Alita: Battle Angel
July 1, 2020
(The Channel Awesome logo is shown. Then we cold-open on what looks like a dump, which is apparently home to James Cameron's abandoned projects, according to a helpful sign. Here, NC comes across a binder and what looks like Spider-Man's mask, which would have been used for a Spider-Man movie by Cameron)
NC: Oh, yeah, you sure changed the comic world with that one.
(He tosses the mask aside and looks at the binder. The cover reads "True Lies 2 By James Cameron")
NC: Oh, they should still do that. The Jamie Lee Curtis dance will be hilarious.
(He reaches into the binder and pulls out a CD which has "DARK ANGEL – SEASON 3" written on it)
NC: (reads) "Dark Angel". Oh, yeah, wasn't that the training wheels for that anime he never got off the ground?
(Suddenly, his attention is grabbed by something else in the pile. He runs over to it and stares in awe)
NC: It's amazing!
(It's a discarded Blu-Ray release of Alita: Battle Angel)
NC (vo): It's still alive! (He picks it up and looks at it closely) How could you survive years of neglect?
(He holds it up and spins around in a circle, laughing elatedly. Then a different title sequence than usual (with credits and all) is shown over a shot of the sky over the junkyard. Then we cut to black)
NC (vo): It's incredible the movie turned out as good as it did.
(Then the camera starts fading in ever so slightly on NC and Rob looking at something. The view of the brothers is blurry and has a hard time coming into focus)
Rob: Look, she's waking up.
(The view finally comes into focus)
NC: Hi. Well, you're a surprise. What's your name?
(They are looking at the Alita Blu-Ray disc)
Alita Blu-Ray disc (voice of Tamara): My...name is...
Rob: It's no use. She's been in development hell too long.
NC: I'm sure she'll still kick ass.
Rob: Are you planning to regenerate her?
NC: Oh, yes. She's the most promising anime adaptation I've seen in years.
(There is a white flash, and we see the disc is now in its proper case)
Alita Blu-Ray: Wow, this new body looks great.
NC: (seated at his desk) Well, you deserve it. You've been through quite a bit.
Alita Blu-Ray: Really? I-I don't remember.
NC: That's not surprising. A lot of people forgot about you for a bit. But I never gave up hope.
Alita Blu-Ray: I...I don't understand.
NC: Well, maybe it's best I start from the beginning.
(The title for Alita: Battle Angel is shown, followed by footage of the original anime show on which the movie is based)
NC (vo): In 1993, a Battle Angel OVA was released, based on (A shot of the original manga is superimposed) the 1990 manga. It was the first anime I ever saw that was meant for adults. It was one of those few VHSs at rental stores (A shot of a Battle Angel VHS is superimposed) that had that (A "not for kids" label is added to the VHS) wonderful sticker that called to every teen like the Pied Piper's flute. While it wasn't anything groundbreaking, it had memorable characters, good world-building, and some bloody-as-hell action. I was immediately hooked. It got me to read the manga, opened up a world of anime (Shots of other anime shows are shown: Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and Ninja Scroll) that was even bigger and better than I imagined, and I had this VHS (The Battle Angel VHS is shown again) to thank for it. And I wasn't the only one who was taken by it.
(An image of James Cameron is shown)
NC (vo): In the '90s, James Cameron absolutely fell in love with Battle Angel and declared he would one day make a movie out of it. (Now a montage is shown of Cameron's work, including Titanic) But as other projects grabbed his attention, (A shot of the poster for Avatar is superimposed) some developed, (A shot of the title character in Spider-Man is superimposed) some abandoned, the film kept getting postponed. (Cut to shots of Dark Angel and Avatar) Some projects even served as tests, with his show Dark Angel testing the idea of a futuristic action girl, and Avatar testing if he could CG an entire person to look believable. Nevertheless, it still didn't seem ready, and he was constantly distracted by other endeavors. (Cut to a shot of Robert Rodriguez) It wasn't until Robert Rodriguez stepped in to help condense the script that Cameron realized the only way this was gonna get made is if someone else took the helm.
NC: And I know I've mocked (The poster for Sharkboy and Lavagirl is shown in the corner) some of his movies in the past, (A shot of Rodriguez replaces the poster) but not only is this guy one of my favorite filmmakers, but he is perfect for directing this.
(Footage of Alita is shown)
NC (vo): While it had a Cameron look, it felt like a Rodriguez story, super-gritty and over-the-top with almost random violence and deaths around every corner. (A shot of Jon Landau, James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez is shown) It was also a perfect mix of two opposite styles: Cameron famously went over budget making some of the most expensive films ever made, Rodriguez made several films in his garage. So for a future that's supposed to be half state-of-the-art and half low-tech, this was a match made in heaven.
NC: But there was still one question: What version of Alita do you adapt?
NC (vo): The manga and anime (The manga pops in on the left side while the anime is shown in the right) were surprisingly quite different, with several elements and characters created and other elements and characters cut out.
NC: The solution? Do them both.
NC (vo): Alita ambitiously combined both stories, resulting in critics giving it mixed reviews because they thought there were too many side stories and characters making you feel crowded. (The film's Rotten Tomatoes score is shown; the critic rating is 61%, compared to the critic rating of Avatar which is soon shown, revealing it to be 82%)
NC: Yeah. That's called an anime.
NC (vo): I'm sorry Cameron didn't sell you Ferngully again, but I thought this was a lot more creative, and at least acknowledged the source material it was based on this time, creating one of the best anime adaptations, if not, the best anime adaptation ever shown on the big screen.
