Alita: Battle Angel Blu-ray review

Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel has been under development for quite some time with James Cameron behind the scenes. However, Avatar rose to prominence, and the director devoted his time to the sequels. Luckily, director Robert Rodriguez opted in, and what we have is a film that’s faithful to its manga source from Yukito Kishiro.

The film is set in the futuristic world of Iron City, and it follows a young female cyborg who discovers that she’s a warrior. She’ll discover love and what it’s like to be human. You can read our review of the film here.

Alita: Battle Angel’s image quality is beautiful, whether it’s seeing the wide shots of Salem and Iron City or the night shots as Alita and Hugo fall in love under the neon lights. Blacks are deep without being crushed, and the colors pop, especially when seeing the city at night. The image is crisp and detailed, with examples including seeing all the junk in the Scrapyard and the shots of buildings as Alita and Hugo hang out on the rooftop.

The film has an English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, and there are two noteworthy scenes that really make the audio shine. The first is the fight between Alita and Grewishka. Alita goes into the underground to fight, and Grewishka reveals his origin as his voice echos all around the room. Once the battle starts, the sound gets intense as debris is flying everywhere thanks to Grewishka’s strength. When his claws for fingers surround Alita, it creates an enveloping sound. The Motorball sequence is another great demo piece as you can hear the cyborgs fighting and skating all around you.

Bonus Features

Alita: Battle Angel does come with over 2 hours of extras, and these include motion comics, behind-the-scenes featurettes, a cooking video with Robert Rodriguez and more.

Alita’s World is a section featuring motion comics that gives viewers a deeper understanding of the world of Alita. “The Fall” explains how the world came into ruin. “Iron City” goes into the history of the city where humanity converges for survival. “What It Means to be a Cyborg” is narrated by Zapan and dives in on what it’s like to be a cyborg, good or bad. “Rules of the Game” is all about the rules of Motorball, so you can learn to play the game in real life. (Don’t try this at home!)

“From Manga to Screen,” which is 20 minutes and 47 seconds, is the recommended watch as you get to learn how the filmmakers adapt the work by Yukito Kushiro. James Cameron admits that he only has time to focus on the Avatar movies, and Rodriguez gained his trust to direct the film.

“Evolution of Alita” is a 20-minute featurette that focuses on how Rosa Salazar, the performance capture team and Weta brought Alita to life on the big screen. It’s a nice in-depth video that shows Rosa as an emotive actress as well as her dedication to training martial arts (every day for 2 hours) and skating. For the intense action sequences, it’s a combination of stunt doubles and keyframe animation and more.

Aside from the motion graphic dedicated to the rules of Motorball, the 6-minute “Motorball” featurette shows how the filmmakers adapt the deadly game from the manga to the big screen. It’s mainly a CG scene since it’s hard to shoot a scene at high speeds.

The longest bonus feature is the London Q&A, which runs at 26 minutes. Fans get to ask questions, and James Cameron talks about how Guillermo del Toro got him to get hooked on Battle Angel Alita.

Robert Rodriguez loves to cook, and you can see him featured in Jon Favreau and Roy Choi’s Netflix show, The Chef Show. There’s a scene in the film where Alita is first introduced to the world of chocolates, and it instantly becomes her favorite food. In the Alita: Battle Angel extras, the director teaches you how to make the chocolate featured in the film. The takeaway from this is to avoid buying from chocolate companies that jack up the prices for inferior quality. As Rodriguez says, “It’s like you died and went to Zalem.”

2005 Art Compilation is a 14-minute featurette that shows off the many concept art that’s used to tell the story of Alita. This is a great way to look at the art since it’s actually entertaining as compared to browsing them one by one with the remote control.

Scene Deconstruction is a neat featurette where you can see the different stages of animation on select scenes. You can switch between Original with Rosa Salazar in her motion-capture suit, Animation Stage with the WIP of Alita, and Final with the completed scene. This process is good for those wanting to see how the scene looks like without CG and also Rosa’s raw acting.

We’re big fans of director commentaries, and the lack of this feature is disappointing. It also would have been nice to have the trailers for the film and the music video with singer Dua Lipa.

Final Reaction

Alita: Battle Angel is definitely a faithful adaptation of its manga source, and Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron have done a wonderful job of bringing the world and its characters to life. The Blu-ray boasts incredible audio and visuals, and it’s a great addition for home theater users. Fans of the film can dive deeper into the making of Alita with the many bonuses.

Overall Score: 4.5/5 Atoms

A Blu-ray copy was provided by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment for review purposes.

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John 'Spartan' Nguyen
John 'Spartan' Nguyen 10059 posts

Assassin, scoundrel, head honcho.