New Podcast – ‘Joker’ Trailer, ‘Pet Sematary’ & ‘Shazam!’ Spoiler Free Thoughts

The Podcast is back!!

The Movie Pit Podcast returns after a long, and unwanted, hiatus. I explain why the hiatus was that long. Enjoy everybody.

Advertisements

April Movie Releases

Well hello there!

It’s April, and to some studios apparently, it’s the unofficial start of the Summer Movie Season. That said, this year could really take the cake, as Marvel once again is putting their big cash cow at the end of the month. Let’s take a look shall we?

 

5th

Limited Release: Amazing Grace

A musical documentary presenting Aretha Franklin with choir at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972.

 

Limited Release: High Life

A father and his daughter struggle to survive in deep space where they live in isolation. Robert Pattinson, Andre Benjamin, Mia Goth and Juliette Binoche star.

 

Limited Release: Teen Spirit

Written and directed by actor Max Minghella (The Social Network, TV series The Mindy Project and The Handmaid’s Tale); Violet (played by Elle Fanning) is a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion to sing. With her help of an unlikely mentor, she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition. Teen Spirit also stars Rebecca Hall.

 

The Best of Enemies

Based on the book by Osha Gray Davidson and true events; civil rights activist Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson) faces off against C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell), Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, in 1971 Durham, North Carolina over the issue of school integration. The Best of Enemies co-stars Sope Aluko, John Gallagher Jr., Wes Bentley, Anne Heche, Nick Searcy and Bruce McGill.

 

Pet Sematary

Synopsis: Based on the novel by Stephen King, Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.

Thoughts: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Pet Sematary, so when I heard a remake was in the works, I was actually looking forward it. Then the trailer came out and I was interested. Then this last trailer came out, which upped everything from the first trailer and any sort of expectation I had about the movie. Hopefully, the movie turns out great.

 

Shazam!

Synopsis: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM! – this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi). Directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation), Shazam! co-stars Jack Dylan Grazer, Mark Strong, Grace Fulton and Djimon Hounsou.

Thoughts: the DCEU has taken enough blows by now that it’s become commonplace, so it gets a little hard to get excited for any new movie, despite how good the trailers are. Shazam! unfortunately falls into that category. As much as the movie looks fun and different, I’m not holding my breath too much.

 

12th

Limited Release: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

A spinoff of the Ip Man films and directed by Woo-Ping Yeun; while keeping a low profile after his defeat from Ip Man, Cheung Tin Chi (Jin Zhang) gets into trouble after getting in a fight with a powerful foreigner (Dave Bautista). The film also stars Tony Jaa and Michelle Yeoh.

 

After

Based on the novel by Anna Todd – which came from a fan fiction site about Harry Styles – a young woman (Josephine Langford) falls for a guy (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) with a dark secret and the two embark on a rocky relationship. After is filled with newcomers or unknowns, expect big names like Jennifer Beals and Selma Blair.

 

Missing Link

Mr. Link (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) recruits explorer Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) to help find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La. Along with adventurer Adelina Fortnight (voiced by Zoe Saldana), this trio of explorers travel the world to help their new friend. The rest of the voice cast includes Timothy Olyphant, Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas and Emma Thompson.

 

Little

What seems like a riff on the film Big, a woman (Regina Hall) is transformed into her younger self (Marsai Martin) at a point in her life when the pressures of adulthood become too much to bear. Little co-stars Issa Rae, Justin Hartley and Tone Bell.

 

Hellboy

Synopsis: Based on the Dark Horse comic book by Mike Mignola, and directed by Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent, TV series Game of Thrones, Hannibal, Westworld); caught between the worlds of supernatural and human, Hellboy (David Harbour) battles an ancient sorceress (Milla Jovovich) bent on revenge. Hellboy co-stars Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim, Penelope Mitchell, Alistair Petrie, Brian Gleeson, Sophie Okonedo and Ian McShane.

Thoughts: Despite still wanting that last Guillermo del Toro-directed Hellboy movie, this reboot has me pretty damn excited! David Harbour looks like a great new Hellboy, Ian McShane as Professor Broom and Milla Jovovich as a villain are nice touches.

