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Movie Review: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Updated on August 28, 2020
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Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

Alita: Battle Angel 4K Blu-Ray cover.
Alita: Battle Angel 4K Blu-Ray cover. | Source

Quick Info

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Released: July 23rd, 2019
Runtime: 122 minutes
Available: On DVD, Blu-Ray, 4K Blu-Ray and digital

Story Summary

In Iron City, Kansas, in the distant future, most of the humans live in poverty, except for the ones who live in Zalem, the rich city in the sky. Doctor Dyson Ido finds a discarded human brain with a cyborg body and repairs her and names her Alita. Alita now has to discover her missing memories while finding her place in Iron City.

This Story is a Refreshing take on Science Fiction and Cyberpunk

Even though the manga’s been around since 1990 and has been brought to the screen by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron. It is an old property that had a small but dedicated fanbase that has only gotten bigger thanks to the live-action adaptation.

While it is not a new concept at all, it is refreshing to see a manga actually get a great adaptation of the source material. It’s a nice, refreshing take on science fiction and cyberpunk.

I love this film because it’s all the interesting things I love about science fiction. Alita: Battle Angel (2019) has interesting characters and excellent world-building that I enjoyed a lot.

Alita in a defensive stance.
Alita in a defensive stance. | Source

Alita is an Amazing Character!

Alita is an amazing character. She has problems; she’s not a perfect person. She has good character traits. She wants to help others, she doesn’t always listen to the best advice, sometimes she’s reckless, but she does learn from her mistake. She’s also a very likable character.

She’s a character that everyone can relate to, regardless of your gender. She’s everything that a good character should be.

I think the writers of Ghost in the Shell (2017), tried to do this for Motoko Kusanagi, but it just didn’t work, because they didn’t understand what makes the Ghost in the Shell franchise so special for its fans. The writers of Alita understood and cared about the character, and made her very much like her manga counterpart, even if I’ve heard that she’s not nearly as nice a person in the manga as she is in the film. They still kept her characterization similar to how she is in the manga.

Alita: Battle Angel | Official Hd Trailer #3 | 2019

The Visual Effects are Fantastic!

The visual effects are amazing, and not just the CGI, there were also miniatures that were built for the film that look amazing too. WETA digital did all the motion capture for the film and they’re the company that brought my favorite film trilogy, The Lord of the Rings to life on screen.

There are some amazing scenes that just look fantastic! The visuals really stand out during some of the fight scenes and the fictional sport of Rollerball. I really loved the Rollerball scene and hope they will show more of it in the sequel. It was a fascinating sport and it was very unique too.

While Alita’s eyes may seem strange, they did imitate the aesthetic of the manga so that’s why her eyes are big. It also makes her unique in people’s memories, in-universe and out.

Overall, the visual effects are stunning and a testament to what people can do in film. They pull off some great set pieces in this film that are memorable and amazing.

The Acting is Fantastic Too!

Rosa Salazar did a fantastic job as Alita, not only was she the one who did the motion capture for Alita, but she also had to give a performance like Andy Serkis had to do for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. She brought life to the character of Alita and did a great job with both the physical and emotional performance for the character.

Christoph Waltz did fantastic job as Dr. Dyson. I liked his performance in this film. He did a great job portraying the character. They did change his name from the original name which was Daisuke in the manga.

Keean Johnson is also a great choice for the role of Hugo. I really enjoyed his performance a lot. He portrayed an interesting character who made an interesting love interest for Alita.

Mahershala Ali did a great job as Vector, the main villain of the film. He was great as a villain. I really liked his performance and how he made himself sound like a gentleman, but he was truly an evil person.

Ed Skrein did an amazing job in his performance as Zapan. He also had to do the motion capture for his role like Rosa Salazar did and he made for a fantastic antagonist too. I liked his role a lot.

This cast is fantastic and they all did an amazing job bringing this obscure manga to live on screen. Everyone gave it their all and I hope to see them in a sequel.