Alita Blu-Ray: Wow. So with all that time, I must be the most perfect film ever made.
NC: You are awesome!
Alita Blu-Ray: So...I'm perfect?
NC: Well, you are awesome!
Alita Blu-Ray: Doesn't that mean I'm perfect?
NC: (sighs) Funny enough, being awesome rarely means you're perfect. In fact, often it's part of what makes something so awesome.
Alita Blu-Ray: That makes no sense.
NC: Okay, look. I'll go over what's perfect, what's not, and how they're sometimes the same.
Alita Blu-Ray: As long as one of us follow that sentence, we should be alright.
NC: This is Alita: Battle Angel.
Alita Blu-Ray: I know, I'm right here.
NC: Oh, I was talking to the audience that time.
Alita Blu-Ray: This is gonna be confusing.
NC: Yes, it is.
Alita Blu-Ray: But I'm used to it by now.
NC: Oh, good.
(The Alita: Battle Angel variant of the 20th Century Fox logo is shown, before showing the film's opening scene, where scientist Dr. Dyson Ido is first shown scavenging for parts in the massive scrapyard of Iron City)
NC (vo): We opened with how Dark Phoenix left 20th Century Fox and come across a sort of cyborg doctor named Dyson Ido, played by Christoph Waltz, who rummages through all the dead Terminator franchises, coming across something unique.
(Ido discovers a disembodied female cyborg with an intact human brain)
NC: It should be pointed out that the attention to detail in creating certain scenes is crazy.
(Several scenes from the film are shown with scenes from the anime also being shown from the top right corner)
NC (vo): This isn't surprising, seeing how Rodriguez did Sin City, which basically used the comics as storyboards, but the little touches for die-hard fans really deserves a golf clap.
(NC does a golf clap. Ido takes the female cyborg to his lab and begins working on it with his partner, Nurse Gerhad)
NC (vo): He brings what he found to his assistant, who I don't mind changing from the original, but look at the original. (The anime's version of Nurse Gerhad is shown) That has so much more character to it. I don't care if you make him a black woman, but go with someone like (image of...) Whoopi Goldberg, that'd be more fitting and memorable.
(Ido looks at the cyborg with interest)
Dr. Dyson Ido (Christopher Waltz): What are you dreaming, little angel?
NC (vo): Okay, that was creepy, and probably belongs in the manga. They start off a little creepy, too.
(Ido attaches a new cyborg body to the brain, and the next morning, the newly-made cyborg, given the name Alita, awakens with no memory of her past)
NC (vo): They give her a body, and she wakes up with...those eyes.
NC: So, people have a lot of thoughts about these eyes, and honestly, they're all kind of right.
(Various footage focusing on Alita are shown)
NC (vo): They are freaky, but they emphasize her expressions. They're distracting, but they also give the character and the film more of an identity. Oh, yeah, Alita, the girl with the big eyes. Without that, it'd be, what, that robot girl in the future movie? There's like a million of those. (Posters for Ex Machina, Ghost in the Shell (2017) and Metropolis are shown) It's not like an anime because (An image of five anime girls is shown) everybody doesn't have the big eyes, but I think that confirms her as a bit of an outsider.
NC: The only issue I have with them is that they do distract from what an amazing effect the rest of her is.
(As more footage of Alita is shown, we are also shown behind the scenes clips of Rosa Salazar portraying the character via motion capture)
NC (vo): I mean, the eyes are obviously CG, but the rest of her is, too. Look at the shirt, the pants, the skin, the hair. All of that is from computers; she wasn't wearing any of that on set. I feel bad, as this actress, Rosa Salazar... (A montage of shots of other shows that Salazar has done is shown: Undone, Big Mouth, ???) ...seems to never show her real face in anything.
NC: She's like the Tom Hardy of anime filters. (Shots of Tom Hardy's work are shown along the bottom)
NC (vo): But the effects are so good, all her charm shines through. She is disgustingly likeable in this.
(A montage of clips of Alita's charm is shown)
Alita: Does anyone ever go to Zalem? We should go! / That's so good. / Who is that? / Yeah!
Hugo (Keean Johnson): You want to join in? (Alita smiles)
NC (vo): If I didn't have recurring nightmares of (A Margaret Keane painting of a big-eyed little girl is shown in the corner) Margaret Keane children eating me, I'd call her "cute as a button". Part of that charm, though, is also from Waltz, who takes whatever adorableness she throws at him and knocks it right back with his own brand of "Awww..."
(Alita takes a bite of an orange, peel and all. She reacts in confusion and Dr. Ido reaches his hand out)
Dr. Ido: Taste receptors are working.
NC: She can tell this fruit is from Walmart.
(Ido takes Alita on a tour around Iron City)
NC (vo): She can't remember anything, not even her name, so Ido calls her "Alita" and shows her around Iron City, the slums compared to the sky city of Zalem, just above. This place is great because everywhere you look, there's something going on. It's like a Ren Faire, except slightly less embarrassing to be in. (The audience is heard booing) I said "slightly"!
(Suddenly, a giant Centurion advances on Alita)
Centurion: STEP ASIDE. OUT OF THE WAY. (Alita stands, ready to fight)
NC: (pointing and shaking finger) Look out! A meat cute!
(A youth, however, suddenly runs and grabs Alita, pulling her out of the way)
NC (vo): Alita is...kinda-ish saved by a boy named Hugo, played by Keean Johnson, and despite this film probably having an overshare of exposition, it's kinda like Fury Road in that the storytelling is mainly in the expressions. Every time I watch this film, I see a reaction I never noticed before. Like, look at her expressions here when she's recognized as a cyborg.
