Alita: Endurance Test

"Alita: Battle Angel" lacks in both story and spectacle in this lackluster adaptation of the semi-popular graphic novel.

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Alita: Endurance Test

REVIEW BY: Gabriel Lyden, Staff Writer

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“Alita: Battle Angel” tells the story of a robot dug up in a garbage heap that discovers a strange and hostile new world in the form of Iron City, or at least that’s the story it attempts to tell. 20th Century Fox saw fit to give this film a 200-million-dollar budget to Robert Rodriguez, or as you may know him, the director of The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D.” 

To be quite honest, I wasn’t heavily invested in the source material, seeing as I didn’t know there was source material until after the regrettable trip to the theaters. It was only during the actual viewing of the film that I started to suspect that it existed as anything other than a movie. That’s the problem with trying to fit a story that spans multiple novels into two hours and two minutes; it doesn’t work.  What it does, however, is create a movie that is mostly incoherent and, at its best, unsatisfying. Why follow story structure when you can follow 3? 

I’m still not sure who this movie was meant for. If it was for fans of the original, then judging by the lukewarm response on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic alike, I’d say it didn’t succeed in that regard. Instead Alita: Battle Angel takes heavily from a lot of generic movies, pretending to be a Cyberpunk movie along the likes of “Blade Runner” without really understanding what made it and a handful of others so special. 

“Hate” is a strong word, so I suppose it would be more appropriate to say I disagree with the way this world was handled. Rodriguez confuses dark subject matter for depth, ‘creating’ an entirely unoriginal and lazy setting that won’t be remembered in a couple days, let alone a year. Tone shifts also lend to the absurd lack of cohesion going from lighthearted to dark in a matter of seconds throughout the entire movie, eventually settling on dull. 

I want to take a moment of your time and out of this review to talk about the endlessly praised special effects.

Not good.

Alita (the battle angel) has really big eyes, and I am not entirely sure why, but you will all have to get past how weird it looks, except you won’t. Normally in an animated film, it wouldn’t be in issue, but the problem is, this film sports about as many live-action characters as it does artificial ones which break the illusion whenever present. This juxtaposition between the on-screen characters makes for uncanny viewing in the lulls between actions scenes that are admittedly spectacular, but uninspired. 

Usually, this is the part where I end on a positive note…but I wont. Good special effects are pretty much the norm in 2019 and having a budget and using it is not praiseworthy in and of itself.  

Maybe I come ofto many readers as too spiteful, but believe me when I say that I really wanted this movie to work, and it could have, but instead bad ideas hold it back from being the next big modern sci-fi story.

It’s a shame that this story didn’t get the treatment it deserved.  

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