REVIEW: “ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL” (2019) 20th Century Fox

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From the dark depths of the cold Los Angeles winter evening, I dared dragged myself to go see this film. With my having already skipped one media screening, I decided to take my own dare and see “ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL” as it is the last one under the 20th Century Fox’s banner before the Disney takeover.

Needless to say, I should have picked truth – as while it took 10 yrs to get made, it only takes 10 minutes to wish you had stayed at home as it’s a film completely and totally taken from a barrage of other films.

Now I’ve not read the source material but I do know that Alita was originally a Manga comic series which is a Japanese graphic art novel. It seems James Cameron, along with Robert Rodriguez, are bringing the first of four of these books to the cinema with this film. From the little research I did into this, eastern stories have a lot of tradition – one being that any hero is the last practitioner of a secret and are martial arts experts. In Alita’s case this is something that I read to be Panzer Kunst which means Tank Art according to the online translator. She also, predictably, has no memory of her past which means we can go on this voyage of growth and discovery together riiight?!! well….

The story is set in the South American, Iron City in the shadow of a gigantic floating station from another lifetime, three hundred years after a great war. So: post apocalyptic dystopia. There is a blend of architectures, super cyberpunk characters, ruins and fragments of forgotten technologies. It looks great and the CGI is fantastic. It all starts with ex-engineer Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoff Waltz) finding the head and shoulders of a female cyborg in a junk pile. Somehow, magically the brain is still alive. So like in the story of Humpty Dumpty, he puts her back together again and proceeds to treat her as his daughter who was, you guessed it, named Alita played here by Rosa Salazar. Alita has no memory of who she once was but she immediately finds love with the handsome motorcycle riding human Hugo (Keenan Johnson) and also finds out within hours that she can fight like a badass. When Hugo introduces Alita to the brutal spectator sport of Motorball where the carnage is more important than the score and the winner gets a ticket to the space station. All bets are on you know who is going to want to be a Mortorball star and where this film is heading.

‘If’ this film, which had it maybe been made 10 years ago before we had say Pacific Rim, or ‘if’ it had maybe one original idea of its own, I might have really enjoyed it. As is, ‘Motorball’ the game it portrays, is a COMPLETE and total ripoff of the original 70’s Rollerball with James Caan (catorgically a much better film by the way). ‘If’ maybe the baddies like Zapan (Ed Skrein) weren’t simply already done so many times before, or ‘if’ Jennifer Connelly & Mahershala Ali had just not phoned in their performances and ‘if’ they had given them some grit. All those ‘ifs’ just make this too hard of a film to roll with all the way through.

While the character development is quite decent, it’s the characters themselves that gave me question. Some might not be bothered by the huge Manga eyes on Alita, but for me they were just plain creepy. Add into that, the whole doll-like 12yr old look that reminded me of the ‘Big Eyes’ paintings – another ‘not working’ item for me. I even got a bit creeped out of sorts by Christoph Waltzs’ Dr. Ido at the beginning when he leans over her broken machine body as he first finds her and says ‘You will be my little angel’. Granted, he turns out to be a ‘good guy’.

This was by far not the worst Sci-Fi I’ve ever seen, but it is one of the most lackluster. My take is if you love the comic story it’s based on, you will probably understand the film and like it a lot more as I didn’t hate it and as a time killer it was decent enough. While Alita: Battle Angel didn’t leave me wanting more and the next chapters don’t entice much, the cold hard fact is this film would probably have been best had it been done 10 yrs ago as we might not have seen the same-type cyborg movies that have already been done so many times previous to it and this would have seemed fresh & new. As it was, I’ve seen it and it just was all used material from so many other films.

Lastly, do you need to watch it in IMAX/3D? The flying jumps and weapon projectiles do look good – but it’s a lot of extra money for something that isn’t essential.

Grade: C-
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening Tuesday, February 7, 2019 ~ courtesy of 20th Century Fox
“ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL” IS OUT WORLDWIDE AS OF FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2019

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REVIEW: “DEADPOOL” (2016) 20th Century Fox

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For those of you who, like me, who might not be so familiar with the “DEADPOOL” series of Marvel, just going to give you a heads up ~ this movie is extremely over the top graphic in terms of sex, violence and humor, and that’s exactly what I loved about it! What a breath of fresh Marvel air this movie is. By far the one of the funniest ones from the Marvel Universe I’ve seen since…well Guardians of the Galaxy, and I simply loved that one. But it is also the bloodiest, and well deserving of it’s R rating – take note – this one is not for the kids.

But alas, there are many things I’m not going to tell you in this review because as any true Marvel fan should know.. spoilers are not cool. I will however tell you from moment one of the opening ‘introductions’ of the cast (which you MUST take note of) you will be rolling with laughter in your seats.
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Speaking of that cast of characters, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a skilled special forces operative turned mercenary. And he talks a lot, a whole lot, doesn’t really ever stop! To some this be annoying, while to the rest, myself included, it’s like music to our ears, mainly because of the hilarity of everything he says. But you have to really pay attention to keep up with every innuendo that’s flying at you. And trust me, he breaks all the boundries – meaning he’ll talk to you the audience as if you’re there. But what’s even more epic than that is the fact that he is AWARE of the universe that he’s in and the universe that you’re in, and those two collide in the most epic way possible. And while Reynolds body really is sheer perfection, the fact that yes Ryan Reynolds’ character, Wade Wilson, makes fun of Ryan Reynolds the actor and also mocks Ryan Reynolds’ previous poor decisions like Green Lantern and People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive cover, is just sheer amusement.
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Morena Baccarin is Vanessa, a prostitute who shares his fondness for dark humor steps up to the plate well here as the girl Wade/Deadpool falls in love with. T.J. Miller as Wade’s sometimes side-kick appropriately named Weasel, adds in some good back and forth banter. But once Colossus (v/o Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) show up and the battle between them and Angel Dust (Gina Carano) and Ajax aka Francis (Ed Skrein) is truly the only time the film turns a teensy bit cliché. And by now you know my ‘villain motto’ because yes, “you’re only as good as your villain” ~ well Skrein, who let’s face it, wasn’t so good in the Transporter film, really brings his A-game here as a truly good love-to-hate character showing us that action films really do seem to be his forte.
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I think everyone is going to have blast with this one as it’s smart, brash, fast and a whole lot of fun!  And of course it goes without saying – STAY FOR THE END CREDITS – you won’t regret it as after all, its a Marvel film riiight??!! 😀

Grade: B+
@pegsatthemovies

Review Screening: Thursday, February 4th, 2016 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Nationwide release: Friday, February 12, 2016