Hugo: You're a cyborg. Can I see?
(Alita stares, somewhat embarrassed, and then reaches her hand out to him)
NC (vo): There is so much vulnerability, shame, joy, curiosity, excitement, all in just those few seconds. Look at Ido's face when he names her Alita.
Ido: (stares) Alita. It's a nice name.
Alita: (smiling) I love it! (reaches out and hugs him)
Ido: (awkwardly) Okay.
NC: Don't you just immediately know he had a daughter and that was her name?
NC (vo): We all got that, and it was just from a look. If you saw this movie and didn't like it, I highly suggest you watch it again and just read their expressions. There's so much good acting going on that isn't given enough credit. (Alita is shown reading a paper mentioning seven murders, and notices Ido coming home in the night with blood on his wrist) Speaking of which, Alita becomes suspicious when she hears about murders happening around town, and Ido returns with a bloody wrist.
Cyborg: (restrained by Ido) I heard that guy carves girls up and sells their body parts.
Ido: Shh, shh!
NC (vo; as Ido): Don't give away my calling card.
(As Alita walks out, a woman, played by Jennifer Connelly, calls out to her)
Woman: Hey, kid!
NC (vo): They're visited by Ido's ex-wife Chiren, played by Jennifer Connelly...
NC: Hmm... (The poster for House of Sand and Fog appears on the right) House of Sand and Fog trying, (The poster for Hulk appears on the left) or Hulk-phoning-it-in trying?
Chiren: (to Vector, played by Mahershala Ali) Because I'm a doctor and...I'm a mother. And somehow I forgot that.
(As we cut back to NC, the Hulk poster disappears, but the Sand and Fog poster remains)
NC: Sand and Fog, man, Sand and Fog!
(Chiren and Ido speak with each other while walking through the city)
NC (vo): She [Chiren] meets with Ido, disturbed that he's using the body of their dead daughter on Alita instead of helping her make breakthroughs so she can go to Zalem.
Ido: I won't help you build monsters.
Chiren: Gonna get back to Zalem somehow. I'll claw my way there with my bare hands if I have to.
Sarah Williams (audio from Labyrinth): Someone take me away from this awful place!
(Alita meets up with Hugo, who is playing a street game of Motorball with several friends)
NC (vo): Meanwhile, Alita meets up with Hugo, and they play a nice game of fuck-you ball.
(As one of Hugo's acquaintances, Tanji (played by Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) knocks her down, Hugo helps her back up)
(As she gets up, Alita glares at Tanji)
NC: (as Alita, imitating her expression) Have a sudden urge to stitch a bitch!
(Alita grabs Tanji by his arm and pulls it behind him)
NC (vo): She ends up winning... (Alita then trips him up, sending him flying. The sound of Tom (of Tom and Jerry fame) screaming is added in as Tanji flies through the air before hitting the ground) ...as well as showing up the guy who hit her.
Tanji: (to Hugo) Your freak girlfriend's got some serious malfunctions!
Hugo: She's not my girlfriend.
NC: (as Hugo, pointing to camera) She is my sex bot and nothing more! (A shot of a female sex robot is shown in the corner) Don't act like that isn't our future!
NC (vo): Hugo continues to introduce her to all the wonders of the city.
(As Hugo drives her around on the back of his scooter, Alita gasps and giggles. A clip of The Little Mermaid is edited in, showing Flounder jumping out of the water repeatedly as he watches Eric and Ariel go by in their carriage. Then we cut back to Alita as the titular robot is eating a bar of chocolate)
NC (vo): Including, of course, chocolate.
Alita: (her mouth is full) That's so great! I have a favorite food now.
NC (vo): Because it's always chicks and chocolate!
Alita: (to Dr. Ido) Do you have any chocolate?
(Cut to a montage showing scenes of various projects of female characters also having a fascination with chocolate)
Wanda: (from The Fairly OddParents; going crazy) Did you say chocolate?!
Prof. Higgins (Rex Harrison): (from My Fair Lady; holding up a tray of chocolates) Have some chocolate, Miss Eliza.
NC: I know women love chocolate, but this has been done so much. Can't we get something a little different, like...
Alita: Do you have any...
NC (vo; satanic voice): HAM!!!
NC: All right, maybe chocolate's not that bad.
NC (vo): Hugo reveals that he, too, has dreams of going to Zalem.
Hugo: (to Alita) If I was as strong as you, I'd climb that tube to Zalem right now.
Alita: They don't let anybody up there.
Hugo: That's what they want you to think.
NC: And we're all living on this "fear planet", right? (A shot of the Earth appears in the corner as NC scoffs and rolls eyes)
Hugo: You just can't remember. If you can just tell me what those eyes are seeing...
NC (vo; as Alita): They're literally seeing every pore on your face now. I don't think I can take any more how much these eyes can see.
(One night, Alita follows Ido as he goes out on his nightly secret job of being a Hunter-Warrior)
NC (vo): Later that night, she sees Ido going out and follows him, afraid he might be the killer. But she discovers he's actually a bounty hunter, AKA Hunter-Warrior, trying to find the real killer.
(A cyborg named Grewishka (played by Jackie Earle Haley) appears before Ido)
Grewishka: Looking for me, Doctor? Or should I say, "hunter-warrior"!
NC: (as Ido, crosses arms) It's "Doctor Hunter-Warrior".