 

17th

Penguins

The story of Steve, an Adelie penguin, on a quest to find a life partner and start a family when Steven meets with Wuzzo the emperor penguin they become friends. But nothing comes easy in the icy Antarctic.

 

Breakthrough

Based on the true story; when her 14-year-old John Smith (Marcel Ruiz) drowns in a lake, a faithful mother (Chrissy Metz) prays for him to come back from the brink of death and be healed. The film co-stars Josh Lucas, Mike Colter, Topher Grace and Dennis Haysbert.

 

 

19th

Limited Release: Little Woods

A modern Western that follows two sisters, Ollie (Tessa Thompson) and Deb (Lily James), who are driven to work outside the law to better their lives. For years Ollie has illicitly helped the struggling residents of her North Dakota oil boomtown access Canadian health care and medication. When the authorities catch on, she plans to abandon her crusade, only to be dragged in even deeper after a desperate plea for help from her sister. Little Woods co-stars James Badge Dale, Luke Kirby and Lance Reddick.

 

Limited Release: Under the Silver Lake

Sam (Andrew Garfield), intelligent but without purpose, finds a mysterious woman (Riley Keough) swimming in his apartment’s pool one night. The next morning, she disappears. Sam sets off across LA to find her, and along the way he uncovers a conspiracy far more bizarre. Directed by David Robert Mitchell (It Follows), the film co-stars Jimmi Simpson, Sydney Sweeney, Grace Van Patten, Riki Lindhome, Callie Hernandez and Topher Grace.

 

The Curse of La Llorona

Synopsis: Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker (Linda Cardellini) and her own children are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm. The Curse of La Llorona co-stars Tony Amendola, Raymond Cruz, Sean Patrick Thomas and Patricia Velasquez.

Thoughts: I grew up knowing the folktale of La Llorona. This isn’t the first movie about her, but it is the first big budget studio movie and from everything so far, I’m looking forward to it.

 

26th

Avengers: Endgame

Synopsis: After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War, the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.

Thoughts: I mean, do I really need to put anything here? Do I?

 

What are you looking forward to?

‘Captain Marvel’ Review

Directors: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Writers: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet

Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Lashana Lynch, Clark Gregg, Gemma Chan, Djimon Hounsou, Rune Temte, Algenis Perez-Soto, Jude Law and Annette Bening

Synopsis: Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review. There are also two post-credit scenes.*

 

Marvel’s twenty-first film in their ever expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe finally has their first female-led superhero film. Not only that, it is a prequel to the whole MCU showing the events before we met Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in Iron Man, the MCU’s first film – although timeline wise, Captain America is still the first (for now), but let’s move pass that. So how does the pseudo-origin story of Captain Marvel fair? Let’s find out.

Captain Marvel follows “Vers” (Brie Larson), a member of the Kree Starforce, whose main purpose is to stop the shape-shifting alien race Skrulls, who they are in war with. While on a mission to recover someone with important information with her team, led by mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), they’re ambushed and Vers is eventually set crash lading to Earth in 1995. On the run from the Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), Vers teams up with a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to search for Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening) a scientist whose work could end the Kree-Skrull war, but also holds the key to Vers’ past – a past she can’t remember since being on the Kree home plant Hala for six years.

Captain Marvel is interesting on a lot of fronts because on one end, the movie is an origin film for the character, who some people may not know. On top of that, Captain Marvel’s origin and history has changed every now and then, and the movie takes bits from the top main three origins of the character. On the other end, “Vers” already has her powers and knows how to use them, so the story just dives right into the action. That said, there are things that could have been touched on a little more in Vers’ story once she finds out who she really is. There is where the movie falls into some pitfalls and essentially makes Carol Danvers a somewhat less interesting person. It’s not Brie Larson’s fault, it’s the script that doesn’t really let the moments breathe the way it should.

