Chad Reviews "Alita: Battle Angel"
Imagine that you are ultra-visionary director/producer/creator of worlds James Cameron: you’re still riding high off the titanic success of… well, “Titanic,” and you’re prepping for your next huge project. You envision a world populated with amazing characters realized in groundbreaking CGI, using cutting edge motion capture technology and film it with state-of-the-art 3D cameras so it can be displayed in the most eye-popping way imaginable which is NOT “Avatar”. Before Cameron settled on creating the lush digital oasis of Pandora, he was envisioning the dark and gritty world of Iron City from the hugely popular manga series “Gunnm,” more commonly known as “Battle Angel Alita,” which he put on hold in favor of the aforementioned “Avatar” and changed from director to producer, handing the reins over to Austin auteur filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. After all of that, the long languishing-in-development-Hell project is finally descending upon us under the slightly reworked title “Alita: Battle Angel”.
It is the distant future, and Earth has been left in ruins by a cataclysmic war referred to as “The Fall”. A kindly but brilliant scientist, Dr Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) pulls the shattered remains of a cybernetic female with her brain still functioning out of a scrap yard, and after rebuilding her, he names her (Rosa Salazar) after his long-deceased daughter Alita. During a journey of self-discovery in search of her own identity or any evidence of who she is or where she came from, Alita becomes amazingly graceful and adept at combat skills, which she soon puts to good use both as a Hunter-Warrior and Motor Ball player. This not only makes her incredibly popular but also draws a huge target on her back as she quickly realizes that she is much more than she initially imagined and may be the key to a revolution that could change the course of the civilized world that could either lead to its salvation or its utter destruction.
Going into this film, I kept my expectations relatively low, as most projects that languish as long as this one did in developmental Hell tend to be relatively disappointing. Along with the fact that director Robert Rodriguez has never worked on a film with such a massive budget and epic of scale, I was surprisingly engaged throughout the entire film, wowed by the scope of the world that the filmmakers have created and fascinated by the characters that populated it. I do wonder how much more grandiose it might have been had Cameron sat in the director’s chair, but Rodriguez seems perfectly comfortable playing in the massive sandbox he’s been given to play in. I look forward to further adventures in Iron City and hope that Alita is around for many years to come.