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Alita: Battle Angel

My take on the dystopian, cyberpunk live action adaptation of the manga series "Gunmu" released in February.

By Three of Seven Fri 15 Mar, 2019 4:40 PM - Last Updated: Fri 15 Mar, 2019 6:06 PM
Alita: Battle Angel is a live action film adaptation of the manga series "Gunmu", or "Battle Angel Alita" in its English translation. This film comes out almost 30 years since the creation of its source material. It's also not something I would have ever personally read, but in film form, it is something I would watch. Before going into this, after seeing a trailer, I was somewhat put off by the eyes of Alita, it seemed like an odd choice, and with a trailer, they really stood out at lot. This said, in the wider context of the film, they fit in, no one else has eyes like Alita, except those in flashbacks, it's a really visual way of showing that she is different to everyone else.

The film does change things from the original story, and also condenses bits, to make it fit for a film, does it do the source justice? From what I have read on fan sites, yes, there are people who seem to enjoy it who followed the series when it first came out. There is also a welcoming fanbase for people who enjoyed this film, so from my limited look at some fan comments, it's mostly positive and welcoming, which is good. I did also look at some of the changes, like the name Alita comes from Dr. Ido's cat in the manga, but in the film, it's his daughter. There are subtle name changes, and story changes, as well as the odd character that didn't exist before, but it all seemed to work.

When you begin watching, you see Ido find Alita in a scrapyard, he knows what she is, but he keeps this a secret for much of the early part of the film. Alita does find out more of who she is, through flashbacks, and through the love interest, Hugo, taking her places, this creates a bit of conflict, and causes the main story. For me, the story really hits a good balance of characters, story, action, emotion, and even humour, it all really fits together like a nice jigsaw puzzle.

Name:  a251f12c780b2c7a5895bef8067504aa1908e962.jpg
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Size:  35.9 KBThe fight scenes are great, the movement, and the connection to bodies, I'm not a huge fan of action, but this often looked more like dancing, it was so smooth. Emotion was there when it needed to be, without being overly graphic, or drastic, it did not dwell on these parts, and would quickly dive back in, you don't get much time to recover from being sad, to being angry again, rooting for Alita. I also really want to raise the quality of the characters as well, it's very rare to see background characters, with little dialog, make a huge impact on the feel, this film does it well, people like Ido's assistant doesn't say much, but her presence and body language speaks volumes, really adds to the scenes she is in.

Watching Alita really takes you on a journey of a girl trying to find who she is, or what she is, and to push her way forward. She is a strong character, but flawed, she is reckless at times, and has too much trust in people to begin with. We really begin to learn a lot about Alita, but at the same time, we end up with many questions by the end of the film as well. There are not many flashbacks to get too much background from, which did however seem to be the right amount. It's a film, that in my opinion, really leaves you by the end of it, wanting more.

This is definitely a film I would recommend watching to anyone who enjoys something a bit cyberpunk, or dystopian, the environment at parts did also give a bit of a Blade Runner feel to them for me. It's not going to be for everyone, but I walked out of this with another new hero.

I also want to end on a much higher note than my recommendation, and that's this news on Yahoo, about the filmmakers partnership with Open Bionics to make Alita inspired covers for their bionic Hero Arm prosthetic. They had a special Alita set made for a teenage girl as well, which you will see in the video!

So with all that, is this a film that interests you? Or have you already seen it, if so, what did you think?

WRITTEN & EDITED BY Three of Seven - rena.hobden@ufplanets.com
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