Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

I have a very important message for all my tens of fans!

This movie SUCKS!

Oh my gosh, where to start???  As a disclaimer, I’m going to try my hardest to avoid spoilers, but there are some so if you want to go in unbiased, stop now.  If you want to avoid the biggest one, mainly skip this section.  It’s not hard; just stop reading now and go down to the next section:

Here it is.  In all fairness to Alita, Battle Angel, I will admit that I have a cardinal movie rule that, if broken, will cause me to hate the movie and, on some occasions, even walk out.  I’m not going to say what it is, but it caused me to turn off House of Cards before I ever even got halfway through the first episode and I still to this day refuse to see a certain very well-received, beloved series of movies that rhymes with Von Brick because of it.  There—if you figure it out it’s on you, I did my best to be vague.  But you know what I’m talking about…  I won’t say whether or not this movie shows that, but it was close enough and it made me hate it even more.  What’s worse is they had a perfect way to make it right, but didn’t. Bastards…

Enough of that, moving on.

So, if I were to say to you I just saw a movie that basically boiled down to a giant cyborg gladiator roller derby, you would say to me, “Scott, how could you possibly not appreciate such an original, exciting take on science fiction.”

Easy—there’s not a thing in this movie that’s original (except for possibly some very advanced yoga) or exciting (except for me getting to watch as it inevitably crashes and burns).

Then you would say, “They’re calling it a love story!  Isn’t that worth talking about?”

Let me sum this up for you:  girl meets street thug bad boy who whisks her away on his motor-unicycle.  It’s basically Mallory Keaten and Nick-the-Artist from Family Ties all over again.  Congratulations on managing to remind me of something that was boring back in the ’80s.  And let me just also say that if this is a love story, then that makes the titular Alita character one of the craziest psycho girlfriends in the history of film, up to and including Glenn Close.  At one point Alita actually pulls her heart out of her chest and offers it to her scum bag loser boyfriend who she just met approximately 48 hours earlier.  I would call her “doe-eyed,” but that would just play into the awful art direction, so I’ll only say, “Chillax, girl.  Let him put a ring on it before we start talking about organ donation.”

You would argue, “No, Scott, no!  It looks like it has great action!”

It’s a roller derby.  A giant, Speed Racer-esque roller derby, plain and simple.  There’s a scene where her father/doctor/bounty hunter/mechanic/life coach(?) literally outfitted her with roller blades and a helmet in a locker room.  She might as well have been called Hermione Danger: Battle Angel.

You would persist, “But there’s a kick-ass female warrior robot!”

This is where I really want to give them some credit, but she was just an amnesiac version of River Tam with a  better attitude and less mental trauma (in spite of being cut in half and thrown in a scrap yard).

You would end your argument by saying, “But Scott, you love science fiction!”

True, true.  But this movie included what can best be described as a back-alley brain transplant.  I mean, come on.  It reminded me of a gag they did in Soap Dish.  I like the whole Altered Carbon idea of the whole thing, but why wouldn’t I just watch Altered Carbon (which, incidentally, was unspeakably better and had a way hotter male lead).  Plus, and I’ve said this a million times, why does everything always have to be so dystopian all the time?  I’ll give them credit for at least making this horrible future’s backstory interesting, but that one little ray of interest got no play in a movie that if anything was already running amok of wildly unrelated plot strands.  So why not get more into the one good one?

And I lied, there are actually two cardinal rules that will make me hate a movie and Alita: Battle Angel broke both.  This one isn’t exactly a spoiler so I’ll even say it in all caps to make my point:  DON’T MAKE A MOVIE WITH A CLIFFHANGER UNLESS YOU KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO GET A SEQUEL!  You deserve to get Golden Compassed, you presumptuous asses.  Of course, if they do make a sequel, then I will be positively giddy at the prospect of not seeing it, so it’s a win-win for me.

Now that I’ve completed my rant, I will say my husband loved it and thinks I am being too harsh.  He referred to it as a good “popcorn movie.”  That may be so, but for the record I ate a giant bucket of popcorn while I sat through this dumpster fire and it did not make me enjoy it any more.

On the bright side, it was an awful science fiction movie that prompted me to write my first book.  I left the theater thinking, “If you want something done right…”  With that in mind, perhaps this travesty of cinema will be the inspiration for me to finish my second.  Of course, I don’t suppose there’s any hope of James Cameron buying the movie rights now.  Sorry, Mr. Cameron!  I liked…the cast?  And I loved Avatar! (aside from the dragon-raping…)

Alita Battle Angel

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