Speaking of Larson, she handles this massive role with ease. Larson brings the right amount of everything a scene and the role requires. She’s equal parts funny, quick-witted and take no crap attitude, but also has enough believability to her that we’re rooting for you until the end. Her chemistry with some of the cast also keeps the movie going, more specifically, with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury. The two bounce off each other extremely well, and it’s with Fury that Carol Danvers comes out, but it’s through other characters that we find out who she is, and not herself finding out who she is. That said, I do want to mention that the de-aging effect used on Jackson – and Clark Gregg’s returning Agent Coulson – is particularly seamless, that it’s damn impressive and it never really falters. Which unfortunately can’t be said for the end of the movie where some of the CGI looks a little too wonky, but I’ll take that as inexperience from directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who have mostly done low to mid-budget independent movies.

The only other character that Larson really bounces off of is Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau, Carol’s best friend from her days in Air Force, who has a daughter that also tells Carol who she was before she disappeared from Earth and ended up with the Kree. The rest of the supporting cast is fine, but a lot of them don’t get enough screen time although Captain Marvel belongs to Brie Larson. Jude Law’s Yon-Rogg isn’t in the movie enough to really grasp an idea about him, while Ben Mendelsohn’s Skrull leader Talos has a lot more to do with the story than you think, and also touches on a big comic storyline. Annette Bening’s Doctor character also plays a huge role in the movie, but it’s basically a long cameo.

Speaking of cameos, Lee Pace’s Ronan returns in a nothing role, along with Djimon Hounsou’s Korath. Sure Korath is in the Starfleet Force, but the whole team doesn’t really do too much, which is shame since this could have been a cool new team to have set up in the universe. It’s also a waste of Gemma Chan’s Minn-Erva.

Of course, Captain Marvel has had its outcry of blind negatively lately from people who can’t take seeing a female superhero on screen in her own movie. Or because they think the movie will pass along a feminist message. Honestly, either one is really dumb especially considering that the character of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel is very interesting and has some great comic stories. If you honestly give in to these ideas, then how about you actually watch the movie first to form an articulate and meaningful contribution. Is there a message? Probably, and yeah, but it’s not like it takes away from the movie or stops and says “LOOK AT THIS MESSAGE OOO.”

All in all, Captain Marvel is another good addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Brie Larson owns the role of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, and her chemistry with the seamless de-aged Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury keeps the movie up and running. Yes, the movie has flaws, but not enough to really say the movie is bad or the worst movie in the Cinematic Universe. Also, Goose the cat.

Captain Marvel

4 out of 5

March Movie Releases

Hello there!

Can you believe it’s March already? Anyway, besides it being my birth month(!) there are some great films coming out in March that we can look forward to. Also, a large amount of limited releases to some big films, plus I’m doing something a little different in terms of my thoughts about some of the films. Hopefully it’s a little easier to read than a big block of text, and like other times, I won’t be giving my thoughts on every movie. So let’s start shall we?

 

1st

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral

Synopsis: A joyous family reunion becomes a hilarious nightmare as Madea and the crew travel to backwoods Georgia, where they find themselves unexpectedly planning a funeral that might unveil unsavory family secrets.

Thoughts: I’ve never seen any of the Madea movies, but Tyler Perry has said this will be the last Madea movie because it’s time to move on from the character he’s played for some time now.

 

Greta

Synopsis: Directed by Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire), a young woman (Chloe Grace Moretz) befriends a lonely widow (Isabelle Huppert) who’s harboring a dark and deadly agenda towards her. Greta co-stars Maika Monroe, Zawe Ashton, Colm Feore and Stephen Rea.

Thoughts: Greta seems like it could be a great thriller, the only thing that worries me about the film is the lack of real promotion, which could end up hurting it. Either way, I’m going to watch it because seeing Isabelle Huppert playing an “unhinged” woman could be a sight to see.

 

8th

Limited Release: The Kid

Synopsis: The story of a young boy who witnesses Billy the Kid’s (Dane DeHaan) encounter with Sheriff Pat Garrett (Ethan Hawke). The Kid also stars Jake Schur, Chris Pratt, Adam Baldwin, Leila George and Vincent D’Onofrio.

Thoughts: Directed by Vincent D’Onofrio.

