So I stopped my Amiga fun time to watch a film about a character
with a name the same length as the Amiga and even sharing three
of the letters. Sadly that is where the fun stopped. I review this
film simply cus it drifts into the cyber punk world of Manga and
Anime ( supposedly ) set in a futuristic fictional world. So it
really is fair game for my rabbit hole.
Here goes. Lots of spoilers.
First up there is no Japanese cyber pop culture in this game. The
robot girl has big eyes but even they are not the right shape.
This is western style comic book action adventure that kinda
muddles an otherwise quite intriguing story. I would have preferred
to have read the original comic or at least the story board.
And what is wrong:
I knew I was going to be force fed explanations of logic the minute
a date was put on the first opening scene. Do we really need to
place a futuristic SciFi movie into context. I thought we were
over this crap. Sadly, and no offence to the makers of the movie,
but why does everything have to be explained and set against
current technological understanding. The reason why Star Wars was
so successful is cus it was set in a 'Galaxy far away' and that
was all you needed to know. This film has some sky cities that
drop their garbage out onto the surface of the world. The surface
is supposed to be hostile and yet it appears on the face of it
not only to be very similar to most overcrowded modern cities,
but also is surrounded by lush green beautiful landscape.
The robot head of Alita has a brain that is human tissue, I assume,
and yet was lying on the surface of a garbage pile that had been
there for 300 years. And the human tissue was still OK. The guy
that finds her just happens to be a robot specialist that also
has a very good understanding of what she was originally. Also,
other than his wife, they appear to be the best in their field.
Already the film has created giants of super stature living as
they do amongst the downtrodden and lesser mortals.
The journey of this robot girl from rubbish pile to superhero
takes all of a matter of days, and in that time she also becomes
the most wanted robot on the streets. I call her a robot but I
just see her as a Disney style animated puppet. There is no logic
to her being, not any structure to her development. She can recall
nothing but is fully capable of playing ball games and understanding
language and irony. And all in a blink of her wide eyes.
The point of the film revolves around a desire to get off the
the surface and yet those that can do so appear to be robotic
'half-noids' that have been created like Frankenstein monsters from
scraps butchered from other metaloids wandering the streets at
night. If the idea of the film was to portray a hostile violent
world filled with half machine like creatures then it failed.
Sadly films like these just think you can introduce a bad guy
in a bar by spouting out facts of his kills and you are to
just going to be filled with dread at their vicious nature. And
yet, much like the guys in the bar brawl in Terminator the viewer
just knows they are fight fodder. Bit like the henchmen and thugs
in the 'A Team'. No offence again to the makers of the movie but
surely everyone just gets sick of base thugs with no brains
littering the hostile world as fodder for super heroes. It's just
so lazy in terms of writing.
My biggest gripe is the way we have a handful of characters that
have very little stage presence that wander into the story as
stereotypical characters with no explanation as to their true
significance in the story, and who are closely bound by other
characters that already fill the main character's universe. It's
the kinda nonsense that had the new Kirk drop onto a large
planet and just happen to run into a cave with Spock. I mean in
the vast universe what are the chances. And so the film Alita
does not elaborate, but the players in the film are already
pigeon holed into serious meaningful characters and also the
head of their respective teams. Inherent superhero status.
And to finer points....
Jet propelled hammer... Crazy idea, crap effects, and about as
convincing as the guy wielding it. And the whole concept of
street hunter on the prowl for robotic miscreants was so bonkers.
We have a population who appear to go about their normal daily
lives and then at night go to killer race ball games, featuring
half demented robotic cyborg humanoid things, in a game that
appears to simply involve getting a ball to the end of the
circuit. There is no structure of teams in the game, no real
significance. The ball is irrelevant as the players are simply
trying to survive traversing the circuit. She asks the guys
to go easy on her.... She has no knowledge of the game nor is
introduced to any team members. So she sets off with all
these death robots in the knowledge that she has to survive.
