Alita: Battle Angel ★★★½

Daily Californian review here. James Cameron espousing the spiritual connection between mankind and technology once again, giving a tour of what the blockbuster landscape could look like in his image. That comes with a heap of boring boy problems — I spent most of the movie pounding my fists, demanding Alita's squeeze get fileted — but it also means the sap at least drives a colossal motorized unicycle. The slam-bang action is peerless, evoking anime in its expressive agility and indulgent tendency to linger on the heaviest impacts.

What's missing for me is a continued concern with the detritus of the first moments in the scrapyard, which would codify the despair and defiance of the protagonist. The Iron City is positioned as an impoverished ghetto, yet every street vendor sells sweet treats and the rooftops were practically designed for rollerblading. It doesn't help that the floating gated Xanadu above is only teased and never seen, casting a shadow on the events like the sequel tease it is. Salazar is simply magnetic though, establishing a new pinnacle for motion-capture performance; her unwavering captivation reigns in the script's inelegance, seeing all of this world and Alita through those big, big eyes. “It’s all or nothing with me. This is who I am."

Was seated next to a delightful woman at my press screening who had been a fan of the manga since she was a teenager and was positively stoked to see her girl on the big screen. She worked at Common Sense Media, so she spent most of the movie jotting down notes for inappropriate content, but that didn't stop her from hoot-n-hollering every time a limb got chopped off.

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