Story

Alita: Battle Angel is a science fiction movie based on the manga series Gunnm by Yukito Kishiro.

It’s set in the mysterious, utopian world of Zalem and begins in a junkyard on the outskirts of the rough and lawless Iron City. Dr Ido (Christopher Waltz) comes across the head and torso of a young cyborg, which he repairs and names Alita (Rosa Salazar). Alita contains technology that hasn’t been seen in centuries and is a mystery to everyone, including herself. Although Dr Ido tries hard to protect Alita from the dangers of their environment and from the truth about her origins, Alita and her street-smart friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) set out to discover who she really is.

When Alita is caught in a surprise attack, she begins to have memories of her past life and demonstrates lethal fighting skills. These skills serve her well as she encounters bounty hunters sent by Vector (Mahershala Ali), the mafia-like head of the Motorball racing circuit, who wants to kill her. With the help of Dr Ido’s ex-wife Chiren, (Jennifer Connelly), who is also a cyborg surgeon, Vector is modifying robotic bounty hunters into terrifying killing machines.

Against all odds Alita must fight not only to save herself and her friends but also the oblivious inhabitants of Iron City from a cruel and untouchable tyrant.

Themes

Crime; murder; body harvesting

Violence

Alita: Battle Angel has frequent and strong graphic violence. For example:

  • Secondary characters are often killed by having their heads crushed or their bodies severed or dismembered in various ways. Human blood is red, and cyborg blood is blue.
  • A dark shadow carrying a scythe murders a young woman in the streets. This is common practice in Iron City.
  • Alita fights a group of bounty hunters as they threaten to kill her and Dr Ido. She succeeds in destroying them all except one, who vows to return and finish her off.
  • Alita tries to get support for uniting the bounty hunters against a common enemy but ends up fighting them instead. A bar is nearly destroyed in the process, and Alita must face the modified killing machines on her own. She does her best but eventually her body is hacked to pieces. Dr Ido manages to save her head and torso and regenerate her in another body.
  • In a Motorball race, Alita discovers that the competitors have been bribed to kill her. She must fight them and try to destroy them. There are crashes, dismembered cyborgs and numerous close calls before Alita eliminates them all.
  • While still human, Hugo is stabbed by a bounty hunter and then beheaded.
  • Chiren tries to leave Vector. A later scene shows that her brain, eyes and organs have been harvested and preserved in glass jars filled with liquid.
  • A machine from the world above tears Hugo’s cyborg body to bits. Despite Alita’s attempt to save Hugo, his head and torso fall through the clouds back to Iron City.

Sexual references

Alita: Battle Angel has no overt sexual references, but female characters are often objectified.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Alita: Battle Angel shows some use of substances. For example, some characters drink in a bar. Vector meets with Hugo over drinks and Hugo seems hung over the next morning.

Nudity and sexual activity

Alita: Battle Angel has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Chiren gets out of Vector’s bed wearing a skimpy negligee.
  • Alita and Hugo kiss in the rain.
  • A scene in Hugo’s bedroom shows him without a shirt.

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

Alita: Battle Angel has some coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Alita: Battle Angel is aimed at mature fans of action and futuristic science fiction movies. Although it has been classified as M, this movie isn’t suitable for children under 15 years because of the amount of graphic violence it features.

These are the main messages from this movie:

  • Be true to yourself.
  • Fight for what you believe in.
  • Never give up.

Values in Alita: Battle Angel that you could reinforce with your children include loyalty, selflessness, inner strength, courage and persistence.

Alita: Battle Angel could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:

  • greed and the huge gap between rich and poor people
  • complacency in the face of injustice
  • organ harvesting and how this is happening in parts of the world today
  • injustice and whether violence is the way to address this problem.