 

Captain Marvel

Synopsis: Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. Captain Marvel co-stars Samuel L. Jackson, Judel Law, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg, Lashana Lynch, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Ben Mendelsohn and Annette Bening.

Thoughts: Marvel’s first ever female-led superhero film– yes, Black Widow should have gotten it first, let’s move pass that for right now – and it’s getting some great word of mouth. That said, the hype level is real for Captain Marvel.

 

15th

Limited Release: Yardie

Synopsis: D (Aml Ameen), who has never fully recovered from the murder, committed during his childhood of his older brother, D grows up under the wing of a Kingston Don and music producer named King Fox (Sheldon Sheperd). Fox dispatches him to London, where he reconnects with his childhood sweetheart, Yvonne (Shantol Jackson), and his daughter who he’s not seen since she was a baby.

Thoughts: Idris Elba’s directorial debut.

 

Limited Release: The Aftermath

Synopsis: Based on the book by Rhidian Brook, post World War II, a British colonel and his wife (Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley) are assigned to live in Hamburg during the post-war reconstruction, but tensions arise with the German (Alexander Skarsgard) who previously owned the house.

 

Limited Release: The Hummingbird Project

Synopsis: A pair of high-frequency traders (Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgard) go up against their old boss (Salma Hayek) in an effort to make millions in a fiber-optic cable deal.

 

Limited Release: The Mustang

Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts), a violent convict, is given the chance to participate in a rehabilitation therapy program involving the training of wild mustangs. The film is based on the short film by the film’s director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s, who is making her feature film debut. The Mustang co-stars Josh Stewart, Gideon Adlon, Jason Mitchell, Connie Britton and Bruce Dern.

 

Limited Release: Captive State (expansion release to follow)

Synopsis: Co-written and directed by Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes); Set in Chicago neighborhood nearly a decade after an occupation by an extra-terrestrial force, the film explores the lives on both sides of the conflict – the collaborators and dissidents.  Captive State stars Ashton Sanders, John Goodman, Kiki Layne, James Ransone, Madeline Brewer, Machine Gun Kelly and Vera Farmiga.

Thoughts: Captive State looks like a low-budget sci-fi thriller in the vein of District 9 and I’m all for it.

 

Wonder Park

Synopsis: The story of a magnificent amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June (voiced by Brianna Denski) comes alive. The voice cast includes John Oliver, Ken Jeong, Mila Kunis, Kenan Thompson, Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Garner.

 

Five Feet Apart

Synopsis: A pair of teenagers (Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse) with life-threatening illnesses meet in a hospital and fall in love.

 

19th

Triple Threat

Synopsis: A hit contract is taken out on a billionaires daughter intent on bringing down a major crime syndicate. A down and out team of mercenaries must take on a group of professional assassins and stop them before they kill their target.

Thoughts: This one has been on people’s, and mine, radar since it was announced. Why? Look at the freaking action star cast! Iko Uwais, Tony Jaa, Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, JeeJa Yanin, Tiger Hu Chen, Michael Bisping and Celina Jade. I mean, that’s all I got.

 

22nd

Hotel Mumbai

Synopsis: Based on the true story of the Taj Hotel terrorist attack in Mumbai. Hotel staff risk their lives to keep everyone safe as people make unthinkable sacrifices to protect themselves and their families. The film stars Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Tilda Cobham-Hervey and Jason Isaacs.

 

Us

Synopsis: Written and directed by Jordan Peele, a mother and father take their kids (Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong’o, Evan Alex and Shahadi Wright Joseph) to their beach house, expecting to enjoy time with friends, but their serenity turns to tension and chaos when some visitors arrive uninvited. Us co-stars Elisabeth Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Tim Heidecker and Anna Diop.

Thoughts: Jordan Peele is back behind the camera, and it looks like he’s doing a straightforward horror film this time. If the trailers are any indication, Us is going to be one of the best films of the year…hopefully.

 

29th

Limited Release: The Beach Bum

Written and directed by Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers), a rebellious stoner named Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) lives life by his own rules. The Beach Bum co-stars Zac Efron, Isla Fisher, Jonah Hill, Stefania LaVie Owen, Snoop Dogg and Martin Lawrence.

