Honest Trailer Tackles Alita: Battle Angel: A Fun Movie That the Alt-Right Hijacked
There are few movies that came out this year that have as interesting a story as Alita: Battle Angel, directed by Robert Rodriguez and starring Rosa Salazar as the titular Battle Cyborg, Alita. Despite mixed reviews, it got a lot of praise for being the first successful manga-to-live-action Hollywood film that both stays true to the source material and delivers a diverse cast. Yet, because of the internet and a slow burn, it became one of the highest-grossing movies of the year, even if you didn’t exactly know what it was about.
Honest Trailers tackles the fun action-adventure elements of the film, with its sword fights, Xtreme sports, and sci-fi elements, with an audience that also turned Alita into their “cool girl” champion when Captain Marvel rolled around. It’s a disappointing narrative because Alita has grown on me a lot from the first time I saw it, and there are so few Latina-led big blockbuster films, let alone by a Mexican-American director and female co-screenwriter (Laeta Kalogridis).
Alita, with “the eyes of a doll, the softness of a body pillow, and the heart of a MacGuffin” is called, in the video, the internet’s perfect woman, being a “sexy killer dumpster baby who’s totally legal,” cause she’s really over 300 years old, and “will kiss you if you give her chocolate.” And while I agree that those are some of the things that elements of fandom may have been latching on to, Alita herself is just your typical wide-eyed protagonist. I appreciate her love of chocolate and the emotional connections she gains in the movie.
The person I blame for this narrative is alt-right troll Jack Posobiec, who, as our Chelsea Steiner pointed out in her post, “posted a video asking fans to skip Captain Marvel and see Alita, dubbing it the #AlitaChallenge.”
I found this deeply irritating because it reduces all of the good qualities of Alita to this oversimplified girl-with-guns power trope. Is she kind of flat? Yes, but so are most of the characters who aren’t played by Christoph Waltz. Plus, I’m happy that the movie did well, grossing $404.9 million against a $170 million budget, because I want good anime-inspired films to be made. I want to celebrate that a Mexican director made the 10th highest-grossing film of the year without thinking about the alt-right trolls who thought it would be fun to pit two very different movies against each other.
I want to have different female-led movies out from every studio, starring different kinds of wom, without them needing to be pitted against each other. I can promise you that if Carol Danvers and Alita were both real, they would be taking each other out for beer, chocolate, and karaoke.
(image: 20th Century Fox)
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