and not touch it again while watching. I love those movies.

So as you can read, I have great respects for both of them and high expectations for the movie.

*the movie was actually directed by Robert Rodriguez…you may him from all the Spy Kids movies and Machete…yes, I did not expect that either. 

CGI wonders and a design fantasy. 

First to a part in the movie I totally loved and have no dislike. The CGI. The effects in this movie are wonderfully done and fit well with the real actors and actresses. You won’t have to cringe when seeing the cyborg girl beside the human characters. So all the best and highest compliments for the special effects department.

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Also the design of the world, the outfits, surroundings etc deserve high praise since things like that are an essential part in making you believe in a world that you know is fictional. They managed to mix futuristic tech stuff and inventions with a look that still reminds of today like medical scrubs that look like the ones you see in the hospital right now. This also helped making the movie a little bit more sentimental as we can have a feeling of familiarity with it and it seems more believable as a future state of the world and not just a total fictional futuristic world they live in.

Character development VS story pace…eh?

Well with this ends my totally positive review. Don’t worry I’m not gonna totally smash it now but from here on there are a few points I had to think twice about.

One of them being the character development and the story pace. This movie manages to do something I’ve never seen before and that’s giving you the feeling the story pace is very slow when it’s actually really fast and never changes the tempo. While watching I thought the story telling was starting out very slowly and then suddenly speeding up just to get almost impossibly slow in the middle and ending it with a high. Reflecting on it though and seeing the ending you realize that all the scenes are there for a reason and there are no real filler scenes and the story telling has the same tempo from beginning to end. Normally I’d hate that in a movie but strangely with this one it fits quite well. I think that’s also because there’s a lot of story to tell and it would be hard to do if the did it differently. It does make you feel like you watched a movie marathon though. I feel like I just spend 4 hours in the cinema… Which for me is not a bad thing but others may not like that feeling.

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As for character development…did it even exist? Hm let me think. Ah yes for some characters they did change and had some internal development going on… As for the main character Alita? I think for her the character development was more one sided. Like she matured a little bit but not because she actually changed much but because she started remembering stuff and adapted to her surroundings. In her core I don’t think she changed much of her morals, way of thinking and priorities. Which is highly strange for a main character and makes her strangely fascinating. I don’t wanna think too hard about it though because I think I could find a hundred things I did not like about her. If I just adapt to the movie and see it all as a big picture it works quite well. At least her thinking was quite good from the beginning otherwise it would’ve been a disaster.

The other characters show more character development though. With some it seemed reasonable, with others it seemed really out of the blue though.

One thing that surprises me is how much I started liking and hating the characters. Mostly liking though but see more on that below.

What really develops in the movie though are the relationships between every character. From a total hate relationship getting even worse to a romantic liking changing to love and so on. This movie may not really live of its character development but it sucks you in by getting to know the characters at the same time as they are learning more about each other.

Oh, but still let me get this out: The acting and cast is great and fits well though. No one really misses the mark or stands out because it doesn’t fit. So compliments to whoever cast these actors and actresses and compliments for the cast for making this movie an even better experience.

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Why why why?

So the first part was what I loved, the second one about things I have some bad and good things to say and this last part will be about two things in this movie I don’t appreciated or wasn’t too enthusiastic about.

One: The “villain”…while movies like Venom had the problem that the villain -or one of them- wasn’t really bad enough, this movie has the problem that it’s either there are so many villains you don’t really get to put your dislike to one or there’s no “real” villain. Sure, there are bad guys, some appear, some are only mentioned, but in general a villain is supposed to be a definite villain and maybe do bad stuff in the movie? In Alita everyone seems to have a hidden figure behind them and the hidden figure is only mentioned so vague, that you cannot really take him as the main villain. So this movie has interesting characters, relationships, an awesome design and effects and also really good music but it’s missing the factor of a villain, which kind of leaves you with the feeling that you don’t know what the real goal of the movie was…and that can be fatal for a movie. I hope it won’t be a big issue since I really did enjoy the movie overall but well…

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Two: James Cameron and Jon Landau are not known for making any movies where you can see a second installment…not until now. Without telling you anything about the ending of the movie, I can tell you, this movie definitely allows a second part. I mean we all know that there’s a second Avatar in the works but whenever that will come out, I don’t know. And if you believe wikipedia you can see that a third one is planned too…we’ll probably get that one 2030 if they take as much time between 2nd and 3rd as with 1st and 2nd, I guess? But in general their movies seem like closed movies that work well as a single movie. Alita: Battle Angel is one of those movies where you just kind of expect a second one to come. Don’t ask me why, because I’m not gonna give spoilers but there’s a lot of story still left for a part 2. And yes I know James Cameron did not direct the movie, but he still wrote it, so he is responsible for the movie going like it is.

Overall I did enjoy the movie a lot especially because you just land in this new world and forget everything else for two hours but there are some things that could’ve gone better. Still, Alita: Battle Angel is definitely a movie to look out for, even if it’s just about the effects.

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