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Alita: Battle Angel Review (Spoilers)

Well, if there's one thing Alita: Battle Angel conveys positively, it's the incredible computer-generated design which formulates the main heroine herself. An insurmountable technological effort and countless resources were probably taxed every second in animating her facial expressions, limb movement, and even the eyes. She seamlessly transitions into the dusty, gritty world of Ido City, and acts as a bright contrast with a distinct color scheme, which pops when placed next to Ido's dusty outcrop and the collection of generically dressed citizenry.

Though, this praise can't be extended to Battle Angel's poor plot pacing, which consistently jarred me throughout the entire viewing experience. Entire moments pass by in seconds. In the movie's beginning, when Dr. Ido finds Alita, he immediately repairs her and inputs his daughter's consciousness into her. That's a rather drastic and life-altering decision to make in such a short interval of time... Nevertheless, this scene is considered tame next to entire decisions characters make being concluded and decided in extreme quickness. There's a myriad of these moments cluttering the film's narrative, quickly devolving it into a rushed mesh of action sequences and convenient characters appearing at convenient times to enact convenient situations.

Apparently, the film is based off a Manga (a Japanese comic-book). However, for those not acquainted with that lore, many questions remain begged to be answered. And while I understand some are kept for the coherency and mystery of the narrative and continuation of this saga, even basic inquisitions such as: "Who is Nova?" (the main antagonist). Or, have the people of Ido ever staged a rebellion or expressed vocal dissatisfaction with their poultry lives compared to the apparent aristocracy on Zalem? If not, why haven't they? Does anyone care that mercenaries are now acting as the new defacto police force instead of... ACTUAL police!? The civilian population of Ido is meant to be a second-class race of disenfranchised and poor enclaves, but instead they're a seemingly well-off, middle-class society which seems to mind Zalem's abundant prosperity and their consistent authoritarian policing at a rate of exactly zero. In a particular moment when Alita engages in active combat with bounty hunters in the streets after participating in the bloodsport 'Motor Ball', the people seem to accept her victory nonetheless. Their sporting experience was just interrupted by a literal direct intervention from Zalem, and their response is meagre and often encouraging! The strangest dystopian sci-fi political scheme that I've seen, quite honestly.

The movie's worst and most underused plotpoint however, comes in the form of Alita and Hugo's relationship. A short-winded and extremely rushed couple with chemistry that's never expanded upon, if ever truly established. Hugo dies twice, both times, I felt absolutely nothing considering this character's previous history on Ido, his aspirations for Zalem, or even his motivation for deeply loving Alita, are never truly explored or properly expressed through any sort of medium. Instead, we're led to believe this survivalist handsome rogue whom engages in cyborg thug muggings is Alita's proper interest, despite only displaying average characteristics of bravado and charm when necessary for script relief.

All in all, the best part about this movie for me were references to whatever the United Republics of Mars and Fall were. Not only were they action packed and engaging, but simultaneously providing a new sense of depth and lore to this blank state we're seeing on screen. While those scenes desperately required some semblance of context near the film's endgame, it doesn't deter from their glitz and awesomeness in general.

Overall, Alita: Battle Angel is a greatly animated and visually appealing film, whose gains are unfortunately outdone by numerous setbacks which permeate the entire story, destroying any hope of cohesive plot and somehow rushing a two hour long affair. 5/10.

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