June 01 2020
‘Alita: Battle Angel’ review: Death makes angels of us all
09 February 2019

An amazing thrill ride through eye-popping visuals

She begins life as a cyborg head with a fully functional human brain cast off in a garbage pile. A scientist, Dr. Dyson Ido, puts her back together again and names her Alita after his daughter who is no more. Since Alita has no memory of her past, it is left to Ido to teach her to peel oranges before eating them among other things. On the other hand, it is left to a hunky teenager, Hugo, to introduce her to chocolate, hot wheels and motorball, an adrenalin-charged televised game to death. Little by little Alita discovers her past and also her future, which is all about getting the bad guy in a series of awe-inspiring set pieces.

It is no surprise if cybernetics and hunter warriors remind you of hunter-killers, Cyberdyne and Skynet. James Cameron, who made the Terminator movies has been attached to Alita for the longest time. Yukito Kishiro's 1990 manga series Gunnm, was bought to Cameron’s notice by the visionary director Guillermo Del Toro. The movie was delayed as Cameron was busy with Avatarand its sequels. Robert Rodriguez took over as director and has done a great job of packing Cameron’s 186-page screenplay and 600 pages of notes into a 122-minute film.

Alita: Battle Angel
  • Director: Robert Rodriguez
  • Cast: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Keean Johnson
  • Story line: A discarded cyborg meets her destiny

The special effects are jaw-dropping. Alita, played by Rosa Salazar is completely CGI and oh those eyes! She plays with a dog (aww), she offers her heart (literally) and when her eyes brim with tears that she can cut in two with her cool sword, you know you have a heroine to root for. While there is nothing in the plot we haven’t seen before in a 100 different post-apocalyptic cyber punk movies, hats off for the scintillating execution. The races and action are imaginatively choreographed; the CGI is so good that we are invested in it all.

Christoph Waltz plays Ido with twinkly-eyes; almost expected him to ramble on for 10 minutes before dispatching some unfortunate to a gruesome end till you realise this is neither a Tarantino film or a James Bond one. Jennifer Connelly plays Chiren, another iteration of the cold scientist lady in clothes as white as her heart is black.

Edward Norton is main bad guy and he doesn’t have a speaking role—a set up for the sequels no doubt. The fascination for garbage in the future continues with Iron City being this massive dumping ground for the sky city of Zalem (sounds like to Zalim and seems to be a wicked place as well). We could spend the time waiting for Alita's future adventures by dipping into Kishiro’s spell-binding world.



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