Vic's Flick Picks
Alita: Battle Angel
(3 popcorn boxes)
I was so excited to see Alita. The previews were very thrilling and this seemed to be the end of the dreary films so far in 2019. I liked it. It was good, not great.
Written by James Cameron, Leata Kalogridis and Robert Rodriguez – based on the graphic novel series Gunnm by Yukito Kishiro. Robert Rodriguez also directed. He is on my list of top three favorite directors.
Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) is the man who revives Alita (Rosa Salazar) when he finds parts of her in a scrap heap. Alita has no memories of her prior cyborg life, which was 300 years ago so there really aren’t any old friends hanging around.
We follow along with Alita as she tries to discover who and what she is while she’s learning about this world she has been brought to, including her feelings for a human boy named Hugo (Keean Johnson) and her immediate love of Motorball. Motorball is probably the most ridiculously fun action sequences you will ever witness in CGI. It’s a bit of a mix between roller derby, demolition derby and death race. The best made-up game ever – way better than quidditch.
I have nothing but great things to say about the CGI and the direction. The story was both slow and fast at the same time. We seemed to immediately skip to Dr. Ido and Alita bonding closely enough to risk death for each other, but they have only known each other for three days. The audience is asked to follow as Alita learns human emotions, but we only meet a few fully human characters in the entire movie. The residents of Iron City dream of going to the floating city of Zolum, but we never enter that city so it’s hard to understand being willing to 𠇍o anything” to reach that goal.
I was slightly disappointed because I don’t feel Alita was great, only good. Truly great films – like Titanic from James Cameron or Sin City from Robert Rodriguez – make your heart race with a need to know more, see more. I will see a sequel if it surfaces, but mostly because the most interesting points of Alita were only hinted at… Where did she come from? Who created her? I wanted to know more.
Three boxes out of five for Alita: Battle Angel. Alita is a well-drawn and likable character that you can cheer for – even when the characters around her are dull and cliché. The Battle Angel part comes late in the film, but it sets us up nicely for the sequel as Alita vows to fulfill her mission. The movie is surprisingly rated PG-13, there is a lot of violence and truly evil characters, but I guess not enough blood and gore for that R rating. Alita takes you to a beautifully created new world, even though it is an ugly reality. I can recommend you see this film if you enjoy the graphic novel genre.
Check this week’s issue of the Frankenmuth News for a complete listing of shows and times.
Jackie Earle Haley makes an appearance (or at least his head does) as a particularly gruesome hunter warrior out to get Alita. I enjoyed Haley in this 2009 graphic novel turned film starring Billy Crudup.
LAST WEEK’S MOVIE TRIVIA
Laura Dern is remarkable in many, many movies. One of my favorites is this 1999 standout that introduced us to Jake Gyllenhall. October Sky.