Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Alita: Battle Angel

Let me get this out of the way: this movie is visually stunning. So much so that I thought it was going to win me over, despite its flaws. Alas, it was not enough to overcome all of the problems I had with Alita.

The other day I was watching The Expanse and pontificating on what it means for a story to have great world building. If you are able to make it feel like the characters in your story have been inhabiting this created world their whole lives, and that we are just glimpsing into a part of those lives, you have success in great world building.

While the actual world of Alita seems interesting, it fails in crafting this world in a satisfying manner. The explanations of the world are clumsy, and its very obvious that certain points are outlined specifically for we the audience. A lot of it was simply outlined through dialogue.

The story also feels clumsy. Its a mishmash of this girl learning her identity, becoming a “hunter-warrior” (probably the dumbest name they could have thought of for bounty hunter), a roller derby robot, and also trying to topple the oppressive rule of the floating city above them. So yeah, lots going on. Hard to make it all flow, and it doesn’t do a particularly good job of it. There is a scene in the bounty hunter bar which epitomizes the script problems.

The other major issue I had is how inconsistent the character of Alita is. At one point shes a wide-eyed teenager taking in the world around her, at another a tough-talking brawler. She’s whatever the script needs her to be at the moment. So without having a grasp on this protagonist, I found my appreciation for this movie slipping away.

The fact that it ends on a bathetic cliff-hanger really didn’t help.


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