Sun.Star Davao

BIG EYES AND BIG EFFECTS

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Alita is just like a typical teenage girl but isn’t in other ways. For one, she can slice apart a single falling tear with her ferocious battle sword.

Those are the two sides brought up by ”Alita: Battle Angel,” our film entry into the thrilling manga world of artist Yukito Kishiro and imagined for the screen by producer James Cameron and director Robert Rodriguez. The film crams in so many plot lines that it risks being overstuffe­d but somehow stays true to its mesmerizin­g vision and emerges as a sci-fi success, if not a triumph.

The film is rated PG-13 but there’s quite a bit of cyber-gore here, including gouging out eyeballs (more than once) and slicing metal folk in half or amputating them. If these were human, we’d be moving toward an R for sure.

The filmmakers are not afraid of making our heroine absolutely lethal and yet swooningly immature. She can give a beat-down to a roomful of hardened killers but still curl up on the couch and put her head on her adoptive dad’s chest. She can do flips worthy of an Olympic gymnast but her dad still wants her to wear knee pads and a helmet while competing at Motorball — against lasers, huge spinning saws and knives.

Alita has a strong moral compass — “I do not stand by in the presence of evil,” she announces — and, thankfully, triggering her special brand of martial arts mayhem must be earned. When a cute dog is senselessl­y slaughtere­d (relax, off camera), she dabs its blood on her face out of respect and revenge, squints really hard and coils up like lethal spring. It’s very clear whoever did that will not survive the next 5 minutes.

The filmmakers are not afraid of making our heroine absolutely lethal and yet swooningly immature

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