I meant to see this film when it first came out and it took me a couple weeks but I am certainly glad I did finally catch it. Now I had been hearing of a lot of criticism about this film which had me apprehensive but was pleasantly surprised when I went to see it in 3D with Dolby atmos sound. Now I realize that most won’t do this but I also watched the anime episodes from 1993 and that helps my opinion of this film tremendously.
Here is what I liked about this film a lot. The action and visuals were great and Alita’s character model is one of the best uses of CGI I have seen in a minute. You know she is 100% fake and brought to life with motion capture but aside from the absurdly large anime eyes and body when they go to close to her face it looks as if it could be real. It can be off putting at times. They reset the locale from Kansas to Panama city and do a good job of building this future world for those of us not willing to dive into the anime or read the Manga which is the source material for this film. This brings me to my next point and foil to most of the criticism I see floating about the internet.
This film for the most part was heavily faithful to the source material. For those out there complaining about Alita’s proportions, the relationship between her and Hugo, whitewashing or the treatment of animals in a certain scene, then blame the source material and not James Cameron or Robert Rodriguez. They made some tweaks to the plot and a couple characters but for the most part all of this is lifted directly from the anime, and I would argue that fans of the source material would be pleased for the most part because of it’s faithfulness.
Now I can be honest and say that I had a few things that grated on me while watching but nothing that did so to the point that I was no longer enjoying myself. Dialogue at certain points was one of them as Hugo (Yugo in the anime) has one of the stupidest lines ever written. Watch the trailer and no doubt you will see what I mean. There are some pacing issues where you are thrust into conflict after barley establishing some things. I kind of give them a pass on this as there is a lot to pack into this in a limited amount of time. It’s likely they’re not sure whether they’ll get a second crack at it in a sequel and they sequel bait us hard here so we shall see.
I enjoyed myself and the person who accompanied me enjoyed themselves as well and they’re not into anime or manga. Anime is supposed to be over the top either with it’s action, characters or emotions. The emotional tie fell a bit flat to me but the other aspects all rang true in my opinion. I believe there has to be a suspension of belief with scifi, and fantasy films but if you don’t get right what you’re supposed to it won’t work. I think people come into movies with expectations that ruin their experience before sitting in the seat. This film was a lot better than I expected, did things right for the most part and did it’s job of entertaining me.
If you like anime go see this film so we can hopefully get another one. I mean China is already helping out with this one since it debuted to the tune of 65 million opening weekend there. It will also be interesting to see if a sequel still gets made after the acquisition of Fox by Disney/Marvel is finalized as I am sure they can and will market a sequel better if they choose to continue the series. If however you are into realism then you likely won’t enjoy this. Perhaps a biopic or documentary would be more your speed. For everyone into scifi, fantasy or cyberpunk themed action movies go see it even if unfamiliar with the anime and manga it draws from. You should have a good time. As usual I would be interested to hear your thoughts and opinions so drop a comment below.