Live action anime adaptations do not have the best reputation.
They often end in failure by making so many changes to the story and characters that the film is almost unrecognizable from its source material.
Case and point, Dragonball: Evolution and Death Note.
However, this does not appear to be the case with the latest anime adaptation Alita: Battle Angel.
I cannot say that this film mostly adheres to the source material, because I have not read the manga or watched the anime, and some things obviously had to be changed for the film, but it still felt like I was watching an anime series in movie form.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron, Alita: Battle Angel follows the titular Alita (Rosa Salazar), a cyborg who sets out to uncover her past, while sinister forces attempt to kill her.
The film is a visual spectacle with many stunning shots.
Alita herself is completely CG and, while there is the occasional uncanny valley effect, it often looks incredible.
Her struggles and relationships with the other characters also does enough to get you to invest in the story and where it goes.
This is helped by a great cast, among them Christoph Waltz, Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connely and Ed Skrein, as supporting characters.
As a result of these characters and the way scenes are shot, the action is especially thrilling, with my favourite scene of the movie being a battle between Alita and another cyborg Grewishka (Jackie Earl Haley).
However, even though I am throwing a heap of praise at Alita: Battle Angel, there are sadly a lot of problems.
I said that the film felt like it was adapting a lot from the manga and anime and this causes it to have a very fast pace.
As a result, storylines begin and end very quickly, without much time to take in the impact of it all.
All the story that gets thrown in also makes the film feel a bit too long, with the third act having so many action sequences that I am not sure which one of them is supposed to be the climax.
Another feature that suffers from this fast pace is the character arcs.
Specifically those of Connely and Keean Johnson’s characters.
These two have very similar arcs but, although they have a beginning and end, there is no middle.
Because of this, their characters just seem to quickly change with no build up.
It felt like there should have been a few more additional scenes to make these arcs flow better.
Along with this there, is a storyline line concerning Johnson’s character Hugo, which I found to be rather pointless, considering how it ends.
There are also negative effects to the positive I mentioned earlier that Alita: Battle Angel felt like an anime series in move format.
Because, while some things may work in an anime, this does not mean they will work in a film.
This caused many of the scenes and lines to produce quite a bit of cringe.
I found the line, “I do not stand by in the presence of evil”, to be particularly eye rolling.
Despite these problems though, I would still recommend Alita: Battle Angel.
Like I said, it is a visual spectacle, Alita is an interesting character, and the action scenes are thrilling.
Just do not expect this film to get a sequel because, even though it sets one up, I highly doubt it is going to make back the immense amount of money this movie cost so the studio will not want to risk it.
Alita: Battle Angel has its issues, but it is still one of the better live action anime adaptations.