walking around and believed in the world that was being shown off. The VFX were great considering I felt like this was a real place filled with tons of animals. It also had major Zootopia vibes—that scene where Judy first arrives is almost recreated here. This film has all the production to be taken seriously; it's shot on film and people cared while making it; all of which lends itself for the audience to enjoy it.
The problems come down to almost everything else. The plot was paper-thin. It was structured like how a child would tell a story, with them constantly going, "and then, and then, and then". Which really bleeds into how the characters came across because they came off as pretty basic. The dialogue is to blame since in some scenes, you could tell actors were trying to do a good job with the material that they were given. It must have been the script considering the dialogue just sucked. It wasn't even that funny of a movie with all the best parts being in the trailer. Any attempt at a joke that wasn't already shown didn't even make me giggle.
For all the praise I gave the CGI for bringing Pokémon to life, there is a sequence hinted at in the trailer that was awful. The whole thing looked fake and I don't understand how you make a forest seem unbelievable. The music, while not super great, does incorporate sounds from the games as a motif which can't be picked up when watching the movie. Finally, Ryan Reynolds isn't just doing Deadpool without cursing, he adds a lighter touch and smooths out the edges in his delivery.
It comes off more like a kids movie than anything, which isn't bad, but foregoes any depth to keeps adults invested. As pure eye candy and entertainment, it works. If you follow the brand or have children, this could be a good enough experience to see this in the theater. If you have never even heard of Pokémon other than when people were standing in the streets with their phones, this is not for you. As someone who has had some contact with the property and is a sucker for good CGI, I was entertained enough.
I guess you can say that the movie wasn't electrifying
proportions being off to smoothing of the skin, and audio dissonance. Another small detail that bugged me came in the form of wet clothing. When a shirt gets wet, it hugs your body and sags a little bit. There is a scene where Alita is in wet clothing and this does not happen. It might sound like nitpicking but its the small details that can break immersion.
The story is a mixed bag. It does a fantastic job westernizing modern Japanese storytelling. It takes the tropes seen in that style and smoothes them out to great effect. Though it still has characters apologize for things that aren’t their fault, and tons of other crutches that Japanese storytelling uses. I didn’t find it as jarring as other reviewers have because I watch anime, but it could definitely be weird for someone not used to it. This explanation doesn’t absolve the movie of all its story problems, it's just to point out one of the sources of them.
All cards on the table, Alita is a mary sue. She never loses a fight and is good at everything, except eating an orange. There were striking similarities to Ray from The Force Awakens. The wide-eyed, literally in this case, person new to a world and finding out they are the best at everything they do. There are essentially no stakes for Alita which makes it hard to ever feel she is in danger. I would say that this is normal in anime, but at least the main character loses once in a while or grows as a character. You could say that information is revealed about Alita as the movie goes on, but this isn’t really true. You learn everything you need to know about the character at the beginning of the second act, so there is no more discovery.
It's not like this is the movie’s only story problem, there are dumb character relationships spread throughout. Unconvincing love interests, family relationships, and characters that go through a change of heart all fall flat.
If there is one thing that could have saved this movie, it would have been the action scenes. There are many in this movie and half of them are not very good. The ones that entertain the least have a problem with shot composition or editing. Either the flow of the fight is obscured by how the sequence was edited or the framing of the fight lead to confusion. When the fights were at there best, they were flashy, involved, and had a great weight to them.
Alita: Battle Angle was a interesting movie for sure. I think it's a little on the lower side all things considered but definitely shows a path forward for high budget anime done justice. The real problem is that the people willing to spend money to see the movie in the theater is a small pool. If you want to see a movie about an overpowered character beat everything up this might be the one for you. At least it's visually more interesting than The Force Awakens.
I don't understand how that city floats. Does it have propulsion on the bottom or is it just magic?