"Alita: Battle Angel" Movie Review

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March is the National Women's Month in the Philippines and on the 8th of March is the International Women's Day. Knowing that bitLanders supports women empowerment and independent filmmakers, here is a blog to celebrate it.

Hollywood and Japanese animation/comics has been known to have been struggling of producing an outstanding film together. The ever fictional characters and nature of Japanese animation and comics has been a hit and miss to make for Hollywood live action versions. Fans are very observant and critical on live action films which make it a huge challenge for filmmakers to produce a film that is close to the original work. Last month of February, another live action and well-anticipated movie about a female cyborg was shown at the cinemas—"Alita: Battle Angel".


(video source: 20th Century Fox via Youtube)

"Alita: Battle Angel" is a story of a female cyborg named Alita who is on a quest to bring back the memories of her past self. She was decapitated when founded by Dr. Ido, a cyber surgeon, at the heaps of metal scraps that had fallen from the wealthy city of Zalem and built her another body. Exploring and experiencing things at Iron City for the first time, she met and made friends with Hugo who also introduced her to a sport called "motorball". Discovering that Dr. Ido was a hunter-warrior and saving him from the cyborg assassins have triggered memories of her past; that she is a 300-year-old warrior who uses an ancient martial art style called "panzer kunst" and was on a mission to take down Nova, a powerful scientist from Zalem who can transfer his consciousness to another person and can see everyone's actions.

(image source: 20th Century Fox)

"Alita: Battle Angel" is a sci-fi, adventure, live action film adapted from a 1990s Japanese "manga" ("comics" in English) entitled "Gunnm" by Yukito Kishiro. The "Alita: Battle Angel" film was directed by Robert Rodriguez, written by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis, produced by Jon Landau and James Cameron, and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Production companies for the film were 20th Century Fox, Lightstorm Entertainment, and TSG Entertainment.

The film was well-anticipated by many because of its good story and knowing that it involves James Cameron who was also behind the amazing and blockbuster movies Titanic and Avatar. Knowing his works, people were expecting the same quality (or greater) as the previous films.

It stars Rosa Salazar as "Alita", Keean Johnson as "Hugo", Christoph Waltz as "Dr. Dyson Ido", Mahershala Ali as "Vector", Jennifer Connelly as "Chiren", Jackie Earle Haley as "Grewishka", Idara Victor as "Nurse Gerhad", and Hugo Perez as "Jacked Cyborg". The movie was released in different countries starting February and premiered in the United States on February 14th while it premiered in the Philippines on February 6. It runs for 2 hours and 2 minutes and is Rated PG-13 due to some language, violence,and action.

The film has a production budget of $170 million and grossed $28,525,613 on its first week. "Alita: Battle Angel" currently (March 5) has a worldwide gross of $352,174,952.



(image source: 20th Century Fox)

One highlight of the Alita film that many have been waiting for is its use of visual effects by Weta Digital. Weta Digital is a visual effects company from New Zealand who specializes in turning actors into computer-generated imagery (CGI). They are known for their exceptional works on films like Avatar, Avengers: Infinity War, and The Lord of the Rings film series.

(image source: 20th Century Fox)

Unlike Avatar, making the Alita film was quite different because CGI characters have to look photo-real in order to look natural and blend together with the non-CGI actors. According to animation supervisor, Mike Cozens, Alita is the most ambitious digital character they have ever created.

(image source: 20th Century Fox)

Actors who would be turned into CGI on the screen wear a suit with markers which will allow cameras to capture their movements. The visual effects from Weta Digital is superb because it makes CGI characters move fluidly and just like a real human would. This also includes their hair movement even their facial muscle movements. They all looked natural. However, this is also a major challenge for the actors as they also have to act perfectly to make the stunts of a CGI character appear realistic and natural. Kudos especially for Rosa Salazar for a job well done. She is definitely the perfect actress to play as Alita. Watch more about how Weta turns actors to a CGI character on the video below. For further discussion of Weta's processes for the film, proceed to this LINK. You can also see other behind the scenes clips HERE.