(Another cyborg jumps down from a rooftop, this one with swords for arms: Zapan (played by Ed Skrein). He jumps Dr. Ido, who slices off one of his arms. He cries out in pain as he is hit)
Zapan: Nice shot...for a meat boy!
NC: (amused) You just know, to get that delivery, Rodriguez was like...
NC (vo): ..."Say that line more...Rodriguez-y."
(Suddenly, Alita somersaults in and kicks Zapan in the chest so hard that it sends him to the ground)
NC (vo): It looks like Alita has some mad fighting skills, though, and she saves Ido.
Grewishka: Rip that flea!
(Another cyborg, a female one, steps forth to attack Alita. Cut to a clip of Kung Fu Panda)
Po: (seeing the Dragon Scroll) That's cool.
(Cut back to Alita, as the female cyborg leaps forth to attack Alita, who kicks her brutally, decapitating her head in the process)
NC (vo): She once again fights them off, and as much as people like to ask why they couldn't make this an R, I think the real question is, how the hell is this PG-13?
NC: (looks up as a thought comes to him) Oh, yeah!
NC (vo): Different colored blood! (A shot of a green-blooded monster is shown in the corner, with its blood spewing out, along with a message which NC reads...) "IF IT AIN'T RED, THEN NOTHING BLED".
(Alita leaps through the air again and kicks down on Grewishka's arm, severing it off. Then she grabs a laser weapon and confronts him with it, but he disappears)
NC (vo): Their leader, named Grewishka, played by Jackie Earle Haley, swears revenge, and Ido goes to collect the bounty for his kills, as he clearly did the most work.
Alita: (to Ido) And do you do it for the money?
Ido: I take the money. Otherwise, the clinic would have closed long ago.
NC: (as Alita) By the way, you have a giant, gaping...
NC (vo; as Alita): ...wound on your shoulder. (as Ido) It's anime rules; I walk it off with my angst.
(Later that night, after returning home, Ido reveals to Alita the fate of his old daughter)
NC (vo): Speaking of which, Ido reveals what happened to his daughter, as a patient of his [Amok], played by, no shit, Casper Van Dien, broke in, looking to steal drugs. Kinda like the...real Casper Van Dien? No, I like him; I won't make that joke.
(Amok sees Dr. Ido and his wheelchair-bound daughter and becomes enraged. He shoves Ido out of the way and then charges toward his daughter, who screams in fright. He raises his arm to strike her, then we cut to her now-empty wheelchair, lying on its side)
Ido: Alita couldn't get out of the way fast enough.
Alita: Did you ever find peace?
Ido: I found you.
Alita: I'm not your daughter.
NC: So, as you may have picked up, this movie is very disjointed...but...every joint is such a good high.
NC (vo): These are still engaging stories that keep me sucked in. There's just...maybe one too many of them. Perhaps if they cut one of them out, like...
(A clip is shown of Hugo taking Alita to a Motorball stadium)
Hugo: Welcome to Motorball!
NC: ...like Motorball.
(Several clips focusing on the action-packed Motorball sequences are shown)
NC (vo): Motorball is technically one of the story threads that ties everyone together. People either work for it or steal parts for it, etc., and that's all good. But the sport itself is...
NC: (hesitantly) ...fine...in another movie. (A shot of a potential sequel to Alita is shown in the corner)
NC (vo): The effects aren't as impressive as the other scenes, it's not that visually stunning, and the only real personality I get out of it is...
NC: (flexing his muscles while scowling) "Grrr!"
NC (vo): Had they made it more colorful, like maybe the Speed Racer movie, I might have enjoyed it more. But as is, it just looks like a podrace run by that carnival from A.I. Artificial Intelligence. I keep expecting Chris Rock's head to say... (As Chris Rock, as a Photoshopped image of his head flies by during the Motorball race) "It's Jabba the Hutt!"
(Meanwhile, we see Hugo secretly robing cyborgs of their parts for Vector, owner of the Motorball tournament and the 'de facto' ruler of the Factory, Iron City's governing authority)
NC (vo): We discover Hugo is stealing parts from cyborgs for a businessman named Vector, played by Mahershala Ali. But no time for that; we got to drive our ice cream truck to an abandoned warzone.
(The next day, Alita and Hugo spot a crashed spaceship outside the city in a lake)
Hugo: This ship is from the Battle of Zalem.
NC (vo): This was an enemy ship that Alita is strangely drawn to and discovers a body inside that, big shock, fits her perfect. Hey, I found a body that fits me perfect, too, but I deal with what I can get. (A shot of NC with an over-muscled body is shown)
(Alita brings the body to Ido, hoping he will put her in the new body)
Ido: Forget it.
NC (vo): She tries to have Ido install her into the body, but he refuses.
Ido: This is called a Berserker, the most advanced cyborg weapon ever created. (Alita sheds a tear)
NC: (as Ido) It was based on a very phallic anime. (A shot of an anime is shown in the corner, with a man holding out a very long sword in a rather suggestive position) I put you in this, (points to camera) you will have a dick!
NC (vo): He says it's too dangerous, as the body is trained to attack without hesitation, despite them now putting together she was most likely an enemy soldier.
Ido: I will never unite you with this body.
Alita: That's fine. Fine. (turns to leave)
NC: (as Ido) Is that a real "that's fine", or an "I'm gonna wake up with my balls inside my mouth" fine?
