FilmReview

REVIEW : ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ While Muddled at Times is Still Visually Amazing & Cinematic Fun

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6.5
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ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL

Latin Horror’s Jennifer Ortega recently attended an advance screening for ‘Alita:Battle Angel’

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL  now playing nationwide.  Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

Based on a popular manga by Yukito Kishiro, directed by Robert Rodriguez, co-written by James Cameron and produced by Jon Landau, whether I liked it or not, I knew at the very least ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ was going to be exhilarating and visually spectacular. There are some flaws in ‘Alita’, but this cyberpunk sci-fi flick is definitely entertaining, fun to watch and  a film meant to be watched in a theater.

Rosa Salazar (Alita) and Keean Johnson (Hugo) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

‘Alita: Battle Angel’ takes place in 2563, 300 years after a war destroys most of the humankind. Among the post-apocalyptic survivors, there are the rich and powerful that live in the unreachable utopian sky-city of Zalem and all the rest of the folk that live in the grimy over-crowded streets of Iron City. Dr. Ido (Christoph Waltz), while salvaging scrap machine parts in a junkyard, finds part of a living cyborg. He takes her home, builds her a body and names her Alita after his deceased daughter. Alita has no memory before Dr. Ido put her together and wants to not only find out who she is, but also her destiny.  Alita soon finds out that she has long forgotten lethal fighting programs built into her. She falls for street smart Hugo (Keean Johnson) who loves Motorball and dreams of going to Zalem. Motorball is one of the many subplots in Alita. It is a feverishly popular, über-competitive, deadly sport. Motorball is kind of like a futuristic version of the chariots at the Roman Colosseum. The prize of winning Motorball is a ticket to Zalem. It is a game Alita soon finds she excels at. Of course there is a host of villains Alita encounters including, Vector (Mahershala Ali), Zapan (Ed Skrein) and Grewishka (Jackie Earle Haley). 

James Cameron & Robert Rodriguez on set.  Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

My biggest problem with ‘Alita’ is that there are too many subplots. There is just too much narrative packed into one movie. That aside, the visuals are a treat, the fight scenes are exciting and a joy to watch. The world building aspect of the film is superb. I love that the heroine of the film is an emotional yet fearless teenaged cyborg, a killing machine with a moral code. I was even more thrilled to see Latina actress Rosa Salazar play Alita. At it’s heart ‘Alita’ does present a kick ass heroine which is always welcomed. ‘Alita’ is a film to be best enjoyed in the theater, for the visuals alone. 

Rosa Salazar stars as Alita in Twentieth Century Fox’s ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

ABOUT ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL

From visionary filmmakers James Cameron (AVATAR) and Robert Rodriguez (SIN CITY), comes ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, an epic adventure of hope and empowerment. When Alita (Rosa Salazar) awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate doctor who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious history while her street-smart new friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers instead to help trigger her memories. But it is only when the deadly and corrupt forces that run the city come after Alita that she discovers a clue to her past – she has unique fighting abilities that those in power will stop at nothing to control. If she can stay out of their grasp, she could be the key to saving her friends, her family and the world she’s grown to love.

Rating: 
PG-13 (for sci-fi violence and action and for some language)
Starring: 
Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Skrein, Mahershala Ali, Jackie Earle Haley & Keean Johnson
Directed By:
RobertRodriguez
Written By:
James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis, Robert Rodriguez
In Theaters:
 Wide

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Jennifer E. Ortega
Jennifer is a host, producer, screenwriter and journalist based in Los Angeles. She is known for her humor, pop culture knowledge, candor and authenticity that make her on-camera interviews stand out. As an entertainment journalist, Jennifer has published film & television reviews, exclusive interviews and event coverage for various online publications. As a screenwriter, Jennifer has written pilots, screenplays and has acted as a story consultant. She originally got her start working for an esteemed producer in New York and went on to work in television production for various reality shows. Jennifer is a true Valley Girl, born and raised in Encino and will be happy to talk about the wonders of the Valley for hours on end. She also really loves Twin Peaks & Matzah Ball soup.

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