Alita: Battle Angel, the new film from Robert Rodriguez and producer James Cameron, hit the theatres this month and surprisingly exceeded projections for it’s box office take. Time will tell whether or not this 170 million dollar potential franchise starter makes enough to warrant a sequel and there-in lies the problem.
Set centuries in the future a dismembered cyborg body is found, in the scrapyard of Iron City, by Dr Dyson Ido played by Christoph Waltz. Ido, using robotic body parts created for his deceased daughter, rebuilds the cyborg and names her Alita.
Alita, played superbly through motion capture by Rosa Salazar, can not remember anything from her past and with the help of Dr Ido and a street kid named Hugo, Keean Johnson, sets out to discover who she is.
The character of Alita is a marvellous CG creation getting cinema very close to the highly sort after photo realism of human animated characters.
Based on the manga Battle Angel: Alita, the film is enjoyable enough to engage an audience in a potential franchise yet the preoccupation with franchise building is perhaps it’s biggest sin. The first two thirds of the film are filled with world building and dazzling VFX only to be abruptly stopped in their tracks.
The end credits scroll leaving an incomplete taste in your mouth as the realisation sets in that the film is simply an extended trailer for the films to come.
This type of ending is both audacious and equally frustrating. A film that leaves almost all the story threads incomplete has can be done well, as we saw from last years Avengers: Infinity War, but this film seems to be unfortunately preoccupied with creating a franchise that it forgets to tell the current story.
Characters take a back seat to to some impressive set pieces and Alita: Battle Angel overall is an enjoyable romp.
Perhaps the film will be better in retrospect, should they get the green light to create more films, but unfortunately for myself the film feels all too incomplete and just another entry into the ever expanding ‘sequel bait’ vault.
2.5 out of 5 Birds from me – Jason
Listen to the full spoiler podcast review (link below) where both Dean and Paul completely disagree with my rating of this film.
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