Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
Alita: Battle Angel brought the story of Alita to mainstream global audiences being based on a manga from the 90's which most people knew from a short anime OVA which never really broke out even in the anime community. Still though in the months leading up to the film it started growing a fanbase who saw and mostly loved the film giving it an impressive 94% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Unfortunately even as a fan of anime who has been very generous to some American Live Action anime adaptations such as 2017's Ghost in the Shell this movie didn't quite click for me, especially when it came to the plot.
This movie has an interesting world and set up, but I was so disappointed in where it went. Instead of building a plot and character arc that felt really unique it fell flat. The first half is plagued with a bad mystery plot and the second half is plagued with a bad romantic plot, neither of which was able to engage me or feel deserved which ruined the big emotional moments that were supposed to connect from each. This film has a lot of trouble getting from one plot point to another and often get lost in long tangents that suck the life from the movie. This is not even getting into the fact that it is an incomplete story at that, this film is the setup for the real conclusion which we will only see if a sequel is ever even made. Though even then at the end of this film they do things to the plot that makes me feel uninterested in where we are going. It also feels like we have less than a whole movie's worth of plot left which leads me to predict that a sequel will be forced to be filled with filler leading to an even more boring film than the first.
The visual effects are also a mixed bag, where any screenshot of this film will look great and I really love this world and character designs it fails to connect with the real-life elements bringing it to life such as the voice acting. I have to applaud Rosa Salazar for her performance of Alita because I think she is really great, no matter what emotional impact a scene is going for she is able to deliver and if the other elements of this movie were able to connect I would even say this would be an iconic performance that would leave a lasting impact. But sadly the voice never quite looks like it is coming out of the character Alita and really became distracting at how fake it felt at times, again at no fault of the actor. The one part of this film that really worked for me was the action, being PG-13 I expected nothing from this side of the film but at times it was even more brutal than most R rated films. It pushes the envelope and is able to get away with so much more due to the characters having robotic parts on their insides rather than blood and flesh. The actual psychological side to some of the action is also surprisingly dark at times and there are some really gruesome deaths that damn near make this film worth sitting through.
Alita: Battle Angel is far from terrible and there are some legitimate great parts to this movie, but overall the plot holds this back from being considered to be anything too special. If you want to go have fun with some really solid action and don't care too much about having a strong narrative then I would recommend a trip to the theater, but if you are looking for more I think you are fine skipping this one.