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Top 10 Reasons Why Alita Battle Angel Might Actually Blow Peoples Minds

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands

Could this be the film to break the anime adaptation curse? For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the promising things about this live-action CGI adaptation of the beloved manga and OVA, Battle Angel Alita. Many have predicted that it would be one of 2019’s biggest critical and commercial flops, but first impressions and early reviews are giving us cause to hope for the best. Here are some reasons to give it a shot! Join WatchMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Reasons Why Alita: Battle Angel Might Actually Blow People's Minds.

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Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Reasons Why Alita: Battle Angel Might Actually Blow People's Minds


Could this be the film to break the anime adaptation curse? Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Reasons Why Alita: Battle Angel Might Actually Blow People's Minds.

For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the promising things about this live-action CGI adaptation of the beloved manga and OVA, Battle Angel Alita. Many have predicted that it would be one of 2019’s biggest critical and commercial flops, but first impressions and early reviews are giving us cause to hope for the best. Here are some reasons to give it a shot!

#10: Amazing Action

The trailers for this 2019 film promised big things across a wide range of categories, including on the action front. Thankfully, at least based on an early screening reaction by Joblo.com’s Editor-in-Chief, Paul Shirey, the film delivers. In a series of enthusiastic tweets, Shirey described the Robert Rodriguez directed film as “a wild, visceral ride that offers kick-ass action”. And he isn’t the only person to have highlighted this aspect of the movie. In our modern age of excessive CGI, action sequences can lose their luster, but it seems that Rodriguez, producer James Cameron and their creative team managed to find the recipe to get it right and hopefully do the source material proud.

#9: A Memorable Score from Junkie XL

There are two types of film composers out there: those who stick to the shadows, and those who become celebrities and icons in their own right. Junkie XL fits squarely into the latter category. This Dutch DJ and composer has left his musical mark on both video games like FIFA 18, and major films, including “300: Rise of an Empire”, “Deadpool” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”. Perhaps most notably, he gave us the blistering score for George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road”. Might he have hit another home run with “Alita: Battle Angel”? Early reactions are pointing to yes.

#8: Expect a Few Cameos

When you’ve made it in the film industry like James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez, collaborators, peers, and celebrity fans are basically lining up around the block to get involved - even if only in a minor way. For us cinemagoers … that translates to cameos! And in recent years, we’ve been treated to some really remarkable ones - sometimes without even knowing it. Whether you recognized them or not, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Ellie Goulding and Edgar Wright have all appeared in recent Star Wars films, as did Princes William and Harry! There’s no word on who Rodriguez and Cameron nabbed for “Alita”, but rumor has it that we should expect a few surprises.

#7: The CGI

Wherever James Cameron is involved, you can bet that there are going to be major advances in visual effects, especially of the digital variety. Throughout his career, he’s broken new ground multiple times over, from the T-1000 in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and the sinking of the Titanic, to his mind-boggling work in creating the world of Pandora and the Na’vi people in “Avatar”. According to frequent collaborator and fellow Alita producer John Landau, “Avatar” was a technological stepping stone to the creation of Alita. From the trailers, the CGI work on the titular character looks unlike anything seen before, and early reactions confirm that it’s yet another leap forward in terms of VFX.

#6: The Performances

Ask even the most talented actors working in the industry today about motion capture performances, and those who have tried their hand at it will tell you: it’s an entirely different type of acting. Andy Serkis is widely considered a pioneer in the field, and thankfully, his company Weta Digital was involved in helping to bring the mo-cap performances of Alita to life. Rosa Salazar plays Alita, and her performance in particular is supposed to be “amazingly nuanced”. Of course, this film blends mo-cap with traditional performances, and with Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz playing Alita’s adoptive father figure, you can bet that there’ll be multiple performances worthy of discussion.

#5: A Must-See in IMAX

In this age of high quality streaming services, many people are perfectly content to wait for the movies to leave theaters in favor of watching it at home. While we can appreciate the comfort of a good couch and proximity to the fridge, there are some movies that need to be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated - and “Alita: Battle Angel” sounds like one of them. In fact, like “Avatar”, even the regular old big screen might not be large enough to do this film justice. According to those lucky enough to see an advanced screening, “Alita: Battle Angel” is the sort of film well worth seeing in IMAX.

#4: Emotional Weight

Though the cutting edge CGI is sure to make “Alita: Battle Angel” a spectacular visual experience, a film can’t connect with its audience on technological wizardry alone. For a film to really resonate and leave a lasting impression, it needs an emotionally-driven story. If the various trailers have set out to convey one thing, it’s that despite all the action, this film is one grounded by a deeply personal story about identity and acceptance. Alita might be a cyborg, but she’s an emotionally complex character - a cyborg with heart and nuanced relationships. Where so many recent blockbuster films have failed to make us care for the hero, “Alita” clearly aims to be different.

#3: The Characters

What drives emotional stories are of course the characters. Even with stunning visuals, and detailed world-building, a movie is DOA without compelling characters that we can actually relate to. Fortunately, Alita has been described as a complex protagonist by those lucky enough to see an early screening. Better still, she’s joined by a colorful assortment of both human and cyborg characters who all seem well-developed and distinct. From the aforementioned Christoph Waltz’ Dr. Dyson Ido, and Alita’s love interest Hugo, to the cyborgs Grewishka and Zapan - played by Jackie Earle Haley and Ed Skrein respectively - Alita looks to be in memorable company.

#2: The 3D

This particular piece of film technology remains divisive, even over a decade after its widespread introduction. Some feel that it adds an extra layer of richness to the cinematic experience, while others find it drab and even nauseating - an unremarkable cash grab that provides an excuse to charge an extra few bucks a ticket. While not all 3D is created equal, there’s no denying that 2009’s “Avatar” made great use of the technology, and from early reactions, it seems that “Alita: Battle Angel” may be its spiritual successor in that regard - the next film to really do something great with 3D cinema.

#1: It's a Live Action Anime Adaptation that Actually Works

Western adaptations of popular anime and manga have not fared well in theaters, typically failing on three counts: at the the box office, with critics and with fans of the source material. In addition to the general concerns about whitewashing, such adaptations tend to oversimplify complex plots, dilute the weirder aspects of properties to appeal to wider audiences, or just totally botch the supernatural, sci-fi or other surreal VFX-reliant elements. The early word though is that “Alita: Battle Angel” is crafted with more care and attention to detail than similar adaptations before it. After seeing the film, DC Daily’s Hector Navarro tweeted “More anime/manga adaptations like this please!” Only time will tell, but we sure hope so!
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