This month saw the release of a film that’s been on the horizon since 2003, Alita: Battle Angel.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez and written/produced by James Cameron, the film is a live-action adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s 1990s manga series Gunnm (aka Battle Angel Alita). However, while the source material is quite beloved by diehard manga and anime fans, the movie itself is taking a bit of a beating from critics.
Are the critics right, though? Is Alita: Battle Angel a mediocre, borderline bad film that’s worthy of its unimpressive 60 percent Rotten Tomatoes score? We here at Epicstream certainly don’t think so. So, with that in mind, here are five reasons critics are wrong about Alita: Battle Angel:
It’s Entertaining, as All Movies Should Be
Movies can be a lot of things. They can be funny, action-packed, dramatic, sad, beautiful or any combination of these. Above all else, though, movies should be entertaining, and Alita: Battle Angel is certainly that. Even a number of critics who panned the film for its script and story still conceded that it was an enjoyable viewing experience overall, and if you can leave the theater feeling like you got your money’s worth (especially considering the cost of movie tickets today), that’s a win.Advertisement
It’s a Faithful Anime/Manga Adaptation
Say what you will about James Cameron, but one thing you can’t say is that he doesn’t have a clear appreciation for Alita: Battle Angel’s source material. Long before Robert Rodriguez was brought onboard, it was Cameron that was pushing for this film to be made, and the end result is a faithful live-action manga adaptation in a day and age where many such projects fail tremendously (looking at you, Ghost in the Shell and Death Note). Do Cameron and Rodriguez take some liberties? Of course, but none of them detract from the sanctity of the original manga.
Rosa Salazar Delivers an Excellent Performance
While not all of the performances in Alita: Battle Angel are standouts, there’s no denying Rosa Salazar completely owns the role of the eponymous cyborg. Despite the motion capture, you find yourself fully immersed in her character, at which point suspension of disbelief becomes second nature and you truly believe this wide-eyed, cybernetic organism is every bit as human as the rest of the cast. That’s an achievement in and of itself, given how often otherwise great films are derailed by distracting and unbelievable CGI characters.
It’s a Visual Spectacle
Speaking of CGI, it’s worth noting that Alita: Battle Angel is perhaps the most revolutionary visual achievement since Avatar, but with far greater action sequences. Nevertheless, some critics have knocked the movie for taking a style-over-substance approach. At the end of the day, though, film is a visual medium, and while the story is undeniably important, you can’t underestimate the power of Alita’s breathtaking aesthetic.
The Good Outweighs the Bad
All things considered, there’s far more working in favor of Alita: Battle Angel than against it. Sure, the narrative isn’t the strongest, but it’s still good, and it’s elevated even further when paired with the stunning visuals and faithful adherence to the source material. While it might not go down in history, Alita: Battle Angel is a great film.