Thoughts – Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel releases in USA this week after receiving poor critic reviews and many early predictions expecting it to be a bomb, in part to the the large $200m budget. Whilst it may still bomb, early responses from the general audience are exceedingly positive and I whole-heartedly agree with the positive response. Within just a few days of the film’s staggered worldwide release, the Rotten Tomatoes score increased by 26%, moving from 33% to 59%, showing a clear disconnect between critics and general audiences. 1% more and Alita will officially be fresh. It will be interesting to see how Alita performs in the box office as the word-of-mouth on this is very strong so far, going against the critic’s consensus. Whilst it may not have a strong opening, it could have the legs over the coming weeks to make this venture worthwhile, and I sincerely hope that it succeeds.

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I was lucky enough to see Alita at an advanced screening on 31st January without any reviews to taint my thoughts, and whilst it definitely has issues, the pros far outweigh the cons and I thoroughly enjoyed the 2 hour spectacle. Alita is a wonderful trip through a dystopian cyber-punk future full of incredible CGI and perhaps the best action scenes you’ll see in cinema this year. If you’ve seen anything to do with the film then you have no doubt noticed 2 big points of debate; Alita’s huge eyes. Her eyes are both intriguing and bizarre, but very early on in the film they make Alita endearing and help build a relationship between the audience and the character. The work done to create this character is a marvel even in this age of CGI.
One of the biggest faults in this film lies with the almost entirely unnecessary love interest in a completely forgettable role. Another disappointment is the story often falling prey to itself, trying to establish a world and obvious sequels, rather than focusing on the immediate story and film. I also felt that Mahershala Ali is entirely wasted in his role. Considering how talented Ali is and how his star has risen in the last few years, it shocked me how little he was used.

Even with these burdens, Alita: Battle Angle is still a whirlwind of enjoyment. Alita herself is an amazing character that you’re sure to fall in love with. I hope this film does well enough to warrant the sequel that is teased throughout. It’s refreshing to see something new instead of Fast and Furious 20: Still Fast, Still Furious or a re-hash of a classic. This film deserves credit for offering something so unique.
See this film for yourself and make up your own mind. If you loathe this film entirely, send me your ticket stub and I’ll refund you then at least you made that decision on your own. Too often we let reviews dictate what we like before we try! Even though here I am, telling you to see it…

  – @CiaranRH

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