Review: ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ is big eyes and big effects

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Alita is just like a typical teenage girl. She loves chocolate, breaks curfew and crushes on a bad boy with floppy hair, a leather jacket and a motorcycle. But Alita isn’t typical in other ways. For one, she can slice apart a single falling tear with her ferocious battle sword.

Those are the two sides brought up by “Alita: Battle Angel ,” our film entry into the thrilling manga world of artist Yukito Kishiro and imagined for the screen by producer James Cameron and director Robert Rodriguez. The film crams in so many plot lines that it risks being overstuffed but somehow stays true to its mesmerizing vision and emerges as a sci-fi success, if not a triumph.

Alita is both machine and human and the big-budget screen adaptation is both live action and computer generated, each element present in Alita herself, played with equal parts tenderness and ferocity by Rosa Salazar. She’s been given huge CG eyes but they’re not as distracting as you may fear. Somehow, Salazar still conveys deep emotion without a crucial acting tool. The film also has appearances by Jennifer Connelly, who is chilly and mysterious, and Mahershala Ali, who is chilly and dangerous.

The film begins with Alita’s torso found in a junk heap by a compassionate cyber-physician played by Christoph Waltz. The year is 2563 and we are in the crowded, chaotic streets of Iron City, a melting pot of survivors from a post-apocalyptic war. Cyborgs are everywhere and getting fresh parts seems to fuel the economy. (Curiously, plastic umbrellas are still in use. Cities can float in the sky here, but the population still relies on cheap plastic umbrellas.)

Alita’s human core is given a body and she awakens but has no memory of what came before. She must find out who she is and what her destiny is. “Whose rules do I live by?” she asks. Meanwhile, she falls for a human cyborg jacker (bland but hunky Keean Johnson) who has some moral issues to work out since he’s romancing a cyborg by day and slicing them apart at night.

There are several subplots involving cyberpunk bounty hunters, a ruling elite that lives in the sky and the town’s favorite sport — Motorball, a combination meth-fueled roller derby and Death Race. The film is rated PG-13 but there’s quite a bit of cyber-gore here, including gouging out eyeballs (more than once) and slicing metal folk in …read more

Source:: Wtop – Entertainment

      

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