Set in year 2563, Dr Dyson (Christoph Waltz) searches for spare robot parts among what appears to be a futuristic waste site. While looking, he soon finds a central robotic part with life still within it. Soon Dr Dyson puts together a body for this new robot part and gives her the name Alita. Alita and the film audience soon learn more about the past and how the world became the way it is today. Alita also more quickly discovers that she has abilities and hidden memories from her past.
From the word go, Alita: Battle Angel is a visually incredible film that pushes visual effects to the extreme limits. Based on the visuals, I would assume the film’s 3D would be impressive, but I suggest movie lovers watch the movie in 4K as it’s easily one the best discs I’ve seen for 2019.
But as far as plot, I struggle to give solid praise to it. Alita alone as a character has plenty of plot points to deal with as she questions who she is, what is her past, and where did she come from. But the filmmakers decide to put so much more into the plot along with this that the film becomes cluttered with subplots. Alita is focused on playing a futuristic sport, saving others, earning money, investigating others and trying to recruit other people to rebel. I shocked that the writers and filmmakers tried to complete everything plot and detail within the films approx. 2 hours. It’s almost like this should have been a sci-fi TV series, something I feel that the audiences would have been happier with.
Alita as a character is excellent, and I felt she was able to carry the film on her own. Thankfully there are also some other good key characters and actors such as Christoph Waltz & Mahershala Ali. But some other side characters are fairly cliche and predictable, particularly Alita’s human love interest who also has secrets of his own.
Overall, I had high hopes for Alita. I wanted it to be the next big action sci-fi film, but the result is that the film has a dissatisfying plot but strong visuals. For over 2 hours, the film has lots to tell, but it feels incredibly cramped and disjointed with so many changes and frequently occurring turns. It could have been a masterpiece if it didn’t try so hard.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden