Over the past three decades, Japanese anime has captivated audiences with its stylish and diverse storytelling of Alita: Battle Angel
With a wide range of anime styles, from feature films to TV series, it’s no surprise that Hollywood has taken an interest in adapting these Japanese cartoons. Sometimes, movies draw inspiration from anime, incorporating motifs and nuances from various projects, such as “Pacific Rim” (inspired by “Neon Genesis Evangelion”), “Dark City” (borrowing from “Akira”), and “Inception” (influenced by “Paprika”). Other times, Hollywood attempts direct adaptations of anime properties, as seen in “Ghost in the Shell” and “Death Note.”
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The Story: Alita: Battle Angel
Set in the distant 23rd century, Earth has endured “The Fall,” a cataclysmic event that reshaped its landscape into a harsh and unforgiving world. In the metropolis of Iron City, nestled beneath the utopian sky city of Zalem, Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) discovers a discarded robotic body in the junkyard. Using his expertise, he rebuilds the body into Alita (Rosa Salazar), a cyborg with a teenage girl’s brain but no memory of her past. Alita’s life takes an unexpected turn as she befriends Hugo (Keean Johnson), a young man enamored by her innocence, and navigates a dangerous world filled with Hunter-Warriors, bounty hunters who maintain order, and the thrilling Motorball game. As Alita begins to uncover fragments of her past, she learns the truth about herself and her connection to Zalem.
The Good / The Bad
While I love cinematic narratives from TV shows and movies, I occasionally indulge in Japanese anime feature films and TV series. I grew up watching some classic titles like “Sailor Moon” and “Dragon Ball Z” and expanded my anime horizons in my teenage years, particularly enjoying fantasy and sci-fi mecha series. Although my tastes have evolved, I still appreciate anime and occasionally explore new projects in the genre. Anime has also been a source of inspiration for Hollywood, with filmmakers drawing from various anime works or attempting direct adaptations. “Alita: Battle Angel” is one such adaptation, based on the popular manga series “Battle Angel Alita” by Yukito Kishiro.
Years ago, director James Cameron was attached to helm the project, but it eventually fell into the capable hands of Robert Rodriguez. The film takes place in the 23rd century, where Earth has undergone a cataclysmic event known as “The Fall.” Iron City, a sprawling metropolis, is situated beneath the sky city of Zalem. Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) discovers a discarded cyborg body in a junkyard and rebuilds it, giving birth to Alita (Rosa Salazar), a cyborg with a human brain but no memory of her past. Alita’s journey of self-discovery unfolds amidst a perilous world filled with Hunter-Warriors and the violent Motorball game, all while she begins to unravel the mystery of her past.
Director Robert Rodriguez brings “Alita: Battle Angel” to life with a visually stunning and ambitious vision. The film successfully captures the essence of its source material, creating a visually appealing blockbuster that caters to fans of sci-fi. The narrative follows Alita’s classic hero’s journey, exploring her discovery of a new world and her own identity. Alita herself is a standout character, portrayed as a strong and badass protagonist, making her one of the film’s major highlights. If you’re seeking a big-budget feature with a compelling female lead, “Alita: Battle Angel” has something to offer.
However, the film feels incomplete and struggles to live up to the weight of its source material. The delays in its release and the subsequent hype surrounding the movie do not align with the final product, leaving viewers with a sense of unfulfilled potential.