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ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL (LOGAN AT THE MOVIES)

James Cameron produces this and has had the rights to it for decades and now decides to hire Robert Rodriguez since he’s knee deep in a bunch of other franchises, good timing right.

This latest sci-fi mash-up is based on a MANGA comic, and is heavily influenced by both older and modern films, including “Ready Player One”, “Blade Runner”,  “Transformers”, “I Robot”, “Frankenstein”, “RollerBall” and “Ghost in the Shell”.

Its 2536 – 300 years after “The Fall”, the epic intergalactic war (which is only briefly shown in flashbacks). The wealthy people live in an affluent community, which floats above; while everyone else down below in Iron City – humans and cyborgs – are left to fight and scrap to survive (much like “Elysium”). Christoph Waltz plays a cyber-doctor who finds the discarded head and torso of a cyborg in a junkyard. He brings the young girl back to his laboratory and – voila! – Alita is born.

Rosa Salazar (of “The Maze Runner” series) plays the wide-eyed, robotic teenage girl whose internal structure is actually much older. At first she can’t remember anything about her past life. However, her recall will return at the most convenient times. It’s not long before she realizes her true nature is that of a rebel warrior (think of her like robot “Jason Bourne”. But she’s also a girl – and quickly develops a crush on a cute guy named Hugo (Keean Johnson).

The big game in Iron City is motorball, a high-tech version of “Rollerball”. Becoming grand champion gets you a ticket to the high life. The game is run by Vector (Ali). Like many heads of sports organizations, he may have a shady agenda.

Over the course of the film, the robo-girl juggles romance and run-ins with the law, while trying to discover her true self. I’m not a fan of the overall look of Anime along with the fact it’s very graphic and normally overly sexualized. According to Cameron the source material here had to be watered down quite a bit to cater to PG-13 rating.

Much like “Avatar” the world here looks spectacular some of the fast-paced VFX action sequences are cool, though the overall grayish, murky palate makes following things a bit of a challenge much like the “Transformers” they use close ups instead of wide shots especially for the Rollorball sequence. The other fights are spot on the choreography and the moves “Alita” implements very impressive. But my complaint is in regards to the use of 3D. The marketing for this was specific about It being the Cinematic 3D event of the year but much like “Star Trek: Into Darkness” there were only 3 shots were the 3D really popped: two take place during a fight with the squid/knife guy while the other is a shot looking down at the street from the top of a building. The depth of the landscape was done well, not as good as “Avatars” 3D.

In an interview I watched Cameron discussed the possibility of making 2 more films: “Fallen Angel” and “Avenging Angel” but with “Battle Angel” requiring a $200M price tag and it heading in to the worse Presidents weekend in 15 years for movies its not looking promising especially with most critics bashing it. Lets hope the foreign audience with whom the original content resides gives it a chance, otherwise this maybe the 1st biggest disaster of 2019.

PG-13 (for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language)

There is quite a bit of severed heads going around with different colored blood on display and one in your face F bomb dropped

REVIEW SCORE/B

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