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February 20, 2019

Alita: Battle Angle (2019) --- "An Angel Falls. A Warrior Rises. Her Legend Begins."

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
      Directed by Robert Rodriguez (Ugly Dolls) and written by James Cameron (Avatar) and Laeta Kalogridis (Alexander, Terminator Genisys), Alita: Battle Angle (2019) is an entertaining and action-packed futuristic film. The film is set around the year 2500 after a catastrophic war left the planet devastated, the rich live in a floating city, Zalem, while everyone else lives on the ground known as Iron City. Alita (Rosa Salazar) is an abandoned cyborg found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Dr. Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate cyborg-doctor who decides to save her. When Alita awakens, she has no memory of who she is, where she’s from or even the world she finds herself in. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido seeks to shield from any who wish to harm her. Despite Ido’s attempts at sheltering her, Alita goes on a journey of self-discovery to not only uncover her past but she also discovers that she has the potential to be greater than she already. Who is she? Why was she discarded in a scrapyard? And will she be able to save those whom she loves?
     Anime, Manga, and Graphic Novels are the foundation of animation by inspiring unique stories that continue to ingrain themselves and entertain with each new generation. Spanning a variety of genres, crossing multiple volumes, issues, and episodes, and telling a variety of complex and intricate stories for anyone. Sometimes it takes decades to tell the story right, so trying to cram it all into a limited time film can be a challenge to get right. However, if the Marvel Cinematic Universe is anything to go by, then it proves that when paired with the right filmmakers sometimes Hollywood manages to get things right. Based on the graphic novel by Yukito Kishiro and thanks to the creative combination of Rodriguez and Cameron, Alita: Battle Angel is a technically stunning and cinematically immersive film that makes it a visual masterpiece. Due to being a cyberpunk action film, Alita is one of the better anime/manga/graphic novel that has been adapted to film and it is sure to entertain and delight audience members.
     The story combines science fiction with martial arts in a dystopian future, which results in a heartwarming and tantalizing adventure about self-discovery and self-fulfillment. There are themes of female empowerment, personal growth, sacrifice, and loss, not to mention it is packed with enough emotion to inspire and get the story across. The music score by Junkie XL was great but that’s not surprising since he also did the score Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and Batman V Superman (2016). The fight scenes were well choreographed but avoid overdoing with extended and repetitive fighting sequences. At times the action is a bit violent for a PG-13 but it does not overdo it. In fact, sometimes I wish that there was more to offer, while other times it makes me excited to see how they will improve a second installment, should there be one.
     A successful film relies heavily on a good story but at its heart, it also relies heavily on good acting and fortunately Alita: Battle Angel (2019) does just that. Rosa Salazar (MR: Scorch Trials & Death Cure) is incredible as Alita. She utilizes an amazing level of control over her emotions and in turn delivers a solid performance. Keean Johnson () delivered as Alita's love interest, Hugo, but there were times that I wished he was either better utilized or had more screen time. Christoph Waltz (Downsizing) may not have been fully utilized but he works great here as a surrogate father with a hard/dark past. Jennifer Connelly (The Rocketeer, A Beautiful Mind) is poised and proper as she effectively manages to execute limited yet solid performance. Mahershala Ali is a pretty good actor and he always manages to deliver solid performances, so it is no surprise that he does so here. It was nice to see him in a more subdued or secondary role, as he tends to steal the screen in most of the film’s he’s in. Ed Skrein (Transporter: Refueled) was unrecognizable as the bounty hunter cyborg Zalem but his performance was great.

     Overall, Alita: Battle Angel (2019) is a visual masterpiece and delivers a story that is heartwarming and adventurous. The performances were incredible and solid throughout, and the music was fittingly perfect. Thanks to the creative combination of Rodriguez and Cameron, Alita: Battle Angel is an incredibly entertaining film that will delight audiences. I highly recommend you see this in theaters, preferably in IMAX 3D.

Final Vote --- 8.5 of 10 stars

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