(Believing that fighting will help her rediscover her past, Alita registers herself as a Hunter-Warrior and heads for the Kansas Bar)
NC (vo): She registers to be a Hunter-Warrior and enters a bar for bounty hunters to ask for help finding Grewishka.
(Inside the bar, Alita spots a puppy and bends down to pet it)
Johnny: (audio from The Room) Hi, doggy.
(Hugo, who is in the bar, sees her and stares in confusion)
NC: (shaking head) He has a look like...
NC (vo): ..."Yeah, that dog's so dead."
Alita: (addressing the bar patrons) I came to ask for your help against our common enemy, Grewishka, and defeat him once and for all.
NC: So...this scene is done a lot better in the manga.
NC (vo): I know I haven't brought up comparisons too much, but this does point to the problem of "there are one or two many things going on".
(Cut to shots of the "Alita" manga)
NC (vo): In the manga, the first person she fights is Grewishka. (Text appears: "'Makaku' in the manga") And he rips her apart. She's put back together and filled with vengeance, discovering that the guy is so dangerous, no bounty hunter dares to go up against him. This emphasizes not only what a threat he is, but the bloodlust that should possibly be feared inside Alita.
NC: That's...kinda here.
(Cut back to the movie)
NC (vo): But there's so many other things going on, it's not a big focus. Even Grewishka isn't that threatening as he lost to her the first time they met. (Cut to another shot of the manga) Where in the manga, there's literally just pieces of her left. (Cut back to the movie) So if you're wondering why something never quite felt right about this scene, that's probably the reason. But, typical of this film's fashion, there's too much cool stuff afterwards to care, like the intro of Zapan, a bounty hunter so slimy, only Francis from Deadpool can play him. (A shot of Francis Freeman from Deadpool is shown in the corner, for comparison as both are played by Ed Skrein)
Zapan: (to Alita about Hugo) ...if you cut loose meat boy over there and let me buy you a drink.
Hugo: (infuriated) Hey, watch it!
NC: (as Hugo) I'm a meat man!
(Zapan points to a cowboy-looking cyborg with two robo-dogs by his sides)
Zapan: There's McTeague, the dog master. His biggest problem is having enough left to identify after so he can collect the bounty.
NC: (as Zapan) We also think he might be... (McTeague is shown again, accompanied by a shot of Quicksilver from the cartoon show SilverHawks) ...the guitar guy from SilverHawks, but nobody wants to watch SilverHawks to find out.
Zapan: (pointing out a female cyborg with a screw in her head) Well, this is Screwhead, one of our most lea–
NC: I mean, it wasn't bad, I just feel like I would put it on my queue and then always find reasons not to watch it, but you get the idea.
Zapan: Well, this is Screwhead, one of our–
NC: (holds up index finger) The intro was amazing, though. Okay, I'm done.
(Alita starts attacking the cyborgs and the place erupts into a typical barroom brawl)
NC (vo): This, of course, results in a fight, and as you'd expect, it's a shit-ton of fun.
(Hugo joins the fight as well, punching one cyborg in the stomach so hard that it causes him to short out)
NC (vo; as Hugo): I'm helping! Meat man, motherfucker!
(Suddenly, Dr. Ido comes in, wielding his scythe)
Dr. Ido: (shouting) Knock it off! Or no more free repairs! (Everyone abruptly stops fighting and stares at him)
NC (vo): Ido comes in and breaks up the rumble...
(Ido sees an overturned glass and turns it up again)
NC: Yeah, that cleaned up the place.
(Suddenly, an improved version of Grewishka enters the bar)
NC (vo): But Grewishka finds them and they discover he's been given upgrades.
Grewishka: I'm only here for the girl.
(Hugo looks toward Alita)
NC (vo; as Hugo): Take her. (whispers) Meat man away!
(The puppy from earlier barks at Grewishka)
Grewishka: The only one with courage.
NC: (nodding nervously) I've seen Elfin Lead. I know where this is going.
(Grewishka fires a blast at the puppy, killing it and leaving nothing but a puddle of blood. Everyone reacts audibly, while Alita reaches out and touches the blood with her fingers and rubs some of it under her eyes, as seen on the posters, which are all shown as NC speaks)
NC (vo): I'll admit, there's something funny knowing that in all the badass advertising with the blood under her eyes, it comes from a cute little puppy.
NC: It's like finding out Rambo got his... (A shot of Rambo is shown firing his bow and arrow) ...bow and arrow from a community college production of (The poster for The Adventures of Robin Hood (starring Errol Flynn) is shown) Robin Hood. It sucks the intensity out a little bit.
(Alita attempts to fight Grewishka, but despite her combat skills, Alita's body is damaged by Grewishka)
NC (vo): Alita goes to fight Grewishka, but with his upgrades, he cartoonishly rips her limb from limb.
(Having done so, Alita tries to crawl away with one arm and her upper body, but Grewishka grabs her by her hair and pulls her up. She grunts in agony)
NC (vo; as Grewishka): Had enough?
Grewishka: Pleading for mercy?
(With her remaining arm, she leans back and brings her fist forward so hard that when she decks him, she sticks in his face)
Alita: (grimly) Fuck your mercy!
NC: Mmm...somehow, that should've been more cool. (nods)
NC (vo): It is around here that I realize I'm not always as invested as I think the film wants me to be, and that is a problem. Had she said that to Ido while they were fighting, I'd be like "Holy shit, that's intense!" But here, I don't really get much of a rivalry between them.
NC: Honestly, a more fitting line would be...
