Alita: Battle Angel Review

Those eyes! Those terrfying yellow eyes!
Sorry, before we get to the reason that I won’t be sleeping tonight (or, more likely ever again.) I feel I should set the scene.

Alita battle angel is the first mega bomb of 2019 and since it’s primary character is a 14 year old girl fighting giant robots and cyborgs with a sword that’s bigger than she is, I’m going to make an educated guess and assume that it’s based on some sort of Anime or manga that probably did a much better idea of explaining what in the name of Idris Elba was going on.
As far as I could puzzle out (and it wasn’t easy), 300 years ago there was a war between Earth and Mars which Earth barely won and now we have your bog standard all the rich live in the floating sky city and all the poor live on Earth. Then, Christoph Waltz finds a Robot in a junk pile and everything changes…
Well, sort of. If this film ended with to be continued appearing on the screen then it would be a more satisfying ending.
Oh, and yes, I did say Christoph Waltz. This film is a whos who of acting legends. You’ve also got Jennifer Connoly, mahershala ali AND Jackie Earle Haley all turning up to collect their pay check. Ed Skrien turns up to humiliate himself but that’s what happens when you try to play with adults.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron, with a 200 million dollar budget with the guys at WETA doing the CGI this film should be amazing, right? Who could be better with killer robots than Cameron who gave us both Terminator films? This films should be a licence to print money.
Except it just doesn’t work.
What little plot there is, is so generic that you’ll see it all coming, there’s so many characters that everyone may as well walk around with a giant sign above their head stating their purpose on set.
Then you have the question of why this film has a single frame of live action at all. There’s so much CGI on screen that you could have made it an animated film with so little effort. And if you were so desperate to show off your A list cast on screen instead of using them as voice actors then what’s wrong with motion capture? Seriously, sometimes this film looked worse than the CGI in AI and the rest of the time it was up and own the uncanny valley like an out of control rollar coaster.
Don’t get me wrong, this film looks amazing. Some of the visuals are works of art and every penny is on screen but you can have all the pretty visuals that you like but bad fight scenes, dull characters and so many other issues let it down. You can only hide so much with slow mo. Especially repetitive slow motion shots.

Yeah…. then fight scenes are some of the dullest I’ve seen in a while. Were never given a clear idea of what Alita is capable of, she seems to regard losing limbs as nothing more than a minor annoyance and never seems to be vulnerable in the slightest. Now, I can take one easy fight to show how much of a badass she is, but if you keep having fights where the hero is never in danger of so much as a split end then why should I be invested?

Also, the editing for this film is absolutely shocking. I’m not talking about the kind of editing that can turn an 18 rated film into a hard 12a  (although there’s plenty of that) but the kind of editing where it seems that whole scenes have gone missing. Somewhere out there is a 3 hour 18 rated version of this film which would be slightly better. It wouldn’t fix many of the issues with this film but at least it would feel whole, un-neutered and at least a film doing what it want’s to do with a director who’s being allowed to make the film he wants to make.

Who gets Robert Rodriguez to make a 12a movie? That’s not his skill set. I think Spielberg would have been a much better choice or someone else capable of directing this kind of epic. Hell, Cameron would have been better! At least he has experience of films of this size and scope.

But that’s another issue. The biggest issue with this film. Not just the fact that the whole film should have been full CGI which would have meant a lower budget and more freedom for the director, as  well as allowing for a more consistent tone.- Once scene that I think was supposed to be be an turning point for our heroine instead provked hysterical laughter in m y screening. But, that’s not the big issue. The big issue is that someone, somewhere, probably full of  ‘inspiration powder’ decided to give Alita the absolutely massive eyes that you normally see in an anime, whilst giving everyone else and I do mean EVERYONE else has normal eyes. Why? You tell me. It’s distracting and scary, looking fake whilst adding nothing to the film. If it gave her terminator vision then I could understand, but it doesn’t seem to have any purpose other than to look like it did in the source material. It means that Alita, even though the film is live-action, is done with CG animation!

The films really gory as well. Parents thinking that this is a similar level of violence to say a marvel film, please be aware that this film has an insane amount of violence which may scare younger viewers. I swear with maybe 12 seconds added, the rating for this film would go to 18, which is where it belongs.

Alita: Battle Angel is a poorly plotted, badly edited mess which should have been a gritty, gory 18 rated CGI film instead of a 12a blockbuster. Give the main character some normal eyes or make it clear that these give her some sort of an edge in the bland, badly done combat combat get rid of some characters and give those remaining something to chew on.

As is, the only thing this film leaves in the mind is will it be as big or a bigger bomb than X Men: Contractual Obligations?

My Score- Skip It


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