BEIRUT: James Cameron’s genius world building has taken audiences from deepest depths of the heart of the ocean, to a bleak dark future where machines have taken over, all the way to a planet far away filled with wonder and awe.
So, it is no shock, when word began to spread about his latest collaboration with Robert Rodriguez regarding the adaptation of a much-beloved manga by the name of ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL.
Looking back at anime to live action adaptations, not many have been as acclaimed as the source material they were based on, but Alita it seems may have turned the tide.
The mesmerizing adventure begins as cyberphysician Dr. IDyson do makes a scrapyard find that will change his life and Iron City forever: the discarded “cyber-core” of a girl whose body may be broken but her human brain is still barely pulsing with life.
There is not a doubt in the world that what stands out most in this film is its sheer grandiose visual design.
This film is seen through Alita’s eyes, that have an innocence and child-like wonder to them - and this why this film works so well.
At its core, this is the story of a girl who gets a second chance at life says and decides this time it will be about following her heart, and not her super advanced Nano-tech exterior.
Though built from the most advanced tech, Alita still struggles with not just her strength but also her identity, and her heart.
This is a character who should have it easy, and yet she doesn’t - she is flawed, and her flaw is her innocence and willingness to see the good and beauty in everyone.
The world of ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL is so meticulously built that it warmly welcomes its audience and doesn’t confound or feel at all strange, though it should, seeing as to how it is not only set in the very distant future, but it is inhabited by monstrous cyborgs, murderers, bounty hunters, and the evil elite.
This film is the perfect blend of vanguard digital tools, and the art of epic human storytelling.
The high-octane motorball sequences rush and excite, while the fighting sequences fuel and empower, making the audience want to join in.
Yet, what is stated above is not the only reason why this film is needed today.
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL is a feminist film done right.
It does not boast female empowerment is exhibits it in the most genuine and justified way possible, and this is what gives it its strength.
Alita, by being herself, is able to win the heart of her human companion in spite of her hard-robotic exterior, which leads her to go to any length to defend and honor that love.
Chiren, the film’s most misunderstood character, at first is willing to do whatever it takes to be sent to Zalem, the last of the great Sky cities, but then has a change of heart after she realizes that what she is at her core are a doctor and a mother. Motherhood, and caring for the living becomes her path to redemption - this is her strength.
These two women fight with honor, and power, all in the name of justice and love.
Cameron and Rodriguez combine their mutual zeal for world-building and empowered female heroines to push the possibilities of visual story-craft into a new zone.
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL pushes filmmaking to a place that’s pretty unique in cinema history; audiences will not only come to believe in Alita as a human being, but they will really get to feel like they are part of her experiences in this rich, new world of Iron City, and be moved by her resilient hope.
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