Tom Holkenborg - Motorball (Alita: Battle Angel OST)

The Soundtrack is Good

Tom Holkenborg composed the soundtrack and while it’s not the most amazing soundtrack I’ve heard, it was enjoyable. It isn’t too memorable but it was good. It is also one of the few things about the film that didn’t really stand out to me that much. It’s good, but not the greatest soundtrack I’ve ever heard for a movie.

Overall, the music is good. I do feel the Alita: Battle Angel trailers had more memorable insert music than the film’s soundtrack. The music is just not memorable to me.

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The Pacing is Too Fast

If there is one gripe I have with this film, it’s the pacing. Much like the first movie in the Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel Trilogy, Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel I: Presage Flower (2017), was also a two-hour anime film, the pacing was too fast. Everything happened very quickly and you don’t have time to breathe.

While Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel I: Presage Flower (2017) had pacing problems because it was trying to compress as much of an entire route of the visual novel into a two-hour movie, it still felt rushed despite being part of a trilogy.

Alita: Battle Angel (2019) tries to put in as much of the manga’s plotlines as possible, so it feels like things just keep happening far too quickly than they should. It’s not a bad film but everyone can tell the story seems rushed, like they weren’t sure if it would get a sequel or not, so they decided to cram in as much as they could.

Rosa Salazar has been calling on fans to buy the blu-rays so the company can be incentivized to make a sequel for Alita: Battle Angel (2019).

Alita practicing the lost martial art of Panzer Kunst.
Alita practicing the lost martial art of Panzer Kunst. | Source

This is an Amazing Science Fiction Film that You Can’t Miss!

For fans of cyberpunk and science fiction, you’ll love this story. It’s well written, it’s engaging and a fun story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

If you’re looking for a story wit ha strong female lead, you’ve found a great female character that goes on an amazing journey and turns out better for it. Her story can touch the hearts of many people, because it’s a universal story of the hero’s journey, and it’s one that resonates with audiences all over the world.

It’s a fantastic story that I bought completely blind outside of the trailers, I was aware of the manga but I hadn’t purchased any volumes for myself.

Quick Summary

What Works:
What Doesn't Work:
Great storytelling, characters, and world-buiding
Forgettable soundtrack
Amazing visual effects
The pacing is too fast
Great acting

My Grade: A-

I highly recommend Alita: Battle Angel (2019). It has an amazing story, well-written character, and excellent world-building. It’s visually stunning and takes you on a journey with a unique character and I loved it a lot.

It’s everything I love about science fiction, which is one of my favorite genres. I also love cyberpunk a lot, and the Ghost in the Shell anime series came out during the time Alita: Battle Angel was being published in Japan, she’s known as Gally over there and the manga is called Gunnm. Her name was changed in overseas publications because they liked the change names to try to appeal to westerners, so she’s always been Alita over here.

I blind bought this movie and I can say that it was worth it. I don’t usually blind buy anything I watch or read because I don’t want to blind buy something and then be disappointed by it. I was not disappointed by this film at all and I highly recommend it even if you haven’t seen it yet.

If you’re curious, you can see trailers on YouTube and if it looks like something you’ll enjoy, give it a try, if you want to see a sequel, please pick up the blu-ray or buy digital, it will show 20th Century Fox that you would be interested in seeing more.

It’s well worth your time and money, give it a try if you think you’ll like it. I did and I enjoyed it!

My Rating

5 stars for Movie Review: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

© 2019 ReViewMeMedia


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    • rgasperson lm profile image

      Robert T Gasperson 

      14 months ago from South Carolina

      I really enjoyed this movie. I have not read the manga or watched the anime, so going into the movie I did not have any expectations which made the plot and action enjoyable without something to compare it to.

      I think I disagree with you on the pacing. I like my movies moving fast with lots of action. I think the audience this movie was built for live in the Internet and social media world where everything should be fast paced. So I think it’s actually perfect for who they were gearing the movie to entertain.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      14 months ago from U.S.A.

      Great article. Sounds like a flick I probably will watch. Thanks.

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      Good review! I am not an anime fan but I did enjoy this movie and Alita's character. Keep up the good work!


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