Movie Review – Alita: Battle Angel – Lighter, more Enjoyable than Ghost in the Shell

 

Movie Review - Alita: Battle AngelAlita: Battle Angel is a sort of YA version of Ghost in the Shell, and I’m not exactly thrilled to see the same thing re-done in so short a period of time. At least this one was more enjoyable, with better humor, more likable characters, and a universe that might be more interesting to explore if a sequel happens. And let it be clear: a sequel isn’t just hinted at in Alita. A sequel is guaranteed, if the movie’s ending is to be understood. It’s a cliffhanger, ya’ll. You should know this going in.

What’s good? [pullquote]The animation is seamless, and the battling Alita herself looks great, giant eyes and all. The Uncanny Valley is not even an issue here: “cute” bypasses the Valley entirely.[/pullquote] And cute Alita is. So is her boyfriend. And her ‘dad.’ It’s not a depressing film, unlike Ghost in the Shell, so it’s got that going for it.

I’m not even sure what else to say about this film because I wasn’t as impressed as I wanted to be. I saw a special early showing that was entirely sold out (my seat was in the literal front row, lending the 3D glasses a terrible viewpoint).

Clearly, the anime excitement and interest was there for this series, even if the presentation wasn’t as freshly new as I’d hoped. Also, while Rosa Salazar is adorable as Alita, she’s no Scarlett Johansson.

What is it about waifish cyborg girls and a future of augmented human bodies? Are we just our brains?[pullquote position=”right”] Can a brain-in-a-jar still be human? These are questions our progeny will have to address, and it comes up fruitfully here.[/pullquote]

I’m giving Alita a good B grade — it’s worth seeing on the big screen, and there’s potential for a decent franchise here. I smiled and laughed, and wanted to know more about the air city above the space elevator.[pullquote] Is the Earth used up? Is humanity lost and debased? And, ultimately, can a few good people influence the course of the future?[/pullquote] According to Margaret Mead, that’s all that ever can. Alita: Battle Angel seems to think we can too.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Here are 3 Peetimes of 3 minutes, nicely spaced apart. The 2nd and 3rd Peetimes are better. There’s a lot of action in Alita, so you’ll want to pick a Peetime to not miss the better scenes.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Alita: Battle Angel. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Genres: Action, Romance, Sci-Fi

Movie Review – Ghost in the Shell

 

Quiz – Scarlett Johansson – Not Just a Pretty Face

What is Animated versus Live Action in Alita – Battle Angel

Movie Review – Mortal Engines

Movie Review – The Terminator

Movie Review – Justice League (RunPee Jilly’s POV)

 

 

 

Movie Review – The Terminator

He came back.

The Terminator is one of the truly perfect films in the science fiction genre. Sure, there are temporal paradox/causality loop issues, but you have to handwave that and go along with the premise. And why not? If you’re going to tell a time travel story about what happens when the singularity occurs — and it turns out AI cyborgs decide to eradicate Man — it doesn’t get better than this. Argue all you like, Asimov fans. 😉

This is heart-pounding action with a bit of sweet, wistful romance, some humor, magnificent chase scenes, a great urban 1980s setting, fatal mistakes by a rookie Sarah Connor, sardonic wisdom from the young, war-hardened time traveler, and a really scary unstoppable killing machine.

Everyone showed a spirited commitment to their unlikely roles. There are some interesting early ‘cameos’, like Bill Paxton as a young punk. I still have a crush on Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reese (who played the equally awesome but essentially same character in the fantastically-scary-but-delicious Aliens film), and Linda Hamilton will always be my Sarah Connor. Finally, Arnold, as the Terminator, was a revelation (his entire acting and subsequent political career really kicked off right here).

Some lines might be hokey to modern ears, but I love it all, after all this time, and quote them in daily life. (Here’s three quotes, offhand: “Come with me if you want to live.” “That’s what he does! That’s ALL he does!… And he absolutely will not stop…ever, until you are dead!” And, of course, “I’ll be back.” Duh.)

There’s also an interestingly mechanized score by Brad Fiedel, with the subtle thrumming theme of the Terminator lingering as an iconic sound, recognizable through the entire franchise. (We can debate the various merits of the other Terminator movies/TV shows in the comments section below.)

When the exoskeletal version of the T-800 rises from the flames, it’s a horrifying moment. (Although, if you were aware at all of James Cameron movies, you would expect his signature ‘fake-out’ endings. But hey, they do work.) The scene where a wounded Sarah kills the crawling death robot is gripping, chilling, and deeply satisfying. (“You’re terminated, [email protected]” Yeah.)

The final moment in Mexico is superbly understated, ominous, frightening, and strangely hopeful. “There’s a storm coming.” “I know.” And now I have goosebumps. An enduring film, worthy of RunPee’s Classic Movie Hits List.

Movie Grade – A+

Movie Review – Justice League (RunPee Dan’s POV)

I enjoyed the movie. Not a lot, but enough. There was some decent humor — most of which revolves around Barry Allen/Flash. The action/fight scenes were fine. A few awesome moments here and there.

The actors all did a good job. I’d say Ezra Miller, as Flash, stood out as the best. Ray Fisher, as Cyborg, was good, but his character is so basically unemotional that it’s hard to mess it up. Jason Momoa, as Aquaman, was almost great. He brings some power, and not just the physical type, and he handled few humorous scenes well.

That being said, there’s a LOT that I don’t like about the movie.

First, why is DC in such a hurry to create the Justice League? I can understand that the studio/producers probably feel like they’re light years behind Marvel, but who cares? They have all the time in the world. There were five stand alone(ish) MCU movies before we got to the first Avengers. But the DC team just skipped over at least three standalone movies: the origin of The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Each one of those could have been a movie by themselves. Plus, a few more to introduce the mythology in the DC universe. Oh well.

My biggest gripe is that the villain is honestly plain horrible in this movie. Basically, he’s a big bad god type thing, bent on destruction. There’s absolutely no lead in. And all I could think after seeing the one minute of exposition of the villain’s origin was, “Hello, Lord of the Rings much?” Really, he’s a big bad thing bent on total domination, because he has united these three boxes. And after the three armies of Amazons, Atlantians, and men defeat him, they divide up the three boxes so they can’t be reunited again.

Besides all that, the villain is basically a prop for our heroes to crush, after an appropriate amount of struggle.

My last gripe is a potential spoiler. So scroll if you want to read more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Superman is the single worst superhero ever. He’s just too strong. Once he enters the fight at the end, it’s like playtime for him. Where’s the fun in that?