Hubby was like: “Dude, what’s up with the eyes?”
Enchanting Orca was like: “I’m your goddess, man, not your dude!”
Hubs, impatiently: “So what’s up with Alita’s fukn googly eyes?”
Sexy Orca: “You should know, trogly. Afterall it was you who introduced our household to those cute K-On anime girlies and a lot of other Japanese dreck. And Alita is originally a manga and anime character too.”
Hubs: “Ya, but why then doesn’t everbody in this movie have superbiggenized eyes? Riddle me that Batwoman!”
Gorgeous Orca: “Well, errrrm … because … because because shut the fuk up! :|”
Alita is a creation from an age of despair. Found by the mysterious Dr. Ido while trolling for cyborg parts, Alita becomes a lethal, dangerous being. She cannot remember who she is, or where she came from. But to Dr. Ido, the truth is all too clear. She is the one being who can break the cycle of death and destruction left behind from Tiphares. But to accomplish her true purpose, she must fight and kill. And that is where Alita’s true significance comes to bear. She is an angel from heaven. She is an angel of death.
I guess after that introduction we have the most presssing question out of the way, don’t we? Nobody knows exactly why exactly James Cameron (yes, THAT James Cameron!) decided to go the anime eyes route, we just have to deal with it. I can’t even say if it worked for me other than Rosa Salazar owned those eyes as if she was born with them and it wasn’t just a CGI effect.
But since we’ve cleared that up now, what else is there to say about Alita Battle Angel other than it’s quite obviously an adaptation of manga/anime Battle Angel Alita? Ok, Rosa Salazar/Alita is in practically almost every scene of the movie, she’s more than just the main protagonist, she owns the franchise and our screens. Love her or hate her or be meh about her, she’s the power to be reckoned with, an artificial Mary Sue and commanding figure.
Even if she’s just a lifeless peace of garbage when Doc Ido (Christoph Waltz) finds her and tinkers a new body for her, she’s never a stupid little girl but strong-minded from the first moment on. At least from the first moment we, the audience, are introduced to her. Maybe it’s Rosa’s voice, which wasn’t studio-pitched to meet anime standards but sounds like that of a strong human girl.
Which Alita inherently is, as we’ll learn later in the movie. She was a Marsian Republic cyborg elite soldier in her former life. And she figures it out and makes no excuses about it when she goes to town and kills numbers and takes people. Fortunately we’re living in a dystopian future, full of other cyborged humanoids, so she’s not the only weird figure in the streets of Steel Town, and by far not the most freakish or brutally killer-ish. Although the only one with googly anime eyes.
The story of Alita is nothing special and, from what I hear, pretty close to the anime blueprint, so not too complicated for younger, badly educated audiences. There is fortunately nothing of Titanic but a lot of Ghost in the Shell in Alita, although with less personality and psychophilosophical questions. Yes, one can say Alita is pretty one-dimensional as a character, and the narrative is very straightforward too.
The loss of her love-interest Hugo (Keean Johnson) is no loss for the movie. There wasn’t any chemistry between the two anyway, he acted stupidly and died, and their relationship bears no influence on the narrative.
I liked the world of Alita, dirty and grungy and lived-in gives it a strong background for such dystopian plays and the altered humans living in it. Very nice set-design, light and mood are very good throughout the movie.
Action scenes are on par with what’s possible nowaydays and what we know from all the Marvel and DC movies, and here Alita is even a bit better. The action in the motorball arena is perfectly choreographed, and lets the audience know were everybody is and what they are doing, at all times. Hubby and me survived the action scenes in a kinda unconfused state. I don’t know if that makes Alita a good movie but at least it didn’t hurt. 😉
There really isn’t much to say about this movie. Seen the eyes, seen it all. 🙂 Oh, forgot to mention Alita wasn’t directed by Cameron but by Tarantino-buddy Robert Rodriguez who delivered on usual high level of competence without charting new territory.
CONCLUSION: A straightforward anime action adaptation, very competently made but far from the impact movies such as Titanic or Avatar had. Alita will disappear from our memory very quickly while the other two movies became part of our shared culture. But Alita passes my other test with flying colours: Hubby and me never managed to watch the classic anime, not even in peparation for this live action movie but for us it worked as a stand alone movie without all the context. Well done.