Alita: Battle Angel

2019, 20th Century Fox et al

Although this was emphatically touted as a Robert Rodriguez film, it could not escape the almost stifling influence of producer James Cameron. Too many elements give it away, particularly the contrived, in-your-face character types, effects dominating the story, and the unimaginative recycling of others' ideas: to wit, the game Motorball was lifted almost wholesale from the 1975 film Rollerball (although, to be fair, this may have been inherited from the original manga). The casting was a mixed bag, too; Rosa Salazar as the title character was outstanding, whereas Keean Johnson as her love interest was forgettable. Christoph Waltz was decent as the fatherly scientist, but Jennifer Connelly as his scheming ex looked painfully out of place.

But the real star of the film was the performance capture/CGI work—it was said that one of Alita's eyes had more polygons than the whole of Gollum's body. I confess to having watched it at least a dozen times only to study the CGI. Curiously, the film had a much stronger overseas interest, as the ~$400 million production only made $85 million domestically, and barely broke even thanks to overseas ticket sales.

     

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