(The scene with most of Alita's body torn up is shown again)
Black Knight: (audio from Monty Python and the Holy Grail) I'll bite your legs off!
(Ido, Hugo and McTeague arrive and force Grewishka to retreat, and later, Ido transplants Alita into the Berserker body)
NC (vo): The others come in to save her, resulting in Ido having no choice but to give her the Berserker body.
Ido: No one will dare harm you again.
NC (vo): Eh, I'm not gonna lie: I'm feeling a little let down I wasn't as invested in that fight as I'd like to be.
(Alita comes to in her new body and kisses Ido who is sleeping)
NC: Aaaand I'm immediately charmed back in. That's the magic of this movie. Even when it's not great, it's still great.
Alita Blu-Ray: Wow, that's amazing! So, people saw this film, like, a ton of times, right?
NC: (moves eyes shiftily, looking nervous) Um...
Alita Blu-Ray: What was this, the second or third-highest grossing movie ever?
NC: (embarrassed) Well, it would begin to make its money back...
Alita Blu-Ray: Are you saying I wasn't a hit?
NC: (even more embarrassed) Um...sit down.
Alita Blu-Ray: I can't; I'm a Blu-Ray.
NC: Well, then, you have nothing to worry about.
Alita Blu-Ray: Hooray!
(NC looks down, feeling quite nervous. With that, we go to a commercial break. Upon return, the movie resumes with Alita meeting Hugo in her new body)
NC (vo): So Alita goes to Hugo to reveal her new body.
Hugo: Close your eyes.
NC (vo; as Alita): Okay, but it'll take two minutes.
Alita: Does it bother you that I'm not completely human?
NC: Hey, look, people found this hot. (A shot of Neytiri from Avatar is shown in the corner) You're on the more average side of the spectrum!
NC (vo): Their relationship elevates to...watching outside the window...
(As we cut back to NC, a clip of Superman Returns is shown in the corner, showing Superman using his x-ray vision to spy on Lois Lane in her home)
NC: Hey, it's not cool when Superman does it; it's not cool when you do it.
NC (vo): ...as Alita confesses her love by – you guessed it – literally giving her heart! (Alita removes her heart from her body and gives it to Hugo) Oh, this was a Cameron-written scene, wasn't it?
Alita: (opening up her body) I'll give you whatever I have.
Hugo: What are you doing?
NC: (as Hugo) Aw, I knew you're stuffed!
Alita: (taking our her heart) I'd give you my heart. (It beats in her hand, to Hugo's confusion)
NC: (as Hugo) Isn't that, uh, a little bit on the nose? (as Alita, pretending to hold out heart) You want my nose, too? I can give you that. (puts his hands on his nose and twists it, making a cracking sound; NC as Hugo jumps back, yelping)
(Having fallen in love with Hugo, Alita enters a Motorball tryout race for the prize money to send Hugo to Zalem)
NC (vo): Hugo might be making his way to Zalem through his connections with Vector, so Alita tries out for Motorball, as the ultimate champion gets sent up there as well.
Ido: (giving Alita some parts) Try these.
Alita: Did you make these for me?
Ido: Yes. (Alita smiles)
NC: Jesus, he makes me wish I was a robot teenage girl!
(Hugo's relationship with Alita leads him to decide to quit his criminal job. He confronts his partner Tanji, but Zapan appears and confronts them)
NC (vo): But Nova, the unseen, most powerful man in Zalem, is pulling strings by rigging the game and also framing Hugo.
Hugo: There's no marker out on me.
Zapan: There will be.
Hugo: I never killed anyone!
(In response, Zapan beheads a knocked-out cyborg)
NC: (as Hugo) That was you! You know you did that, right?
Tanji: (running up) Hugo, run!
(Tanji tries to fight Zapan, but Zapan effortlessly slashes him RIGHT IN TWO!! The PG-13 rating logo is shown)
NC (vo; nasally voice): Rated PG-13!
(Outraged at his friend being killed, Hugo throws a light at Zapan. It hits him on the shoulder and bursts into flame. Zapan cries out as he is being burned. Hugo runs off. Then we cut to the Motorball game, where Ido attends to watch Alita)
NC (vo): Hugo runs, and Ido discovers all the players in the game are getting paid to take Alita out.
Ido: (discreetly calling Alita) They're gonna kill you! It's a setup! You gotta get out of there!
(In response, Alita simply smiles, both at Ido and the other racers, who holds a spinning saw blade to her in a menacing way. She is unfazed)
NC (vo): Again, one of my favorite scenes is just a look. She's told everyone is against her, and she's like "Fucking good! I'm down for a Transformers salad. You bitches are going down."
(The race begins, with Alita gaining a sizeable and throwing rollerballs at her competition)
NC (vo): Despite it not looking real, the action is still pretty fun, like RoboCop playing rollerball...robo...rollerball...I got nothing.
Announcer: ...with the face of an angel and a body built for battle!
NC (vo; as announcer): I'm gonna call her "Girl"!
(One of the rival cyborgs throws Alita throw a huge screen, shattering it. She then leaves the stadium while the other rivals chase after her)
NC (vo): They eventually leave the stadium and continue to battle on the streets.
(In the ensuing brawl that occurs, one of the rival cyborgs get crushed in what looks like a metal mincer)
NC (vo; as cyborg): How the hell is this PG-13– (stops as cyborg gets crushed for good; normal) Hugo calls Alita for help, but Zapan gets to him first. (Zapan impales Hugo in the stomach, killing him) Chiren, however, shows up, having a change of heart, and says she can help.
