Film Review: The James Cameron Touch Creates ‘Alita: Battle Angel’

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CHICAGO – The creation of new worlds has always been a mainstay of the cinema, virtually since it was invented. And whether you love or are indifferent to the films of James Cameron (“Titanic”), he remains one of the prime movers in advancing the creative tools of films. His influence is all over “Alita: Battle Angel.”

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

Cameron co-wrote the screenplay, based on a Japanese manga graphic novel, and the film used the advancing technology invented for Cameron’s “Avatar,” which re-creates human beings into digital characters that are partially based in reality and partially computer-generated art. “Alita” is wholly an innovation of this application, as the actress provides the voice and movements, but the character is a product of digital design. The result is entertaining eye candy, as the action sequences combine martial arts power with super heroics, as interpreted by veteran director Robert Rodriguez (“Sin City” series). Add the dash of Cameron’s philosophy for good and evil, familiar from his other films, and Alita has an earnest mythos that feels endearing.

A future world cyborg scientist named Ido (Christoph Waltz) is collecting spare parts in a junkyard in Iron City, when he comes upon a well preserved android face. The delicate brain turns out to be intact, and the scientist is able to rebuild the teen girl form, who he names Alita (Rosa Salazar), after his dead daughter. She has no idea of her past, but her revived circuitry provides indistinct memory.

She takes up with a roustabout teenager named Hugo (Keean Johnson), who introduces her to Motorball – a roller derby-esque death competition – and of his desire to someday reach Zalem, a utopian city in the sky. Alita also learns that Dr. Ido is a “hunter warrior,” part of a vigilante group protecting the city from cyborg assassins. As her memory increases, she realizes that she was a “battle angel,” and is the last of her kind. This is a game changer for her new world.

‘Alita: Battle Angel’ opens everywhere on February 14th, in 3D, IMAX, RPX and regular screenings. See local listings for type of screening format and show times. Featuring Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Rosa Salazar, Keean Johnson and Jackie Earle Haley. Screenplay adapted by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis. Directed by Robert Rodriquez. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Alita: Battle Angel”

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Don’t Cry for Me Iron City: Rosa Salazar is ‘Alita: Battle Angel’
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Alita: Battle Angel”

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