Title: ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Directors: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, and Keean Johnson
Runtime: 2 hours 2 minutes
Release date: February 14th, 2019 (USA)
What It Is: The long in production adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga GUNNM about a cyborg (Alita, played by Salazar via motion capture) who is rebooted with no memory of her past. As she begins to remember who she was and what skills she has, she faces off with other cyborgs / machines who are out to kill her, while at the same time beginning a relationship with Hugo (Johnson).
What We Think: Visually the movie was stunning (with James Cameron having written the screenplay as well as produced, is expected). For the most part I enjoyed the movie, but at times the movie seemed to drag on. At just over 2 hours the movie dragged at times, and I would have liked to seen more of the Alita’s backstory, and less of the romance aspect of the story between Hugo and Alita. The romance scenes felt a bit weird to me due to how old Hugo was compared to the body that Alita was in belonged to a teenage girl.
Salazar did a great job via her motion capture portrayal of the title character, bringing emotion to the her role. The supporting cast all did a great job, and I especially enjoyed the jobs that both Waltz (who portrayed Dr. Dyson Ido, Alita’s caretaker / creator) and Ali (as Vector, who is heavily involved in the Motorball storyline in the movie). The rest of the supporting cast including Connelly (as Dr. Chiren, Ido’s ex), Skrein and Haley (as Zapan and Grewishka respectively, cyborgs who are after Alita) all did great jobs.
Our Grade: 3.5/5. As I said I overall enjoyed the movie, but at times it did generate a few yawns from me, and could have used more backstory and less romance. Having not read the original manga, I’m not sure if the source material was the same way, or if Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis did that to do their own spin on the story.