Ever bored on a random weeknight, where you end up looking for a movie to watch? This particular night, you feel like seeing an action flick and one that is available is a movie called Alita: Battle Angel with pretty bad critic reviews. *shrug* A little cookie-cutter mindless action flick can't be too bad. And then... the moment you finish watching the movie and say to yourself "My god... What in the world did I just watch? Rather... Experience?!?" Well, this was me. After watching it a second time, my conclusion is that Alita: Battle Angel is one of the most spectacular cinematic experiences in a really, really long time.
Alita is a cyborg whose core (a human brain with a unique and powerful heart, in more ways than one) is salvaged from a scrapyard by Dr. Ido, a cybernetics surgeon (or a doctor for cyborgs). He gives her a new lease on life, and when she wakes up, she has no memory of her past. As an innocent teenage girl (that is 300 years old), she goes through a journey of self-discovery.
This is not a superhero with superpowers crushing the villain at the end kind of movie. Yes, Alita kicks the snot out of baddies throughout, but the real enemy she defeats is the enemy within... her naivety, lack of self confidence, and finding purpose. Even her awkward teen romance (which was intentional...) grows into a mature one full of forgiveness, faithfulness and devotion. She wins a lot and she loses a lot but through it all, continues to learn, never gives up and keeps on fighting. By the end, she is a warrior who knows her mission.
Alita is not the only hero in the story. There were heroes in Alita's life that defined the hero Alita would become. Alita is empowered by those around her, and in return she empowers and inspires others, even people she doesn't even directly interact with. This is real empowerment... people empowering each other to be better. It is NOT someone who "empowers" themselves... especially by putting down or blaming others.
The visual effects are literally out of this world. As a live action movie, it's nearly impossible to figure out what is real and what is not, allowing to you to really get immersed in the world they built. The attention to details is just amazing. Great characters paired with incredible action and an emotional roller-coaster of a journey makes this movie a winner.
Rosa Salazar is the real gem in her genuine and convincing performance. She give her heart (figuratively and literally) in it and it shows. Christoph Waltz is also amazing as usual. Mahershala Ali and Jennifer Connelly (actually pretty interesting character arc if you look into it) are also great. Keean Johnson was a slight miss for me, but even then, he gave his best as Hugo.
The score is perfectly crafted by JunkieXL (Mad Max: Fury Road). You can actually watch videos of how he built the themes for each of the characters on his YouTube channel. If you understand the themes, you can literally re-experience the entire movie just by listening to the soundtrack, which masterfully tells the story.
Considerations: The movie is extremely violent, borderline Rated-R. There is also one use of the F-bomb (though... probably the only way to convey the intended message in that dire situation).
Recommendation: 10/10. HD a must, 3D if possible (The movie was meant to be seen in 3D). Also, buy the Blu-Ray for family and friends, and tell them to do the same if they like Alita!!