(video source: 20th Century Fox via Youtube)


(image source: 20th Century Fox)

Cinematography for Alita was very amazing and breathtaking in my opinion especially on the action scenes. The slow motion when Alita was flawlessly evading Grewishka's attacks and when she downward kicked Nyssiana were excellent for me. Of course, I do love the slow motion and cool camera angles during the motorball battle too. Definitely, all action scenes on this film are gorgeous I have nothing negative to say. There's too much good parts to mention so I'll just share the parts that were very unforgettable for me.

(image source: 20th Century Fox)

The closeup shots were also great as it had given focused on the characters' expressions and emotion. It also showed the magnificent details of Alita's face, cyborg body, and her armor for the motorball battle. The long shot of the Iron City was also great because it clearly showed how damaged the city is due to the war.


The film's soundtrack "Alita: Battle Angel Soundtrack" has 20 songs and was composed by Tom Holkenborg a.k.a. "Junkie XL". I think the soundtrack for this film was perfect and very impressive since I really enjoyed and felt the emotions in the movie. Music does help boost the emotions or mood of a scene. Holkenborg was also behind the soundtracks of films like Mad Max: Fury Road, Deadpool, Justice League, Wonder Woman, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, and more. Here is the behind the scenes of the film's soundtrack.

Dua Lipa's "Swan Song" was also featured on the film. The music video of this song was so good as the video looked like it was straight out of the film itself. Dua Lipa donned a style like film's lead character, Alita, and even did a martial art showdown with her.

A female rendition of Linkin Park's song, "New Divide", was also used for the film's trailer. The beautiful and melancholic version was sung by AVERY. I honestly, love this version and the lyrics was perfect for the film. The song New Divide was previously used on the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen film last 2009.


(image source: CBR)

I searched for some pages from the Alita comics and I must say Alita's character design on the film was pretty close to that of the manga. However, some of the differences I could point out were her eyes and neck. In my opinion, there's a slight difference on their eyes where it looked more sharp and intimidating on the comics while her eyes on the film appeared more cute and kind. (Though this is probably due to the shape of their eyebrows too.) I like how they still made Alita's eyes huge and look like a bit of an anime character on the film. Second is her neck. On the film, her neck and even her collarbones was covered with skin, whereas on the comics, it was literally only her face covered with skin.

(image source: 20th Century Fox)

Alita's cyborg body was certainly given so much justice on the film. It was beautifully and intricately designed, probably much better than on the comics. I love all the details; from the first body given to her, to her berserker body, to her motorball armor. All of it deserves to be praised. Her shoulder pads during the motorball just gives me a samurai armor vibe. I don't know why. But I love the number 99 yellow paint on it and her violet colored armor for the motorball looks really good on her.

(image source: 20th Century Fox)

Speaking of paint, I also love the red paint on her face which can be seen on the movie posters and some parts of the film. I'll just call it red paint for the sake of those who still haven't seen the film. It made her look 200% cool in my opinion.


"I do not stand by in the presence of evil."
— Alita

(image source: 20th Century Fox)

"Alita: Battle Angel" is a very entertaining and interesting film to watch. The 122 minutes length of the film felt just like 30 minutes for me. Yes, that's how much Alita can captivate the viewers. I haven't read the comics but other reviews say that the film stick to its original story which is a very good choice since viewers prefer live action films to have the same story with the original work.

I am definitely recommending you to watch this film! It's really good and I'm sure it is going to be one of the best films this year. We can never go wrong with James Cameron! I can't wait to see the sequel of the film though a sequel is a little bit on the rocks because it didn't sell out as much as Avatar. But I'm positive that there will be a sequel because the Alita film is one of a kind and unique. I don't mind the criticisms thrown on this film. I'm giving "Alita: Battle Angel" a perfect 10 out of 10 because it was overall entertaining and got me engrossed the whole time. Truly a masterpiece that deserves more recognition.

Thanks for reading!

✧ Katsanslimites

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