Is Alita: Battle Angel Worth the Struggle?

The disappointing dystopia of bad android love and fighting in Alita


Aron Navarrete-Jimenez, Staff Writer

When the first trailer for Alita: Battle Angel was shown to the world, it was some pretty eye-catching stuff. From the CGI being top-notch, to its animation being so smooth that it seemed as if androids like that could actually exist to “Lullaby For A Soldier” playing ever so softly in the background during the little snippets. I had to say I got pretty excited about this movie. Most of the time when it comes to manga or anime film adaptations the process ends up messy and the project loses its true identity.

Though the team had years of content put into the series to work with (as the original publication of the manga was back 1994), a solid framework, and an idea to work with, they could have shaped it into what could’ve been one of the best manga adaptations ever but didn’t. Even at the start, just from the trailer and seeing the 16 years it took for this movie to finally be announced, I was interested. The film has now been out for two weeks, and after viewing it on opening night with high expectations, I have to say I was severely disappointed walking out of that movie theater.

To start out with, Alita: Battle Angel did have unique CGI, it looked gorgeous on the big screen, but it also isn’t used very often. The only time it was used was when characters like Alita or Grewishka were on screen or a few scenery scenes. The setting was amazing though, it felt just like an actual dystopian of our world, providing oddly familiar-looking slums of South America with a twist of futuristic scenery within.

The story on the other hand… is awful and out of pace. It struggled by trying to contain too much content in just two hours. Parts ended up being too rushed or not fast enough. It just because the story to be uninteresting and a mess with alien or motorball stuff shoved in that did nothing for the movie. It just felt like a hard-to-swallow pill.

Speaking of awful, the acting from the main characters weren’t the best either, with it being obvious how forced everything was, including the relationships established throughout the movie. All this only made it even harder to watch. The only real acting that I liked was from the side characters like Amok or (my favorites of the movie) the dog trainer and hunter-warrior with his little mutt that both absolutely nailed it during the movie.

One of the more exciting aspects of the movie I was looking forward to was the music score of the whole thing. Of course, I was expecting more than just mopey old songs. I was expecting not only that but some funky or cybertronic toons that would just make the whole thing feel better to watch. But alas, the whole soundtrack just felt bland to the point to where I cannot remember a single track from it.

The cinematography and background were alright, to say the least, nothing too good nor too bad. The scenery was gorgeous to look at, as I discussed before, giving a sort of real-life 3rd world vibe to it all as most of it were actual sets. Only to be sabotaged by a mediocre performance by the cinematography team who just didn’t put much effort into it, just thinking the CGI would just fix it right up.

The worst thing about this movie was the sole identity of it, just a scrambled mess of manga mixed in with American culture. The movie just couldn’t decide on whether it wanted to be a heartwarming film filled with chaos that shows where the world could be going, or just an action flick movie of robots fighting it out to the death. Honestly, from what we were given, the movie could’ve just stuck to being an action flick instead. Just giving slight bits and pieces of story/narrative sprinkled over just like how the latest entry in Mission: Impossible did which pleased many. The manga is already there to be the driving narrative for the series which leaves the film to fill the role of producing a sincere adaptation that provides convincing action that drawings on a paper can’t do too well. Instead, we’re given a blend of the two identities that just makes everything even harder to consume.