Published on July 25th, 2019 | by Admin
Alita: Battle Angel 4K UHD Review
Summary: As Alita, Rosa Salazar shows the potential to be a leading player in future roles. Hopefully this opens more opportunities for her.
From Academy Award winners James Cameron & Jon Landau, and visionary filmmaker Robert Rodriguez 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 recognise, she is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate doctor who realises that somewhere in this discarded cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past.
It’s the loneliest feeling not to know who you are.
When deadly and corrupt forces come after Alita, 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.
Alita: Battle Angel is available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, Digital & DVD
It might be the post-apocalyptic fatigue talking but is Alita: Battle Angel necessary, Mr. James Cameron? You already gave us the polarising bombardment of greenscreen thrills with Avatar ten years ago (do you feel old yet?). Do we need more CGI noise on our screens?
The latest film from director Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids; Sin City) and Cameron, who is the producer and co‑writer, suggests not. It is comparable to Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017). It is a fun visual mess and boasts enough stunning action set pieces to warrant a ticket. However, it is ultimately muddled and lacks a watertight story with depth.
Do you have any chocolate?
The plot is set several hundred years into the future where a convoluted battle has torn the fabric of society apart and left the earth as a brutal and over-populated disaster. Hovering above the broken city is Zalem, which is a haven for the rich and privileged. No further metaphors or double meanings are integrated into this two-hour misfire. Meanwhile, robot surgeon Dr. Ido (an underwhelming Christoph Waltz) searches scrapheaps for spare parts.
Amongst the metal carnage, Ido finds a cyborg partially intact. It still has a head and shoulders to call its own. Ido attaches the working head to the robotic body that he intended for his own deceased daughter (hmmm…). The operation successfully brings the robot back to life, and he names it ‘Alita’. Newcomer Rosa Salazar makes her leading role debut as the cyborg Alita, but she is hidden under the multiple layers of motion capture and special effects magic.
The term ‘uncanny valley’ is applicable to the various special effects employed in Alita. James Cameron’s creative team and Weta Digital have given the title character unsettling, oversized eyes that match the style of the manga series, Gunnm by Japanese artist Yukito Kishiro, upon which this film is based. Initially, Alita interests us as she awakens as a teen version of Frankenstein’s monster with the memory loss of Jason Bourne. The only trace of her identity, her given name, is a creepy reference to Ido’s dead child. She cannot remember who she is but knows how to handle (and end) a fight if one comes her way. As Alita explores the charming streets of her neighbourhood, she endearingly discovers the joys of chocolate and an intense version of roller derby.
On that last night of the war, there earth shook and the sky burned. And in the morning, Zalem stills stood.
While it is endlessly fun watching robo-punches and robots fighting to the death, the quality of the film deteriorates once it becomes overloaded with boring, underdeveloped characters. One example of the film’s sterile nature is the character of Hugo (Keean Johnson). He is a handsome street dude who introduces Alita to the world. However, he also shares as much charisma and screen presence as a carton of eggs. The eventual forced romance between the two characters is massive detraction in an already drawn-out story.
The inclusion of a capable kick-ass female lead is great, but Alita is never given the adversity she deserves to overcome or someone to highlight her vulnerability. Although she does have some epic showdowns with sword-wielding robotic assassins, which only leads to good things. ‘This bitch broke my nose!’, cries out a bro-tastic robot after he picks a fight with our hero. ‘Yes, I did’, Alita coolly replies. The exchange is a highpoint in the film. While her self‑discovery and the revelation of her identity are the film’s strongest elements, the story’s foundations fail to hold our interest.
Poor dialogue and acting suggests actual robots deserve writing and directing credits. For example, Alita’s archnemesis is Vector, a Matrix-looking villain whose only tasks are to appear evil and spout monologues. Mahershala Ali, an Oscar winner no less, is criminally underused in the role and deserved better scenes to perform. Similarly, the skilful Jennifer Connelly (another Oscar winner) makes no impact playing the monotone Chiren, the ex-wife of Ido (goddamn, this world is tiny). She is an opportunist trying to manoeuvre her way into the ritzy Zalem.
Don’t trust anyone. People do terrible things to each other here.
– Dr. Dyson Ido
With Alita, Rodriguez, Cameron and their creative teams have taken powerful strides in building an interesting visual world for audiences to see. They will lose themselves in the cool weaponry and the exciting death sports. However, the gimmicks fail to carry this otherwise sluggish and colourful mess over the finish line. As Alita, Salazar shows the potential to be a leading player in future roles. Hopefully this opens more opportunities for her.
Alita: Battle Angel Blu-ray™ Special Features
- Alita’s World – get a deeper look into the world of Alita: Battle Angel with these dynamic motion comics.
- The Fall – a look back at the terrible war that almost destroyed two planets and set the stage for the cyborg warrior Alita’s return 300 years later.
- Iron City – Hugo gives a guided tour of the Iron City he knows, showing off its dark corners and broken-down neighbourhoods.
- What it Means to be a Cyborg – hunter-warrior Zapan tracks his mark across Iron City while musing about what it means to be a cyborg.
- Rules of the Game – A high-octane “crash course” in Motorball, introducing the rules, game-play, and the top-ranked players and their arsenal of weapons.
- From Manga to Screen – a behind-the-scenes look into the origins of Yukito Kishiro’s beloved manga, “Gunnm,” and the long road to bring it to life on the big screen.
- Evolution of Alita – how Alita was brought to life, from the casting of Rosa Salazar, to performance capture, and final VFX by WETA Digital.
- Motorball – go inside Iron City’s favorite pastime, from the origins and evolution of the sport, to rules on how the game is played.
- James Cameron, Robert Rodriguez and Cast Q&A moderated by Jon Landau.
- Robert Rodriguez’s 10 Minute Cooking School: Chocolate – a cooking lesson on how to make delicious chocolate like that seen in the movie.
- 2005 Art Compilation (2019) – James Cameron’s original compilation of concept art for the then-titled “Battle Angel: Alita,” presented with new voiceover and music.
- Scene Deconstruction – view three different stages of production – the original live action performance capture, the animation stage, and the final WETA VFX from four different scenes
- I Don’t Even Know My Own Name
- Just an Insignificant Girl
- I’m a Warrior Aren’t I?
- Kansas Bar
Bring home the Battle on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital
For more information on Alita: Battle Angel, please visit http://bit.ly/2JsR4zO