Robert Rodriguez has had a varying film career. From Once Upon A Time in Mexico to Spy Kids, the filmmaker has certainly immersed himself in different degrees of movie making. Now he returns with sci-fi epic film Alita: Battle Angel.
Based on a very popular Manga of the same name, Alita: Battle Angel revolves around a Robo-Doctor who finds the remains of a robot on a junk heap. The garbage is sent from a Zalom, a floating city in the sky where all the rich people live. All the working class live underneath the city and serve those above. No one from beneath can ever go up. Previously there was an attack on all the floating cities but Zalom is the only one still standing. OK. So Robo-Doctor (Ido,) takes this “core” and replaces it’s body with the cyborg one he built for his now dead daughter and promptly names her Alita (after said deceased daughter.) Seemingly new to the whole world, when Alita awakes, she wants to explore it, especially with the help of ragamuffin Hugo and his band of street friends. However, Alita finds that there is something more sinister afoot as she begins to uncover secrets from the past; all under the watch of the omnipotent and evil Nova.
Similarly to movies such as Jupiter Ascending or Valerian, Alita: Battle Angel is an…experience. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Rodriguez, Jon Landou, and James Cameron have all produced a glorious sci-fi world because the special effects are astonishing. True, they alarmingly race into uncanny valley, but the details on features such as Alita’s eyes or Ed Skrein’s robot assassin body are wonderfully realised in this beautiful yet barbaric future. It has impressive action sequences as it veers into a sports movie about a fierce skating sport called Motorball.
The problem with Alita is that it is rather silly. If you pinpoint any moment, in any scene, throughout the movie, and it will always be absurd. Just a few moments standout: Robot-Dad (played by Christoph Waltz) growling in an overly sexual manner at his Robot-Daughter “Well look at you;” a dog dying leading to an epic hero moment covered in the blood of said dog; a scene where she gobbles down an orange without peeling it; a 12A rated film sees someone literally slit in half; and Ed Skrein is just walking around as just a face – the list goes on and on and on. The film is so silly. It’s up to you to decide whether you can put up with that or not. (Personally, I love it, especially the hammy attempt to squeeze in the film’s title. When you spot it, let me know.)
Much like Alita, there is still a heart underneath all that. Alita: Battle Angel is a fun and thrilling movie, especially if you decide to flick your brain off and go along with the ride. There’s a heap of famous faces that make shocking cameos including an actor reveal that’ll will blow your mind.
Yes, Alita can be quite nonsensical but it is an enjoyable ride nonetheless.
Alita: Battle Angel is out in cinemas now!