Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

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Re: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Postby Henry88 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:33 pm

'Alita: Battle Angel' First Reactions Surface Online
https://comicbook.com/anime/2019/01/10/ ... ons-anime/
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Re: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Postby Dai » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:26 pm

I can now exhale a sigh of relief I've been holding in for 20 years, because this movie was really good. My main concern going in turned out not to be a problem: I didn't think it was possible to cover all of the manga's first three arcs in a 2-hour movie. Turns out, it doesn't try to. This is primarily an adaptation of the hunter-warrior and Hugo arcs; some motorball is thrown in for flavour and to provide one of the movie's best action scenes, but it doesn't try to cover that whole part of the story.

The most obvious change from the manga is that all of the overt philosophy has been removed. The other major change is tonal. While this is still a brutal story at times, character motivations are made more relatable, and some of the hard edges are sanded down. For example:

Spoiler Below:
In the manga, Hugo remained unrepentent about stealing people's body parts to pay his way to Zalem, but in the movie he has a change of heart late in the story. As for the surrogate father/daughter relationship between Alita and Ido, that's been smoothed out a lot. Ido now has a more understandable reason to be protective, whereas in the manga he was revealed to be quite possessive and controlling.


The Alita manga was a world full of characters who never compromised on what they wanted, often until it destroyed them. The movie, despite Rodriguez stepping into the director's chair, has James Cameron's fingerprints all over the script. That means more sentimental, humane relationships, and a more traditional Hollywood romance arc than the messy, selfish desires presented in the manga. I won't call this a flaw, since it does give the movie a strong emotional core, but it is a very different perspective compared to the original, even though it does lead to the same end.

Those hoping this would be a completely self-contained story may be disappointed on that front. I was surprised to see Desty Nova make an appearance (and even more to see a familiar face in the role), and he's very much set up as the potential main villain for a sequel. The movie does give the viewer a clear idea of the trajectory Alita's life would take after this story though, so the ending doesn't really count as a cliffhanger.

My only real complaint is that the story's seams show in places. Particularly in the first hour, the structural editing can throw the pace off on occassion. It's nothing major, but a noticeable artefact of the many threads this story pulls together. Of course, some of that could be down to me comparing it to the structure of the manga and anime versions. A new viewer might not find fault with how the movie is constructed.

Overall, this is a highly entertaining slice of cyberpunk, where both Rodriguez and Cameron bring their personal strengths to the table. I hope it does good enough business to greenlight a sequel, but I don't know if its action is flashy or excessive enough to woo modern audiences used to larger-scale conflicts than the personal battles presented here.
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Re: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Postby Gargantuan Gargantua » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:56 pm

I see this Friday. When I bought the tickets nobody had bought seats yet so I picked what I wanted. Of course I bought a 12:30 pm showing on a Friday so... Heres hoping my dad and I are the only ones there so I can nag them to turn the surround sound up for me. =)
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Re: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Postby Dai » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:32 am

Some more thoughts, now that I've mulled over the movie.

Spoiler Below:
The Alita manga is known for being a subversion of the 'born sexy yesterday' trope. Unfortunately, the movie veers dangerously close to undoing this. In the manga, Alita falls for Hugo because of his passion for chasing his dream of reaching Zalem, ie. a trait specific to him. There's an element of this in the movie, but it also leans into Hugo teaching Alita 'the ways of the world' (and introducing her to chocolate), ie. things that any non-amnesiac could have done, and a key element of the trope. It's not a complete 180, but it's a change the movie would have been stronger without, and is the most prominent element that suggests James Cameron may have had a version of this screenplay knocking around for the last two decades.

As for the Alita/Ido side of it, that's a bit more complicated. In the manga, Alita and Ido didn't completely fall out until she ran away in the motorball arc, which the movie doesn't really cover. The movie does show them fighting over Alita's desire to use the berserker body and become a hunter-warrior though, which fills a similar narrative role. The scene where Ido reveals that he's made a set of specialised feet for her motorball tryouts does a good job of showing that he's chosen to respect her independence. This is somewhat undermined by a (very James Cameron) moment where they snuggle up together on the sofa, but whether you read this as dependence or a reconciled family is down to the viewer.


Another significant change from the manga is the nature of the threat posed by The Factory and Zalem. The movie makes the conflicts more direct and specifically motivated, whereas the world of the manga often killed people through callous indifference.

Spoiler Below:
The most obvious case of this comes at the end. In the movie, Nova intentionally sends the saw-ring that knocks Hugo off the pipe. In the manga, the saw-rings are just an automated system that pass at regular intervals, and Hugo gets treated like any other vermin caught in their path. One is a murder intended to make Alita suffer, the other is the cynical routine of a city that doesn't see ground-dwellers as human. I'm not sure how I feel about that change. It's not really better or worse, just different.
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Re: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Postby Gargantuan Gargantua » Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:58 pm

I just saw it and liked it a lot even though some stuff involving Hugo was a bit much... Never read the manga, I only saw the 60 minute anime that I had from years ago.

I can say it is probably the best Anime adaptation ever. I think it is getting criticized a little harshly. I'd say maybe the way scenes get pieced together sometimes happen abruptly and the dialogue can be a tad cliche but what ya gona do.

I doubt I'll go back to seeing it in theaters but I'll buy it on BluRay.

7/10
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Re: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Postby Benjamin Haines » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:48 am

I saw Alita: Battle Angel last night and it rocked! It's a very fast-paced movie that's packed with plot and world-building but it's rooted in heart and carried by a fantastic mo-cap performance from Rosa Salazar as Alita. The supporting cast is stacked with top-tier talent like Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly and Mahershala Ali and it was cool to see Jeff Fahey pop up as the hunter-warrior with the robotic dogs.

Compared to some other recent Hollywood cyberpunk adaptations, it's as if they took the most interesting parts of Ghost in the Shell (an amnesiac female cyborg) and Ready Player One (people living in a technologically advanced but heavily classist society in a dystopian future) and built a much better, more dynamic movie around those elements. I enjoyed both Ghost in the Shell and Ready Player One when I watched them but they're not movies that I feel compelled to ever see again, whereas Alita: Battle Angel is a film I'd like to own and rewatch in the future.
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Re: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Postby lhb412 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:16 am

Loved this flick. Savage action, cool designs, interesting world, loveable characters, and did I mention how great the action was?

It's crazy that superhero movies have become the dominant pop culture Force yet the action sequences in them are often the least interesting parts of the movie, lacking the intensity that great comic book battles can give you. Alita, as well as Spider-Verse, go a long way to correct that!
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Re: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Postby Benjamin Haines » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:49 am

/Film, 02/18/2019:
‘Alita: Battle Angel’ Star Rosa Salazar on Transforming Into a Digital Cyborg Character [Interview]

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