Alita: battle angel definitely didn’t deserve the buzz which it got before the premiere. Movie was okay for 2019 standards, but James Cameron’s role in this project was at least dubious. It’s worth watching but do not expect Avatar/Titanic quality. I believe that I was misguided as in most of the movie trailers James Cameron together with Robert Rodriguez were saying how their ‘baby’ was special for them and how Cameron regrets that he couldn’t be a director of Alita. But all of these was pure nonsense, easy marketing trick which I bought.
The biggest downsides
I know most of the people likes this kind of humor which was shown in Alita, but for me first 30 min were totally embarrassing/cringey. Alita was 300 years old, but by giving her the new body her brain forgot all of the past experiences from her life in Zalem as a warrior, therefore she was behaving a bit childish. It would be okay if that wouldn’t be pushed in your face on every occasion. I didn’t enjoy jokes about Alita’s breasts size, that was just sick, you don’t do this while at the same time you talk about celebration of big female roles in the movies (which Cameron always does). The second point I need to make is the old mind of Rodriguez and Cameron. Don’t get me wrong, I respect them as a writers, directors and producers but for me there was the same ‘old-fashioned’ way of looking at things like in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’. Movie was good however you could just feel how conversations were stylized for 2019 but you could feel the 80s aftertaste. This kind of writing reminds me ‘Back to the Future’, when Marty returned to the 50s and didn’t understand old-fashioned words or phrases. I believe that before writing a screenplay Cameron and Rodriguez should involve young people in production, because maybe they think something sounds modern, when it is really not.
The screenplay of Alita despite few drawbacks still had its charm. I liked the multidimensionality of the plot. One of the most important threads was the parental love. After losing a daughter - Dr Ido (Christopher Waltz) and his wife Chiren (Jennifer Connelly) completely broke down. They split because they were blaming each other for their daughter’s death and they couldn’t deal with the guilt. Waltz after finding Alita on the scrapyard, turned her into some kind of substitution of a living child, almost like a Pinocchio. When she was a child he cared for her and tried to protect against the cruel world, I liked how they has shown that parental love doesn’t really change over time. Alita was a killing machine, but even then her ‘so-called’ father (with rather human strength) cared for her and did everything to protect her artificial body. Connelly was fighting against Waltz inventing more and more new machines which tried to kill him. When she found out about Alita at the beginning she tried to get rid of her, but finally she supported her in the fight against evil.
Love is always one of the main sub-plots in James Cameron’s movies, and it was the case this time as well. Alita in her naivety fell in love with Hugo (Keean Johnson), who at the beginning wasn’t a good person. He showed her a motorball, cyborgs and all bad stuff which guys corrupt girls with. She was even ready to give him her heart, she literally took out heart from her chest and wanted to give it to him, so he doesn’t need to work anymore (her heart was worth a lot of money, just like ours does, try to sell yours on ebay they you won’t need to work till the end of your days). Beautiful gesture, but a bit too cheesy for me. Of course, he changes thanks to her ‘good heart’ and she loves him even more and wants to save the world. Typical. She saves him multiply times, to finally let him die in the last scene (doesn’t it remind you of Titanic – Jack and Rose?). I would say his death gave producers chance to make a next movie about Alita, ‘Alita the Avenger’ (do not confuse with Avengers) so she could easily go to Zalem to kill the Nova guy, because he destroyed her dreams about true love - the second part screenplay done!
I thought that this movie will be really good manifest of a true feminism, independence and a good fight with evil. Unfortunately, Alita is the caricature of a strong woman. She is portrayed as a childish girl who has issues with her past, then she falls in love with some random guy, then she wants to become a hunter warrior (to run away with that random guy), on the side she also aims to become the master of motorball and finally she wants to save the world. She simply just doesn’t know what she wants. She is good hearted cyborg-girl, but this is not everything. In the movie they repeat constantly: ‘It’s all in your mind!’ Oh well, maybe it is but she definitely couldn’t fight a 3-meters-high cyborg if she would be just a human. I can see what they try to imply through this, that it doesn’t mater where do you come from, you can achieve anything. James Cameron himself came from the humble background, his parents weren’t rich, he was a driver and in his free times he was studying about physics, filming and he tried to write his first screenplays. Maybe it all was only in his mind, but without the actual action he wouldn’t come that far. So I would say it all STARTS in the mind, but it takes a shape in an ACTION.