Review by Lauryn Angel
When I was in college, my friends and I would often gather on Friday nights and watch movies. We took turns picking movies, and one of my friends loved anime, so we watched classics such as Akira and Vampire Hunter D, but my favorite by far was Battle Angel: Alita. When I heard that the story was being developed into a film by James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez, I was excited, but skeptical about the execution. I’m pleased to be able to say that Alita: Battle Angel is a stunning adaptation.
Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) finds a cyborg core whilst scavenging in a junkyard and brings it home. Ido, who makes a living repairing robotic body parts for the members of his community, decides to rebuild the cyborg with a body he has in storage and Alita (Rosa Salazar) is brought back to life. Remembering nothing of her previous life, Alita is very like a child. With the help of Dr. Ido and her new friend Hugo (Keenan Johnson), Alita begins relearning about human life. She soon learns that the world isn’t all good things like oranges and chocolate. There are evil people who exploit others for parts, such as city boss Vector (Mahershala Ali) and opportunists such as Ido’s ex-wife Chiren (Jennifer Connelly), who just wants to get back to Zalem, the city in the sky that is her version of Paradise and will do whatever it takes to make that happen.
Alita: Battle Angel is faithful to the original story – so much so that I experienced déjà vu more than once whilst watching it. And it’s beautifully rendered, although some of the viewers at the screening I was at complained that Alita’s large eyes were unsettling. It’s definitely a film to see in IMAX, especially if you are a fan of anime or cyberpunk.