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   The funniest, nastiest movie reviews anywhere.


Alita: Battle Angel


What's scarier?  That 8,000 of your fellow humans trip over themselves to comment on a "news" story about a halter-topped college chick being told to cover up by a too-prude-for-school flight crew, or that only 80 folks care enough to weigh in on an article about how even though you've paid into Social Security your entire working life you won't see a dime of it if you're under 50 years old?


If you want a real scare, take a walk in the uncanny valley with Alita: Battle Angel.  The uncanny valley is the poetic description of the scientific phenomenon that occurs when some artificial thing, like a skin-colored robot, looks almost but not quite human.  Actual humans' brains like when non-human things look human.  Why else would people dress up their dogs?  But when the robot or whatever looks really close to human but definitely couldn't pass for one, our brains freak out.  We've entered the uncanny valley, and no sir, we don't like it.


The uncanny valley aside, the people who are really going to have every color of shit scared out of them by Alita: Battle Angel are actors.  The Alita character, mocapped and voiced by Rosa Salazar, is 100% CGI, but she looks so almost real world that it's only a matter of time before human actors are obsolete.  Instead of dealing with prima donnas who want to be paid, take breaks, and have their egos - and other things - stroked all damn day, Hollywood will just whip up totally human looking "actors" from 1s and 0s, and audiences will never know the difference.


Alita: Battle Angel is based on a Japanese manga.  It takes place in 2563, 300 years after "The Fall."  A cybernetics doctor/mechanic, Dyson Ido (played by decidedly not Asian Christoph "The Last" Waltz), finds a still-functioning cyborg torso.  He cobbles together the rest of a body for it Frankenstein style and creates a being he calls Alita.  Ido gets the name from his dead daughter, which isn't creepy at all.


Alita meets a boy, learns some secrets about her creator, and gets a cyborg hard-on for Motorball, which is a sort of motorized roller derby that's almost but not quite exactly like Rollerball.  At least the minds behind Alita: Battle Angel took the effort to go all the way back to a 1975 film to steal their plot centerpiece.


Beware the Ides of March.  And Alita.


March 15, 2019