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Alita: Battle Angel is not the epic sci-fi action film you’re looking for

Alita+looks+off+into+the+distance+holding+a+sword.+The+cyborg+is+pictured+in+front+of+Iron+City%2C+where+she+reawakens+with+no+memory.
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Alita: Battle Angel is not the epic sci-fi action film you’re looking for

Alita looks off into the distance holding a sword. The cyborg is pictured in front of Iron City, where she reawakens with no memory.

Alita looks off into the distance holding a sword. The cyborg is pictured in front of Iron City, where she reawakens with no memory.

Photo courtesy of www.forbes.com

Alita looks off into the distance holding a sword. The cyborg is pictured in front of Iron City, where she reawakens with no memory.

Photo courtesy of www.forbes.com

Photo courtesy of www.forbes.com

Alita looks off into the distance holding a sword. The cyborg is pictured in front of Iron City, where she reawakens with no memory.

Isabella Klobukowski, Staff Writer

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Alita: Battle Angel is a flashy fiasco full of cyborgs, overly sentimental dialogue, and gaping plotholes. The movie follows an amnesiac cyborg in the year 2563, who is rescued from a junk heap by a cybernetics doctor.

Co-written by James Cameron, this sci-fi/action/cyberpunk mashup tries to make even the word “Unobtainium” sound eloquent.

Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers said, “[This] adaptation of a popular manga feels wobbly, worked-over and way past its sell-by date. It looks ready to rock, but there’s no life left in the party.”

As Alita goes traipsing around the visual eye-candy of Iron City, audiences begin to realize that the special effects are simply there to try to make up for everything else that is lacking, sort of like applying lipstick on a gorilla.

It’s hard not to laugh at this movie —  even though it’s not intended to be a comedy. For example, at one point, Alita’s love interest Hugo tells her, “You are the most human person I’ve ever met.” She is clearly a cyborg from the shoulders down, so Hugo’s claim is overly cheesy. “Too much of the film is devoted to Alita and Hugo’s romance,” said The Verge critic Samantha Nelson.

Moreover, Alita can’t remember anything from her past life because of her amnesia. She’s like a lurching, wide-eyed toddler — so why is this toddler having a relationship? Alita’s having chocolate for the first time, but she’s also hitting on a guy she’s just met? It’s a teenage girl cliché to the extreme.

Alita: Battle Angel is rated as PG-13, which is surprising. Spare organs lie around, heads are hacked off —  horror abounds. For example, take Alita’s war paint, which she gets through an adorable, non-cyborg dog Alita met on the first day she was brought back to life. When the dog is brutally murdered off-screen by a malicious cyborg, Alita, furious, proceeds to dip her fingers in the blood of that innocent, lifeless corpse and streak it on her face.

Forget the nightmarishly-huge eyes — she smears puppy blood on her face.

Past the corny romance and riveting visuals, there isn’t much else to Alita: Battle Angel. The plot packs a two-hour-two-minute punch, but the plotline itself is sparse. Cool battles happen, but between them is a flimsy script and googly-eyed teenagers. Alita has a couple of intriguing flashbacks, but they aren’t more than a few seconds. They leave nothing behind but more questions.

Speaking of questions: what’s the conflict in Alita: Battle Angel? Is she trying to survive? Or is it what was said during one of her flashbacks: “Destroy Zalem.” Zalem is the only remaining “Sky City” in 2563, 300 years after the ambiguous “Fall.” But none of this information is elaborated on. Why did Alita want to destroy Zalem in her previous life? What was the Fall? It’s all supposed to be wrapped up in the sequel, but that’s not how to make a good movie. Saving some juicy details for a sequel is great, but you need a clear conflict to keep audiences engaged. What is Alita’s motivation? What is stopping her from achieving that? There’s no obvious reason behind Alita’s actions, or for this movie, without a driving conflict.

One decent aspect of Alita: Battle Angel is the game Motorball. It’s a mix of roller-derby and melee. Alita turns out to be a natural at this, so several fight scenes are also Motorball scenes. Still, any Motorball fight scenes could have been traded for a fully fleshed out flashback scene.

All in all, Alita: Battle Angel is disastrous. The visual effects are great, but not revolutionary. The dialogue is mushy and the overall purpose of the movie was unclear. At the end of the day, if you’re looking for an epic sci-fi action film, Alita: Battle Angel is just not it.

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Alita: Battle Angel is not the epic sci-fi action film you’re looking for