Waking up in a new city, with no memory and wide eyes, Alita has arrived.
“Sharkboy and Lavagirl” and “Spy Kids” director Robert Rodriguez brings us a new fantasy/science fiction film that tells the story of a courageous young cyborg named Alita, played by Rosa Salazar, and how she navigates her memory loss to find herself again.
Written by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis, Alita happens to be the only character in the film who is fully a computer animation, but she still manages to kick a lot of butt.
Set in the year 2563, the deserted Alita is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Dr. Dyson Ido, played by Christoph Waltz, a local cyber-physician by day and hunter-warrior by night, who takes the unconscious Alita back to his clinic.
When Alita awakens, she has no memory of her past life, nor what planet she’s on. As she learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido attempts to shield her from her cryptic past.
The Scrapyard is a large metropolis located beneath Zalem, whose only function is to gather and process resources for the use of Zalem. Zalem, the great aerial city that is suspended over Iron City via the orbital ring, is the superior municipality. Even though this is true, the two cannot effectively exist without the other, as Zalem contributes to Iron City’s economy in return for resources.
While walking the streets of her new home, Alita wanders through town and is saved by Hugo, played by Keean Johnson, a troubled but compassionate boy who collects scraps for Ido, but works for Vector, one of multiple villains, in secrecy. Throughout the film, their friendship develops into something more, and the two eventually fall in love.
Since losing her memory, Alita believes she is a normal cyborg girl, until one night when she notices Ido periodically leaving in the middle of the night. She follows him and discovers Ido is a hunter-warrior who collects bounties on Iron City’s most wanted.
In finding this out, Alita spoils the element of surprise for Ido and winds up getting them both into trouble. Discovering they were ambushed, Alita fights two criminals but in the process has random flashbacks from her past life. Combined with realizing she’s a natural artist and the fact that she has visions, Alita comes to the conclusion that becoming a hunter-warrior herself is the only key to finding out who she once was.
Unfortunately, every hero has enemies, which is where Vector, played by Mahershala Ali, and Nova, played by Edward Norton, come in.
Vector, the top broker in the scrapyard illegal parts business, supplies Zalem with body parts and organs, while also using them in his lab to build lethal bounty hunters at his disposal. Vector’s mind is being inhabited by Nova, who the audience is not given much information on until the very end of the movie. His right man — or woman, to be exact — is Chiren, played by Jennifer Connelly, an intelligent cyber doctor who also happens to be Ido’s ex-wife.
Despite its impressive adaption of the 90s anime, “Alita: Battle Angel” didn’t do as well as it had hoped in the box office. Although, the film turned out to be the leader in the “worst President’s Day weekend in 15 years,” according to IMDb, and delivered $27.8 million over the three-day weekend. Opening up alongside “Alita: Battle Angel,” the weekend also featured low turnouts for “Happy Death Day 2U,” “Isn’t It Romantic,” “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” and Paramount’s “What Men Want.”
Overall it was a good film. However, there were some flaws. To start off, the way in which the information was presented felt rushed. Cameron and Kalogridis tried to cram in as much information as possible to set the movie up for a sequel, which seemed lazy.
An organized story where we are introduced to Alita and her background and then the central conflict would have made for a better film overall. Instead of there being one clear and central conflict, there were multiple conflicts in the movie which made it messy and unorganized.
The writers were so eager to develop the franchise that they did not put everything they had into making sure this film was a success.