I have never read the Alita manga or seen any of the Alita anime movies before watching this 2019 film. This review is from the point of view of an outsider with no significant knowledge of the source material. I wanted to state this fact before critiquing this film.
Alita Battle Angel is a fascinating yet flawed movie.
Alita is a cyborg that is found and repaired by Doctor Ido. The movie is set in the post apocalyptic future where cyborgs, are a normal aspect of society. Alita doesn’t have her memories and over the course of the movie you explore her backstory. is is a self-contained story of self-discovery. The narrative is compelling and interesting but it gets bogged down with too many ideas and too many characters to juggle. I was a little bit lost in some aspects of the third act. Many aspects of the story are underdeveloped and confusing. I liked the story but I felt like it was lacking in a satisfactory conclusion. The story left me wanting more. This desire of wanting more is both a positive and negative aspect of this movie.
The main characters of Alita and Doctor Ido are compelling, and their “father daughter” dynamic really draws you into the story. The main character of Alita preformed by Rosa Salazar. Rosa is great in this movie. Rosa is charming, charismatic and adorable as Alita. Doctor Ido is fairly mysterious complex character. Christoph Waltz portrays Doctor Ido and I really enjoyed this performance too. Sadly these two performances were the only ones that I enjoyed. The movie has a huge cast of one dimensional kinda interesting characters. We receive little to no character development or background. Poor character development is not the only issue I had with this movie. The writing is substandard and amateurish. The dialogue between characters is extremely weak. Exposition dumps are common in this movie. The acting is fairly mediocre except for the characters of Alita and the Doctor. The character of Hugo is especially terrible in this movie. Did they just hire some random person off the street to read lines!? Keean Johnson the actor who portrays the character of hugo should be ashamed of this performance . The writers who wrote hugo’s lines should also be banned from writing dialogue again. The poor writing and bad acting are the one two punch that really knock out this movie from being truly great.
The action scenes and special effects are the real highlight for this movie. The action is well choreographed, fun and exciting. The special effects look amazing in this movie. One concern I had before watching this movie was with the larger eyes for the character of Alita. I found the larger eyes distracting in the trailers for this movie. I quickly got used to it the bigger eyes for Alita. When actually watching the movie it didn’t bother me. I really haven’t seen action scenes this fun in a long time. I never second guessed the incredible visuals on screen . The world this movie creates looks lived in and real. A few action scenes wowed me. The movie is violent and dismemberment is common but it never becomes too gory or excessive. The art style presented in this movie is stunningly beautiful with many upon many great shots. Sadly the quick editing ruins some of the awesome action scenes. The action and special effects are almost enough to save this movie from mediocrity.
Alita Battle Angel is a movie that I wanted to love. I enjoyed the world building and story but it has too many flaws to forgive. The movie should have been simplified with less characters and a smaller scale story. Awesome action can’t override bad acting and pitiful writing.
Final Verdict: 6/10