Part Astroboy, part Blade runner, Alita: Battle Angel is a cyberpunk movie that covers both familiar and unexplored territory for sci fi fans. The film adaptation is finally out of development hell, delighting series fans and offering something new for fresh audiences.
Based on the Gunnm manga series of the 90s, Alita has a sprawling interplanetary backstory spanning centuries. Fans of the series will notice that this film follows the 1993 OVA rather than directly from the manga.
For anyone averse to spoilers, stop reading now.
The opening gives us an idea of the world that Alita has literally fallen into. There’s the floating city of Zalem that the lowly residents of Iron City look up to. It is the familiar tale of two cities; the haves and the have-nots. But while we see the gleaming city from afar, the action is focussed in the dilapidated dwellings of Iron City.
Doctor Dyson Ido finds the heroine on the scrapheap of discarded things from the city above, and restores her back to life and a new body. Alita awakes with no memory of anything, and has to learn everything except speech from scratch.
Alita learns about the city’s harshness, as well as a hint of what’s happening behind the scenes. Ultimately, there is a showdown between the eponymous heroine and the minions of Nova- the shady overlord of Zalem.
The movie is visually stunning. There is no denying that the fight scenes in particular raise the bar for cgi. On first viewing, the film looks flawless. It may stand up to a second or third viewing, but that’s up to audiences to decide.
The story seems a little bit choppy in parts, but it is still coherent. As the action takes place in a short space of time, the plot may have been condensed-possibly a little more than necessary.
So is it worth watching? Absolutely. If you’re a fan of the Manga, or the OVA, you will enjoy seeing Alita on the big screen. For anyone new to the story, it is still an enjoyable movie experience. It looks great, the story flows for the most part, and there’s the possibility of sequels.
P.S. You don’t have to wait around after the credits for this one, there isn’t an extra scene.
Alita: Battle Angel is in cinemas today.