Perhaps the best way to describe Alita: Battle Angel is a superheroine robot with a lot of fun and great CGI but a convoluted mess of a plot. Co-written by James Cameron and directed by Robert Rodriguez the movie almost falls into the “flop” category this year. The fear wasn’t without reason as Alita production was repeatedly delayed due to Cameron’s work on Avatar (2009) and its sequels. And Rodriguez only introduced as the director on April 2016 after years of development hell.
Honestly, I never knew that Alita source material is coming from 1990s Japanese manga from Yukito Kishiro. A lot of reviewer that I read about the movie tell hows the movie differ from the source material. Personally, I have no problem with a movie that takes a different route from the source material since not all literature/book/manga is qualified to be transferred 100% to a movie which an entirely different medium from a book let say. So it just makes sense if the writer/director needs to make an adjustment. Alita in that sense blew me away completely. As I told, I never read the manga yet alone knew that Alita exists but I really like this movie. I think it has a lot of fun moment and for sci-fi action fan, this movie is a Godsend.
The story starts following Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) a cyborg scientist and secretly a bounty hunter. Dr. Ido discovers a supposedly dysfunctional female cyborg but with the brain or the core still in great condition. Ido brought the cyborg home, reassemble it, put a new life into it and naming her Alita (Rosa Salazar), the name actually comes from his deceased daughter. Resurrected to the new body, Alita is becoming amnesiac (cliché) so Dr. Ido acts like her father and teaches her the way the world work.
After adapting to her new body and new environment Alita meets Hugo (Keean Johnson). Hugo then introduced Alita to the supposed most famous sport in the world now, known as Motorball. A violent, racing-battle royale and the player is called as the gladiator. Motorball is foreseen by Vector (Mahershala Ali). A chain of event then started and bring Alita to follow her stepdad one night, where she sees her dad as bounty hunter fight another cyborg killers led by Grewishka (Jackie Earle Haley). Grewishka and his cronies are the subordinates of Nova (Edward Norton) an immortal mad scientist who have this sick ability to transfer his consciousness to others. Alita then starts to fight his way and ready to unravel all the mystery about his past life.
Well, the mystery is not about Alita past life, eventually, I understand the plot tries to cover so much in a little time hence the mess.
If they could just try to make Alita has more focus on the story and balancing it with the action rather than being action-driven story later, Alita has huge potential to become one of the best movie this year. The plot, dialogue, and acting get boosted a lot by Waltz and Salazar. Others actor is somewhat hit and miss, hard to blame them though as they are told to do so. But what I’m very excited is to see Edward Norton character come to life in the sequel, which was certainly hinted at the end of the movie but not yet confirmed from the production house. In revenue-wise, Alita doesn’t shy away though. With a reported budget of $170 million and a worldwide revenue of $404 million, Alita certainly is a box office. This would bring the possibilities to have a sequel more certain. Its a moneymaker after all. With all consideration, Alita is surely certified 4* plus.
Great CGI, amazing action, dystopian future, I mean for a fan of sci-fi and action, what more to ask?