I’m really not into mangas, so I didn’t expect much from Alita: Battle Angel. I was wrong.
I have to admit, I don’t know the manga behind Alita: Battle Angel. That’s partly because mangas usually don’t attract me at all. Even the art style could never catch me: The offensive child-like attitude combined with violence and sex simply doesn’t fit well together in my mind.
Cyberpunk in all its glory
That’s why the first trailer for Alita: Battle Angel didn’t pick me up immediately. The girl with the oversized eyes and a (seemingly) generic mix of SciFi action didn’t really blow my mind. Nevertheless I decided to give the film a chance at the weekend. Not at least because of Christoph Waltz.
A good two hours later I came out of the cinema feeling thrilled. Alita: Battle Angel is a fast-paced action firework in a cyberpunk world – I had not expected the latter. I’m a big fan of the cyberpunk genre and that’s why the design of the film became an eye-opener for me: the huge Iron City below Zalem, the city in the sky, offers this unique fascination of a world that oscillates between pure misery and (theoretically) unlimited, God-like possibilities.
Optional question: Human or not?
In addition, the subject of transhumanism is constantly present despite extremely impressive effects: Can cyborgs love? How human is Alita actually – and is she perhaps even the better human being? No, the science fiction blockbuster is not a profound treatise on philosophical questions of being. In the rather straightforward, little surprising and consistently well-known story, the question of what actually constitutes being human is not actually discussed.
As an attentive spectator I still find a lot of clues that make me think. Are the cyborgs, who fight each other in the violent Motorball sport (does anyone remember Rollerball?) just fighting machines? Does the increasing cruelty of mankind inevitably culminate in a merciless mixture of human brain and deadly technology?
An action-packed hit with technical highlights
This may perhaps lead too far, after all, Alita: Battle Angel is “only” finest action cinema. However, the topics post-apocalypse and cyberpunk strike a nerve for me, which makes me think again and again about the fascination of this genre, even when looking at it superficially.
Furthermore Alita: Battle Angel offers a lot of show values. The implementation of the fully animated main character Alita (performance capturing by Rosa Salazar) is fantastic. It doesn’t feel strange at any second that Alita is actually completely artificial with her oversized eyes. In combination with the unobtrusive, natural 3D effects and the breathtaking action, everything fits together perfectly.
It’s a real spectacle.