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Movie Review – Alita Battle Angel
I have to admit that I was only mildly interested in seeing ‘Alita Battle Angel’.
While aware of it all this time, I had never watched the original Anime, simply because Anime isn’t really my thing.
I know, I know, believe me I’ve tried, people. But Anime just doesn’t click with me.
What does click with me is science fiction stories set in dystopian futures; the kind where ruins of the world we know exist in places called ‘The Badlands’.
Although if we can pause on that note for just a second, I’d like to request that at some point, we come up with a name for that area of the world where our story lives other than ‘The Badlands’, because that name is really played out now.
Character #1 – WAIT – “Hey tonight, let’s sneak out. I want to take you to this place we call….”
Character #2 – ” Let me guess! The Badlands?”
Character #1 – “Um…yeah…how did you know?”
Character #2 – “Because OF COURSE it’s called The Badlands. Our writer is lazy.”
For what seems like the last six months, the trailer for ‘ABA’ was playing before every film I saw, and as I said, this created a mild interest in the film for me.
I didn’t quite know what to make of this big eyed cyborg girl for a visual standpoint, but the story looked interesting.
Then, over the last couple days, I saw that there was a giant Twitter debacle going on with one of the movie critics that I sometimes follow, John Campea.
Campea had deleted his Twitter account, many were asking why, and in seeking answers myself, I happened across a Youtube video from ‘Odin’s Movie Blog’ that outlined some big exchange between Campea and fans over ‘ABA’.
The Rotten Tomatoes score for the film has it at 59% from critics, and 94% from the audience, and Campea was apparently in the critics camp.
The fans took issue with this, things got heated, and as it turned out…this incident had nothing to do with why Campea left Twitter.
The real reason was even more sad.
But I only tell you all of this to illustrate that now…my curiosity about the film was even more piqued.
In the words of the prophet Bugs Bunny, I thought…
“What’s with all the hub-bub, bub?”
How could there be such a chasmic gap between the critics and the fans?
After all, this isn’t a ‘faith based’ film that’s fundamentally terrible, but those of the faith flood the review section with praise as if it’s the Christian version of ‘The Godfather’, was it?
Get it…GOD-father? Faith based film?
Well, having now seen Alita Battle Angel, I can say to you….I thought it was a wonderful film.
Does it have it’s shortcomings? Absolutely.
There were actually a couple moments where I almost rolled my eyes.
But there were so many more where I was loving what I was seeing.
And that look of our protagonist? The big giant eyed visual that I wasn’t sure would work based on the trailers?
It works just fine.
The reason being – Alita isn’t human. She’s meant to look artificial. She’s meant to be distinguishable from the real thing.
So the design choice completely works within the world created in the film. If you’re someone that says “Alita’s lack of realism takes me out of the film.”, I think you’ve missed the point.
The fight scenes are fantastic. The Geppetto/Pinocchio relationship between Dyson Ido (played by Christoph Waltz) and Alita (Rosa Salazar) works incredibly well.
And the teenage love between Alita and the human Hugo (Keenan Johnson) works just as well as it would had Salazar herself been the on-screen visual.
There’s one more thing I’d like to address before I finish up.
When ‘Wonder Woman’ was released, all of the buzz was about how young girls finally had a big screen hero to look up to; how finally, they could see themselves in the role of the hero.
I don’t disagree with that, because certainly Wonder Woman was the first to carve that path in a big way.
But if you ask me, Alita is more of a bad ass than Diana ever was on-screen.
Alita is more complex of a character, and where Diana simply had no understanding of why she wasn’t supposed to be able to do what she wanted in the man’s world, Alita is aware of what her limitations are supposed to be, and says “Fuck you!” to them.
You want a bad-ass for your young girls to feel empowered over?
Well…your Battle Angel is awaits!
I stand with the audience score.
Popcorn butter covered unity fists in the air!
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