Tuesday, March 19, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 2

Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review


Where is it playing?: Hi-Way Drive-In

What's it rated?: PG-13

What's it worth?: $ Matinee

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)


Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, Spy Kids, Sin City, Planet Terror) directs Rosa Salazar as Alita, a half human and half advanced cyborg, who finds vengeance for the people of the post-apocalyptic world, Iron City, while finding out about her past. The movie is a live-action film adaptation of Gunnm, the Japanese cyberpunk manga series by Yukito Kishiro, also known as Battle Angle Alita in its English translated versions.

Alita is filled with action sequences that make us all feel good about sticking it to the man, or literally slicing the bad guys in half, but the plot’s delivery falls short.

It’s the year 2563, and, after a worldwide war known as The Fall, there are only two remaining cities: Iron City, a dismal dystopia on Earth, and, hovering above it, Zalem, an elite floating city run by Nova (Edward Norton). Apparently no one knows what Zalem is like because no one has been able to go up there since The Fall.

All of Zalem’s trash (robotic arms, eyes, chests … you name it) falls down to a scrap yard in Iron City. Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) is often going through the yard looking for replacement parts for his patients.

That’s the weird thing in this post-apocalyptic world, which is supposedly the last city on Earth: a lot of its inhabitants have some sort of robotic body part.

On one of his trips, he stumbles upon a live core (head and brain) of a young woman. He gives her a robotic body, one that he was going to give to his wheelchair-bound daughter, but she died before he was finished, so he gave it to the core and named her Alita (after his late daughter).

Alita doesn’t have a single memory of her past, but she does have an instinct for combat and does not shy away from a fight. Dr. Ido becomes her father figure and quickly tries to shield her from learning of her past. She’s a berserker—a cyborg built for battle—and the last of that kind.

Before she discovers her true self, she inevitably falls in love with bad boy Hugo (Keean Johnson) and motorball—a game that resembles football on rollerblades, but you’re not on a team and if you get ripped to pieces, too bad so freaking sad because you’re poor and probably can’t afford good replacement parts. The catch of motorball is that if you get to the championship game and win, you have a chance to go up to Zalem.

Throughout the film, the ruler of Zalem, Nova, has these weird glasses that not only make his eyeballs look freakishly microscopic, they give him the ability to look through the eyes of people in Iron City. He’s constantly keeping an eye on and basically being a puppeteer of certain people, so he’s a futuristic Big Brother.

While the overall plot of the film is interesting, about an hour was spent just hashing out Alita taking in her new body and world. It didn’t leave much time for the end, which felt extremely abrupt and, of course, left us on a cliffhanger.

I think that once Alita finds out who she is and the mission she’s had since her creation, it becomes overshadowed by her infatuation of Hugo—she’s in love, we get it.

When I first saw the trailers for this movie I was extremely skeptical because of its animation and Alita’s ginormous eyeballs, but it really took me back to A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Similar to that film is the cliché sentiment of “Can a human love a robot?” and vice versa. The storylines within Alita, and there are a few, aren’t revolutionary, but I’m here for the in-your-face action scenes, which are spectacular.

I will say that if there is a sequel in the works, I won’t be angry about it and would definitely see it in theaters. (122 min.)

—Karen Garcia 

Weekly Poll
The Santa Maria Library can now help you with getting a passport. What other services should it add?

It should let me rent video games.
Extend the hours it's open.
Offer yoga classes so I can stretch out while I read.
Put in a bar!

| Poll Results