Alita: Battle Angel is a 2019 cyberpunk action film. It is an adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s Japanese manga series named Gunnm, also known as Battle Angel Alita.
Hollywood, after numerous failed attempts at adapting a Manga series (yes, I’m giving a death stare to Death Note and Ghost in the Shell), disappoints us yet again by ruining another phenomenal piece. The movie has released internationally and is facing mixed reviews from critics. Considering the movie’s 20-year gestation period, along with immense talent involved, it has ultimately failed the expectations. Whilst there are certain things to savour, like the mind-blowing visual effects, covering the detailed design of the Iron City and the cyborgs, impressive 3D effects and a remarkable performance by Rosa Salazar, it falls short in standing out as a cyberpunk movie, making it extremely generic and familiar. The predictability in the course of the storyline is horribly obvious.
The film is vividly unsure of what it should be, how much it should be and to what lengths it should go towards revealing the sequel.
Cameron’s strength has always been with ideas and execution rather than clever wordplay. His work in writing the script for this movie has been evidently underwhelming as it consists lazy exposition robotically narrated by the cast. The usage of simplistic dialogues feel very basic and rough. Expectedly, a film of a relative large scale has attracted an immensely talented cast, but the amount of screen time allotted for such talent is laughable. The most blatant example being Mahershala Ali, who has been given vaguely half a dozen dialogues as an avoidable antagonist, Vector. Dr. Chiren, played by Jennifer Connelly, is an intriguing character who is never really fleshed out well enough to entice the audience. Only Rosa Salazar’s character has been given justice, but even the mighty Alita falls short of woefully written dialogues.
The main problem the movie faces is the badly done pacing. The film would’ve benefited a lot more if it were a little longer, enough for the scenes to live out more in the minds of the viewers. Frustratingly, the first act of the movie is so rushed that it does not allow a proper introduction of not only Alita, but other principal characters as well, let alone the concept. The middle-act is a complete mess of multiple topics, where the movie disturbingly loses whatever momentum it had. Conjointly, an unsurprising problem with the movie was its direction, as it was done by a highly inconsistent director, Robert Rodriguez. What does not fit into place is that even an excellent filmmaker like James Cameron, could not save the end result.
What we absolutely do not expect from an action-packed cyberpunk movie is corny romance.The off-putting cliched one-dimensional romance shared by the awkwardness between Alita and her animus, Hugo is plain and absolutely unneeded, not to mention the disgustingly cheesy usage of rainfall inaugurating a romantic sequence. When the dazzling and glossy visual effects wear off (trust me they do), we realise just how boring the movie actually is with its plain, unenthusiastic, unentertaining forward proceedings. Notably, the visual effects are the most inconsistent when Alita delivers the dialogues, as her moment does not match with the dubbing. It has a high tendency of making the audience’s attention waver. Whilst, the sport used in the script, Motorball seems very exciting and engaging, the concept has such less attention given to it, it made the sequences boring and generic.
Lastly, no spoilers of course, but Alita’s ending is hilariously lame. The bait for the sequel failed to intrigue the audiences in keeping up the excitement. It’s ending was so generic and predictable, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the audience instead burst out laughing. If one has an awful lot of time to lose doing nothing, Alita is an ideal choice of generic, corny entertainment but if not, spending on this film is futile.