(As Zapan confronts Alita, she holds Hugo's decapitated head in her arms, wrapped in a cloth)
Alita: Hugo is dead.
(Zapan parts the cloth, revealing Hugo's head is connected to Alita's heart through her body)
NC: (as Zapan) Wait, there's some Futurama bullshit going on here! (As he says this, a shot of an episode of Futurama is shown in the corner, showing Fry as a security guard looking at several jars full of the heads of past U.S. Presidents)
NC (vo): Trying to steal the bounty violates the hunter's code, allowing Alita to...
NC: (running his hand over his face) ...face... (pulls hand away) ...off.
(Alita cuts Zapan's face off of him)
NC (vo; as Zapan): Jesus! How does The Matrix get an R rating, but not us?! I've seen snuff films less violent!
(Later, Ido comes out to see Alita about Hugo, who is getting a new cyborg body of his own)
NC (vo; as Alita): Oh, thank God you got Hugo. The bounty on him is huge. (normal) Ido tries his best to fix Hugo up, and word gets back that Chiren helped them escape.
Chiren: (to Vector) I can't do this anymore. I'm out.
(Alita storms the Factory and confronts Vector)
NC (vo): Once Alita breaks in to get answers, she sadly discovers Chiren's fate.
Vector: (gesturing toward a case) I have Dr. Chiren in here. (He opens the case, revealing Chiren's organs inside! Vector had apparently so not taken kindly to Chiren leaving him that he had her killed and her organs harvested as punishment) Nova demands body parts for his experiments.
NC: Okay, as sad as that is, those eyes...
(Chiren's eyes, which are moving around, are among the harvested body parts)
NC (vo): ...moving are hilarious.
NC: (makes a mouth motion with his hand) I wanna hear her little mouth in whatever jar that's in to say...
Sarah Williams (audio from Labyrinth): I hate you! I hate you!
(Vector closes the case as Alita glowers darkly at him. An even-more improved Grewishka then attacks Alita)
NC (vo): Grewishka attacks, and she has a flashback to all the evils Zalem has done in the past, making her realize Nova is the true enemy.
Alita: (confronting Grewishka) You're just his slave. And I'm just an insignificant girl.
NC: Oh, is this where you're gonna be like Captain Marvel...
NC (vo): ...and play "I'm Just a Girl" because...something patriarchy? I don't know. Damn it, I really thought I could get through this review without mentioning that film.
(Yelling, Alita leaps at Grewishka and slices his body in half, head and all. He collapses)
NC (vo; as Grewishka): PG-1– Fuck it, we're NC-17!
Ido: (to Alita via communicator) Vector and his forces came looking for Hugo.
(Alita discovers a desperate Hugo climbing a cargo tube towards Zalem)
NC (vo): She discovers Hugo has escaped and is literally climbing his way to Zalem and...
NC: (looking uncomfortable) This is another area where they sadly dropped the ball.
(Cut to footage of the original anime)
NC (vo): In the other versions, Hugo's nice, but he's also desperate, scrawny, kind of a goofball, and even has a tragic backstory about how his brother died trying to reach Zalem via balloon. So when you see him climbing up in a fit of madness, you can see it's someone who's gone off the rails. Hell, in the manga, (A shot of the manga is superimposed) he goes on a killing spree before doing so.
(Cut back to Hugo in the movie)
NC (vo): This version is certainly bulkier and a ladies' man, but honestly was working okay until this scene. What should be someone pushed to the edge, losing everything, from his mind to literally his body, is a dude acting like he has to move back in with his mom.
(We then alternate for a bit between the anime and live-action versions of Hugo)
Hugo (anime): Forget it! I'm never going back to that filthy garbage heap!
Hugo (live-action): You'll always be running.
Hugo (anime): (crazed) Yes! It's Zalem! I'm almost there!
Hugo (live-action): (pointing to Zalem) We belong up there, Alita!
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Seinfeld)
George Costanza (Jason Alexander): (to Jerry Seinfeld) How can I move back in with those people? Please, tell me. They're insane!
(Cut back to Alita)
Hugo: There's a bounty on me! This is the only way!
NC: (holding up hands defensively) I want to make it clear: I don't think it's the actor's fault.
NC (vo): I'm sure he gave the exact performance asked for. I just think they went less for struggling skin-and-bones hopelessness and more the best friend from Boy Meets World. It would have had a bigger impact if they kept closer to the source.
Hugo: If I go back down there, I'm dead.
Alita: Come on, we have to go back down.
NC: (as Hugo) But it's my Holy Land, my Jeru-Zalem.
NC (vo): They're watched by the all-seeing Nova, who coincidentally looks like (A shot of James Cameron appears in the corner, to whom Nova bears a striking resemblance) Cameron...? Message, Rodriguez? ...and he destroys Hugo off the beam.
(Sticking her sword into the wall, Alita grabs one of Hugo's arms to save him from falling. They hang in midair)
NC (vo; as Alita): Hey, you're lighter than I thought! Lose weight?
(But it's no use; Hugo's arm breaks off and he falls to his doom)
NC (vo): Hugo drops to his death, and Alita vows vengeance on Nova, the puppet master behind it all. How pissed off is she? (As Alita sheds a tear, she slices it in half as it falls) She slices her own tear in half. (The following words pop up in yellow, which NC reads dramatically...) ANGST-IME!
(As Alita raises her sword in the air, having spent the next few months becoming a rising Motorball star, the crowd cheers, while Nova takes off his glasses)
Narrator (from Fight Club): I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.
