Alita: Battle Angel doesn’t stand out in the sci-fi genre, says Rashid Irani
We were led to expect a memorable spectacle from the creators of Avatar and Sin City, but their joint venture is best deleted from the memory files.
This film should have been a stunning success. It’s a collaboration between James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez (the former acting as co-writer-producer; the latter as director), based on a dramatic graphic novel series.
Alita: Battle Angel also had a gargantuan budget (upwards of $200 million), the marquee value of three Oscar winners (Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly and Mahershala Ali), and stellar visual-effects from the path-breaking Weta Digital.
Sadly, style trumps substance, and there is little to mark this film out from the rest of the overpopulated sci-fi genre.
The script transports us to a post-apocalyptic world, circa 2563. Discarded in a junkyard, the shell of a wide-eyed cyborg (Rosa Salazar, in a striking motion-capture performance) is rescued by a cybernetics engineer (Waltz). Reawakened, the amnesiac heroine discovers she is actually a warrior endowed with amazing agility and fighting skills.
The rest of the puerile plot sees Alita (named after her saviour’s deceased daughter) fight to save her new world from annihilation. We have been there, endured that in any number of better films in the past.
There is a token nod to the emotional side of things with Alita hooking up with a lovey-dovey adolescent (Keean Johnson). The extended climax set in a rollerball championship arena is disappointingly dull.
We were led to expect a memorable spectacle from the creators of Avatar and Sin City. As it turns out, their joint venture is best deleted from the memory files.