You probably already heard about Alita: Battle Angel, a sleek science fiction movie directed by Robert Rodriguez. After all, this was a hugely successful blockbuster making over $400 million at the box office. However, it’s also one of the few modern cyberpunk movies and it has a huge replay value. I’ve watched it a couple of times and each time I found new things to enjoy and had a great time. On the other hand, I am a huge Rodriguez fan ever since the nineties so that might be a factor. What can I do when he makes such good movies? From Dusk Till Dawn, The Faculty, Sin City, Planet Motherfucking Terror, Where are my wife and daughter Machete, and I didn’t even mention the Mexico Trilogy!
Alita: Battle Angel follows the story of Alita, a young cyborg who lost her memory and is now trying to figure out who is she and what has happened to her. Pretty standard-issue stuff when it comes to this genre. This movie is based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga series Gunnm and has been in developmental hell for the last 16 years. What we have before us is one of those classics that we will keep coming back to over the following decades. Much like we keep coming back to eighties and nineties science fiction masterpieces. Now, this one doesn’t feature a strong story but everything else is simply stunning.
Starting with those spellbinding visuals. The quality of animation is superb and it brought to life this environment that does look a bit sleeker than I imagined. However, we have to remember that this is based on a manga, so there’s that. This brings us to Alita, played by beautiful and very talented Rosa Salazar. Do check her out in Night Owls if you want further proof. You won’t be seeing her here because Alita is a CGI asset. And a damn fine one too. Most of the other characters also have some CGI additions. Like a futuristic arm or something else that makes them look badass, in true cyberpunk fashion.
Some 300 years after the great war, humanity is doing okay. The elites are living their best lives in huge sky cities while the poor are struggling on the surface covered by junk. Here we find Dr. Dyson Ido, a man determined to help his community in any way he can. While on one of his scavenging missions he finds the torso and a head of a cyborg and decides to restore it. It turns out that Alita has a human brain that works just fine although she can’t remember anything about her past. And so, her new life begins…
The world of Alita: Battle Angel is fully fleshed out and very immersive. Plus, it’s just so fucking cool. You have these bright and vibrant streets full of people going about their day. And then a giant black robot shows up! I don’t know how they manage to secure the PG-13 rating and maybe I don’t want to know.
There’s a sense that this could be a much better movie if they made it a bit darker but that’s only because I would want to see something like it. Alita is perfect just the way it is. And I’m sure it’s going to be more appealing to younger generations with a PG-13 rating than a full R. There’s even a bit of romance just to make sure all bases are covered.
Although the running time of Alita: Battle Angel is just under two hours, the movie never gets boring. The script could have been better but the atmosphere and the visuals more than make up for that. Finally, I’m really hoping there’s going to be a sequel because I think that it would be even better than this one. So, fingers crossed and if you’re looking for something like Alita: Battle Angel check out our Rabbit Reviews selection of Cyberpunk Movies.
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writers: James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis, Yukito Kishiro
Cast: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Keean Johnson
Fun Facts: Four actresses screen tested for the title role: Zendaya, Rosa Salazar, Maika Monroe, and Bella Thorne.