(The camera zooms in on Alita's face and then continues into her eye, where the title appears, ending the movie)
NC (vo): And sadly, we end on that sequel baiting instead of getting a more self-contained ending.
Alita Blu-Ray: What do you mean? Aren't there a lot more books? I'm sure there's a million sequels in the works. (NC scratches his neck in embarrassment) I mean, wasn't this film a big hit?
Voice: No, it wasn't.
Alita Blu-Ray: What?! How is that possible?
Chart Guy: Couple reasons.
(Posters for this film is shown)
Chart Guy (vo): For one, the film was difficult to advertise. True, it had big names behind it, but it was still very odd and tricky to market. Second, though it did better than many experts thought it would, it did not earn its money back domestically. And while overseas, it did better, it's still not enough to see a profitable sequel.
Chart Guy: To put it bluntly, it's still a Rodriguez film and not a Cameron film. (adjusts glasses)
Alita Blu-Ray: What do you mean?
Chart Guy: Usually, Cameron films are instant hits, whereas Rodriguez films are underground hits, building its fanbase over years and years.
NC: Yeah, despite it being one of the best anime adaptations ever, it's still an anime: weird, bizarre, and... (sighs, grimaces and rolls eyes) not having a (makes "finger quotes") "groundbreaking" message like (An image of the following is shown in the corner...) Avatar.
Alita Blu-Ray: But it's so fun and charming and dazzling and a technical feat.
Chart Guy: But it had a few minor things wrong with it, so it sucks. Sorry, them's the breaks.
NC: I know it's not fair, but it's... (suddenly notices that the Alita Blu-Ray is gone) Hey, where'd she go? (realizes) Oh, no! She isn't!
Chart Guy: Oh, but she is!
NC: You don't even know what I'm talking about.
Chart Guy: You're right, I don't.
(We then cut to what looks like the path to Zalem just like in the movie, only in this case, it appears to be called Blockbuster City (as read on a sign pointing the way). The Alita Blu-Ray is climbing towards it)
Alita Blu-Ray: I'm coming, blockbusters, I'm coming!
(At Blockbuster City, we briefly catch glimpses of Blu-Ray releases of other movies all shaking and jumping around, including Home Alone, Batman, Die Hard, the RoboCop collection, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Beauty and the Beast (the original animated one). Meanwhile, NC spots the Alita Blu-Ray climbing towards Blockbuster City and climbs up after it)
Alita Blu-Ray: (turning to NC) Don't try to stop me, Critic! My life is a cosmic joke, pointless and unnecessary.
NC: No, movie, there's so much more to life than being a hit! Don't you know you mean so much to me and so many other fans?
(Footage of the movie is shown one last time as NC gives his final thoughts on it to the Blu-Ray. Posters for Death Note, Dragonball Evolution and Kite are also briefly superimposed, in that order)
NC (vo): We've seen attempt after attempt after attempt of shitty anime remakes, and you're one of the only ones to get the spirit, look, action and charm of the original down. I don't know why so many critics focused on the little things wrong with you when there's a million more things right with you, but the people love you, movie! Your following is growing more and more every day. It's the first time we've seen this director, who spent years making films on dollars and cents, finally direct a movie with an amazing budget, as well as not lose his unique roots and the roots of the source material.
NC: We can find a way, movie! Begin a new sequel!
Alita Blu-Ray: But how? You need money!
NC: (beat) No, you don't. It's a Rodriguez film, remember? He makes films with no money! Hell, he makes them as his kids' birthday presents! (The poster for Sharkboy and Lavagirl is shown in the corner) They can cut the budget in half and he'll still make it amazing! And Disney has Fox now; they're always reviving stuff nobody wants to see. (An image of the remake of The Lion King is shown in the corner, followed by an image of Alita dressed as Snow White) I don't know if they have to make Alita a Disney princess or something, but I'm not giving up hope! And neither should you!
Alita Blu-Ray: You're...you're right. There is an audience that loves me. (NC smiles) Maybe if I just wait long enough, I'll grow enough of a following to show the world I'm worth more attention.
(Suddenly, however, the Alita Blu-Ray explodes in a ball of fire!)
NC: (anguished) NOOOOOOOOO!!!
(Cut again to Blockbuster City, where the Blu-Ray of RoboCop is holding a bazooka that was fired at the Alita Blu-Ray, causing the explosion. The Die Hard Blu-Ray pops up)
Die Hard Blu-Ray (voiced by Rob): What was that?
RoboCop Blu-Ray (voiced by Doug): Oh, just a movie that thought she was one of us.
(The two laugh and leave)
Die Hard Blu-Ray: I bet she didn't even have a happy ending like we do.
RoboCop Blu-Ray: Of course not.
(They laugh again as we cut back to an anguished NC, who stares in stunned shock as the Alita Blu-Ray, now with Hugo's face (from the anime) on it, falling to the ground)
NC: (voice echoing) MOVIEEEEEEEE!!!
(And we cut back to the Cameron dump where he found the Alita Blu-Ray. He hangs his head dejectedly while a red balloon floats by with the word "SEQUEL?" written on it. He looks up to see the balloon float by into the sky. He then looks back down again briefly before looking into the camera with a slight look of annoyance)
NC: I mean, seriously, Disney, you made these. (A collage of Disney sequels, almost all of them direct-to-video, is shown) You owe us a sequel we actually want.
Channel Awesome tagline – Alita: Do you have any...
NC: (satanic voice) HAM!!!
(The credits roll)