REVIEW: Alita - Battle Angel
Alita: Battle Angel is the cyberpunk anime nonsense I needed in my life but would have never thought to ask for.
Wanna do a plot description? Let’s do a plot description.
Set in a future where highly advanced human/tech hybrids are an everyday aspect of life, Christoph Waltz plays a doctor/mechanic who finds/saves a deactivated cyborg woman (played by Rosa Salazar). It’s Alita. Yeah. The one from the title. Only thing is, she can’t remember anything about herself or the world around her, Ruh-roe Raggy! The next two hours is chock-a-block full of worldbuilding, romance, and Alita learning how she fits into this unfamiliar place. There’s a class system that keeps citizens subservient, vigilante-esqu justice goes down around every corner, and a sport called Motorball dominates a surprising amount of runtime.
Story-wise, this one’s a hard one for me to rate. If you’re trying to find something with well written dialogue or a comprehensively paced plot… steer clear. Alita is much more concerned with broad strokes of theming to be bothered with the finer details of script writing. That being said, the themes it aims to tackle end up being approached with nuance (innocence vs corruption, appearances vs reality, emotion vs logic) and the characters are created with enough depth to make for something engaging beyond pure spectacle.
The visuals are such a trip y’all. Digital elements blend beautifully into those that are real, the art direction places you in the heart of the world, and the choreography was, to be blunt, insane in the membrane.
I have never seen robot destruction done so well. It’s visceral but shot clearly enough to appreciate each movement. You can tell everything is just on the corner of human, as the narrative requires, and it makes the imaginative battle sequences feel all the more integral. If Avatar 2 is gonna look like this sign me up.
I’m a little shocked at the PG-13 rating considering just how eviscerated some of the half humans get, but hey, if you want to bring your bloodthirsty little cousin along for the ride be my guest. Just turn off your brain and saddle in for a ride. Alita is definitely worth the price of admission.