How else do you think the guy with rotating blades on his
hand is going to carry the bloody ball. Just watch the Big
Bang episode about Barry Kripke's robot. [ poor Monty ]
The film had no natural flow. It was staccato and fragmented.
There was no sense of wanting to be supportive of their plight
as I really couldn't see a plight that made any sense. The
whole idea that you could escape to sky city needed a much more
oppressive regime on the surface to make that believable. The
story lacked any serious credibility.
OK... let me paint a different picture. A 'Nier Automata' style
film. The salvaging of robot parts is illegal. The whole of the
surface is patrolled by robots and they will kill anyone that
has evidence of robotic adaptations. Against the laws of the
world our doctor tries to help those mutilated by the evil
overseers in their barbaric use of innocents in the arena.
There are those that do live the life of luxury and they enjoy
the sight of humans being slaughtered by super robotic half
Our doctor salvages what he can from the rubbish and comes across
a half body of a girl that had simply been thrown out with the
trash. She didn't need any back story. The tension was how he
nurtures her, educates her and makes her whole, whilst never
divulging to anyone she even exists. He is able to hide her
The villains of this world are evil beyond evil and the guy
she befriends is one of those villains. He does not let on what
he does but he is no better than the rest. The story can portray
the hostile and violent world to a greater depth. There is no
'spaceballs' game. There is just an arena for watching super
metaloids kill normal human beings.
Amongst the bad guys is a superbad guy. He never reveals himself
till the end and he is suspicious of the doctor and also
becomes most interested in the girl. She is a genetic mutant
and he believes would please his masters if placed in the
I can well see a moment in the story where she is destroyed
in the arena, and maybe the supposed wife of the doctor could
take pity on her and give her a robotic body much more enhanced
than the one she had. I don't think that the significance of
her super powers are important. She has a good soul and a
powerful mind and will win the day. She must warm the hearts of
her people and turn them against the robot supremacy. It would
be more meaningful to make the surface better than the sky city
and she can stand proud in the arena having defeated the evil
that reveals itself at the end. [ Bit like the death of Mr Smith ]
All the efforts of Alita, the doctor, his estranged wife and
boy that becomes Han Solo as they overthrow their masters
is a far more powerful story, than a kid trying to walk up a tube.
The idea had great potential but failed cus it somehow wanted
to explain what it was and shoe-horn everything into a stereo
typical action story. For me the robot in iRobot was more of
a sympathetic character than Alita.
Anyhoo.. I didn't like the film at all. It was crap. And on
the ' rotton scuzzometer ' rating it scored 3 out of 10.
They could have based the film around the spider chick in the
red cape. That would have been better. Also evil can transcend
the light. We don't always have to be on the side of the good
guy. Its quite pathetic how schoolkids in the playground is
all we ever see in films these days. Mr Cameron... I'm not sure
what Manga comix you read, but you missed the point. And why
was the cast 'western stylie' for goodness sake.
One last thing... what was the point of the close up of that
guys face at the end. .... Hopefully there isn't going to be
more of this garbage.
PS I wasn't trying to slight western interpretation by the way it's
just that the film opens by suggesting that the place that is
the setting for this film is made up of all nations of the world.
And yet in the end it may as well have been 'Sunnydale' with robot
vampires. The main cast has a very western feel and with the Men
in Black large door and with the Wesley Snipes Blade character
it was just hacking into themes from the past. Films like these
should not be afraid to throw off the shackles and be more cyber
punk goth Manga - stylie. I'm sure that is where it has its origins.
And please understand what you are eating before playing with your
food ... And I don't mean that in the literal sense. Think about it.
...Er sorry one more PPS. Good thing Star Wars was made when it was
or Luke Skywalker would have been a girl. I really have no issue with
females in stories, but they should have strong characters if they
are going to carry the day. This girl was more like Raj Koothrappali's
first girl friend that he picked up at the comic book shop. It's the
reason I stopped watching the later Star Wars films, the last Tomb
Raider film and Doctor Who. I definitely won't be partaking of the
latest Terminator film. Yet Wonder Woman... now that's different.