Review: Alita: Battle Angel (Spoiler-free)

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Main Cast:  Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jakey Earle Haley, Keean Johnson
Genre: Action, Romance, Science-Fiction
Movie Run Time: 2hrs 2 min

Review Read: ~ 5 mins

I walked into the cinema with no knowledge of Alita: Battle Angel’s story (or Gunnm) – All I knew was that there was a manga about her and that the visuals look interesting enough to buy me a movie ticket. What I experienced was something quite unique. If you’re looking at a TLDR of what I’m about to review, I will just say that I liked it and it’s worth the watch – Not because of what the dystopian Sci-Fi genre would usually bring with an intellectual discussion on technology and artificial intelligence in general, but just because it was an interesting tale of how cyborgs can fall in love coupled with fun fight scenes.

It’s easy to look past the peculiar character design of Alita once you hear Salazar in it
Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Without spoiling the plot too much, Alita is a female cyborg found in a scrapyard by Christop Waltz’s Doctor Dyson Ido. What made her special is that she has a human brain; oh, and she also knows kung-fu (Also known as “Panzer Kunst” in the plot.).

The voice acting of Rosa Salazar stands out in this movie. Every line of Alita’s voice is well portrayed, given that she’s an amnesiac cyborg. Her personality is enlarged with every giggle that sounds really genuine – it’s the little chuckles and sniggers from Salazar that really makes Alita such an enthralling character. Supporting Salazar is Christop Waltz. Waltz is a great actor with much in his portfolio that would compel any movie-geek to catch him on screen; however, many may feel that his role and performance as Doctor Ido may be underplayed and under represented despite Waltz’s effort of performance as a loving father, husband, and doctor.

Salazar’s voice acting: great. Christoph’s acting: leave much to be desired

Thematically, Alita: Battle Angel explored what may be an already familiar field of discussion. But the movie makes things even interesting by turning the discussion over its head. Many of us would be familiar with the thoughts battled in dystopian science-fiction involving robots: Can robots love? Can human beings experience love with cyborgs, and vice versa? What defines a cyborg? Where are the organic and cybernetic lines drawn? Etc. Alita brings in an additional element of situational debate: Can cyborgs love cyborgs, and can they be human enough to love each other? I think we do not have enough movies to discuss this particular question, and it’s heartening to know that dystopian cyborg science fiction movies still have room to develop. Alita’s proof.

Action scenes pop out vibrantly despite the quasi-washed out colour
scheme of the environment; good CGI at work here

Flooding the whole movie are fights scenes that are stunning if you’d watch them in IMAX 3D. I watched the movie in IMAX without the 3D elements and the visuals really seem like they pop out well. Nevertheless, the more quieter scenes are most memorable that tells you a very intricate love story of a cyborg and a human being: This story gels scenes of tension, action, regret, and the central theme of the movie very well.

Alita: Battle Angel isn’t just a movie with cool fight scenes, her story is one with not just a human brain, but of a very human heart.

For more reviews on dystopian cyborg science-fiction, check back Playbomb Reviews.

Joey Leong

Joey is the founder and author of Playbombreviews.com. He is a firm believer for video game and movie journalism in Singapore. Studying in Singapore University of Social Sciences and pursuing a degree in English Language and Literature, he considers himself a renaissance man for visuals, words, and music.
  • jleongzw@gmail.com

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