 

Unplanned

As one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the nation, Abby Johnson (Ashley Bratcher) was involved in upwards of 22,000 abortions and counseled countless women on their reproductive choices. Her passion surrounding a woman’s right to choose led her to become a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, fighting to enact legislation for the cause she so deeply believed in. Until the day she saw something that changed everything.

 

Dumbo

Based on the novel by Helen Aberson, and the classic animated Disney film, a young elephant, whose oversized ears enable him to fly, helps save a struggling circus, but when the circus plans a new venture, Dumbo and his friends discover dark secrets beneath its shiny veneer. Directed by Tim Burton, and stars Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Eva Green, Alan Arkin and Danny DeVito.

What are you looking forward to?

‘Fighting with My Family’ Review

Director: Stephen Merchant

Writer: Stephen Merchant

Cast: Florence Pugh, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn, Nick Frost, Lena Headey and Dwayne Johnson

Synopsis: A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

Based on the true story of WWE superstar Paige, real name Saraya-Jade Bevis, Stephen Merchant and producer Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson took inspiration from Paige’s real life and the documentary series about Paige’s family to make Fighting with My Family. Being a wrestling nerd myself, I have been looking forward to this since it was announced, and hearing the good word of mouth, I was fully ready to really enjoy the film. That said, whether or not you know Paige’s story or not, you’ll walk out appreciating the journey.

The film follows Saraya (Florence Pugh) and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) Knight who have been training as professional wrestlers since they were kids by their wrestling parents Ricky (Nick Frost) and Julia (Lena Headey). Their dream? Going to the WWE, and eventually they get a call to try-out for them, and head to WWE’s developmental program, NXT. However, when Saraya is chosen over Zak, Saraya goes to Orlando to begin her training and Zak has to stay behind to figure out what do now that his dream can no longer be achieved. Paige’s underdog story then begins through trials and tribulations.

Fighting with My Family has your basic underdog sports formula we’ve seen before, expect this time it’s done through pro wrestling. Paige wrestles – pun intended – with being different around the other potential contenders, dealing with the drama with her brother and eventually reaching the dream she wanted in the grandest way possible. This isn’t necessarily a negative toward the film, considering it is what you expect in this kind of story, but it is just a bit of a shame that Merchant went the formulaic route.

That goes double considering Paige’s story is much more than what we get onscreen. Again, being a wrestling nerd and knowing her story, it was a shame to see some things taken out or completely ignored. Of course, that’s not to say that everything in the movie is a lie. It is still Saraya’s story, but having her just be dropped into the crazy world of the WWE is far from what happened.

Regardless of all that, Fighting with My Family is still very good, and most of that comes from the cast. Merchant puts the weight of the movie squarely on Pugh’s shoulders and she carries it with ease. She’s able to bring everything the story requires from the drama, to the humor to even some for the ring work she was allowed to do. Jack Lowden as Zak is equally great, and the chemistry he and Pugh have is fantastic, and makes the two easily believable and easy to root for that we become almost immediately invested in both of their journeys.

Supporting role wise, I wish we had seen a little more of both Nick Frost and Lena Headey. They’re in it enough for the story the film is trying to tell, but still having those two in your movie, and not having them in it a little more is a bit of a bummer. Vince Vaughn’s Hutch Morgan – a combination of different people like Norman Smiley, Dr. Tom Prichard and Bill DeMott, at least according to Paige – balances the line between a hard-nosed, nonsense coach and giving Saraya enough to motivate her, but still being a hardass. Finally, for those worried that Dwayne Johnson would overtake the film, don’t worry, he’s only in about three or four scenes, and we’ve seen most of them in the trailers and TV ads.

All in all, Fighting with My Family is an underdog story we’ve seen before but in a different sport that most people have either fallen out of love with or still follow to this day. That said, Stephen Merchant’s direction and balance of drama and humor is spot on, plus the cast keep you invested from start to finish.

Fighting with My Family

3.5 out of 5

New Podcast – Oscar Picks, Hulk Hogan Biopic & More

The Movie Pit Podcast is up!

