Alita Battle Angel: Trapped In The Uncanny Valley

Alita Battle Angel is a cyberpunk action film directed by Robert Rodriguez; based on 1993 Japanese anime series Battle Angel. The plot follows Alita (Rosa Salazar), a cyborg girl with a mysterious past who is rebuilt by roboticist Dr. Ido (Christoph Waltz), she tries to adapt to life as a normal teenage girl but her past gets in the way. She is hunted down by a series of other cyborgs and must defeat them all to keep those she loves alive.

For a long time I have been meaning to watch this film, I know a lot of people love it, so I decided to check it out. I enjoyed it, it has a series of issues that stopped it from being a perfect film for me, but as an overall film I think it worked well and I would like to see a sequel to this film.

I think the strongest thing about this film is its world, it is dense and well explored, the lore never feels forced it feels natural and becomes something you want to learn more about. It is also left ambiguous enough that there is plenty of room for further exploration if I sequel does come out. The performances are all also excellent especially Salazar, she does a lot with a character that is mostly CGI she gives her a warmth and a personality that makes her instantly likeable.

However, I think ultimately what harms this film is it’s CGI. Sometimes, albeit rarely, the CGI is impressive and does standout, it is not Avatar level, but it is impressive. For the most part however, the CGI is poor and video game esque. This is mostly true of the faces of other cyborgs especially the ones she fights throughout the film. What’s more the CGI on Alita’s eyes bothered me throughout much of the film they are weird looking and are trapped in the uncanny valley, it was only midway through the film that I got use to them and even then I had to try not to look at them.

Another thing I didn’t like about the film was the angsty teen romance. This is only a brief subplot, but whenever the plot deviates to it, it slows down. There really is no need for it as it adds very little to the film overall.

Overall, this is a strong science fiction film that has a great world and characters, what lets it down is poor CGI and a needless romantic subplot.

Pros.

Rosa Salazar.

The characters.

The world.

Cons.

The bad CGI.

The romance subplot.

3.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

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