This week’s podcast was recorded in segments – I did my best to make it feel seamlessly. I also had a guest on the podcast this week for the Oscar pick segment. Enjoy everybody!

 

‘Alita: Battle Angel’ Review

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Writers: James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis

Cast: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Keean Johnson, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Jennifer Connelly and Mahershala Ali

Synopsis: A deactivated female cyborg is revived, but cannot remember anything of her past life and goes on a quest to find out who she is.

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

Based on the anime and manga series created by Yukito Kishiro, Alita: Battle Angel has been a passion project for James Cameron for decades now, but put if off for Titanic, and because he didn’t think the visual effects were up for the vision he had. Then Avatar happened and Cameron’s focus went to developing those films that he passed along the directorial duties to his friend Robert Rodriguez, who was also a fan of the series. Now, we get the vision that Cameron probably intended with bombastic visual effects, some pretty solid set pieces and a pretty descent cast.

Set 300 years after The Fall, Alita: Battle Angel follows a resurrected abandoned cyborg named Alita (Rosa Salazar), by Doctor Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz). When she awakes, she has no recollection of her former life, despite not being hardwired like a normal cyborg that Ido usually deals with. Alita now has to learn how things work in Iron City, while also dealing with Vector (Mahershala Ali) – the man who runs Iron City from above – a group of bounty hunters called Hunter Warriors, taking an interest to Hugo (Keean Johnson), a local in Iron City, and Iron City’s favorite sport – Motorball.

One of the best aspects going for Alita: Battle Angel is the amazing special effects that Cameron and the special effects department were able to pull off. On top of that, the 3D makes everything pretty immersive from Iron City, to the city of Zalem in the sky and Motorball (although, we can probably safely assume that most of that was CG). Plus, when it comes to Alita herself, she was motion-captured by Salazar herself, with some new motion-capture Cameron is going to use in the Avatar sequels. While most big budget movie – this being Robert Rodriguez’s most expensive movie to date –  have great ambition like Alita: Battle Angel, the adaptation actually works for what it’s trying to accomplish.

Which, of course, is an accomplishment in itself since most – if not all – anime adaptations lose a lot of what made the anime so beloved. I haven’t watched original anime, nor read the manga, but from what I was able to read it seems like Alita: Battle Angel is a pretty faithful adaptation, which should make fans happy. But, you don’t need to watch the anime to really enjoy the movie, because overall, Alita: Battle Angel is a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining film.

The cast is also pretty solid considering how bombastic the movie is, with almost the whole movie being put on Rosa Salazar’s shoulders. Thankfully, Salazar is able to carry it as she brings the right amount of naivety, wonderment and badassery the role requires. Christoph Waltz plays the father-figure role well, but I wish he was in it just a tad bit more, while Alita’s other man in her life is Keean Johnson’s Hugo, who is just a bit wooden at times, and even though his character gets an interesting storyline in the movie, his development is just a tad lackluster. The villains are very mixed with Mahershala Ali’s Vector not getting enough screen time to be a real threat, Ed Skrein plays a Hunter Warrior named Zapan who is just the right amount of smug and Jackie Earle Haley plays the dangerous Grewishka, who Alita goes head-to-head a couple of times. I would mention Jennifer Connelly’s Chiren, but she doesn’t have enough screen time to really make an impact. The movie is also filled with some cameos that could surprise people, especially one that I was shocked, like many, that they were able to keep secret.

The movie does have some minor problems, like some pacing issues here and there, but weirdly – and surprisingly – with the two hour runtime the movie moves are a pretty brisk pace. The overall story misses some beats, and one thing most viewers might not like is the ending. Admittedly, I found out it’s essentially how the anime ends too, but seeing how Hollywood is a different beast, and seeing how they set up it, it should be interesting to see how things work out.

All in all, Alita: Battle Angel has some minor flaws, but overall is thoroughly entertaining and ton of fun to watch. Rosa Salazar holds the movie up on her shoulders, and no the big CGI eyes will not bother you, plus, it actually helps with the character’s situation. Hopefully, Alita: Battle Angel starts a resurgence of good anime adaptations, no matter the result at the box office.

Alita: Battle Angel

4 out of 5