Alita: Battle Angel 3D Blu-ray Review

A deactivated cyborg is revived, but cannot remember anything of her past life and goes on a quest to find out who she is. Check out Ralph Potts’ 3D Blu-ray review of Alita: Battle Angel from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/3D Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

96

Details:

Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox – 2019
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 122 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Action/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC/MVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earl Haley, Keean Johnson
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Music by: Tom Holkenborg
Written by: James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 23, 2019

“Her Legend Begins…”

Synopsis:

“A centuries old and deactivated cyborg is discovered and revived, but cannot remember anything of her past life and goes on a quest to find out who she is.” – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

My Take:

When Alita (Rosa Salazar) awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Doctor Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate man, with a complicated past, who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary history.

As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious past, while her street-smart new friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers instead to help trigger her memories. It is only when the deadly and corrupt forces that run the city come after Alita that she discovers a clue to her true origins – she has unique fighting abilities that those in power will stop at nothing to control. If she can stay out of their grasp, she could be the key to saving her friends, her family and the world she’s grown to love.

Upon seeing the trailer for Alita: Battle Angel I was instantly hooked. Being a fan not only of the genre but, of films that feature strong female characters, I was all in and there to see it when it opened in theaters. Co-written by James Cameron and directed by Robert Rodriguez Alita: Battle Angel was essentially everything I hoped it would be. No, it’s not an end to end film experience that cinephiles are going to wax poetic about. Based on the graphic novel (‘Manga’) Series Gunnm by Yukito Kishiro it is a sci-fi adventure with a thin but, solidly executed story with a multi-genre tone that revolves around a wonderfully drawn character on a path to discovery.

The narrative isn’t deep but, it’s Alita’s journey and what we come to learn about not only her ability to kick some serious ass but, also her humanity and the potential complexities associated with her past life that make the film work. I enjoyed seeing Alita: Battle Angel in the theater and that didn’t change upon this second viewing. Rosa Salazar owns the character and her performance is a key component in its telling. I will take any opportunity to watch Christoph Waltz onscreen and enjoyed the chemistry he shared with Salazar here. The remaining members of the cast which consists of some quality actors, were fine but, added little to the film’s overall impact.

Aside from Salazar and Waltz, the star of the show is the production elements which is fantastic. Motion Capture is just so cool and it works so well in this application. The action is terrific, offering fans a number of big set pieces that deliver the goods within the context of the storyline. I recall saying to my wife (who also enjoyed the movie) during the theatrical presentation that this is sure to look and sound great in our home theater. Read on to see if my prediction was true. As a genre fan I am pleased to report that [i]Alita: Battle Angel] is popcorn entertainment at its best.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

 

3D Presentation: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Depth (Onscreen): 
  • Dimension (Beyond the screen): 
  • Realism: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 

 

Alita: Battle Angel 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p MVC encoded and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

This film was shot natively in 3D and utilizes a mix of live action and CG. I was very pleased to see that the reproduction of the digital effects translates as well here as it does in the 2D presentation. Comparing white/black levels, color and skin tone reproduction I found them to essentially be identical as well. Presented in its original aspect of 2.39:1 detail is well preserved as the image retains its high level of clarity with objects and people within the frame appearing noticeably delineated and sharp. Depth of field is excellent as there is a natural sense of dimension with regard to foreground/background spacing and movement. The cinematography utilizes near field camera perspectives that enhance proportional correlation.

There is limited but, effective use of 3D effects that transcend the boundaries of the screen which makes for an involving experience especially during the large-scale set pieces containing many moving parts. Compared to the 2D presentation I found this to be the more visually engaging, as adding three-dimensional depth to the equation makes for a gratifying high definition experience that fans of the format will appreciate. Compared to the Ultra HD presentation, I would have to say that I favored it over the 3D version, but truth be told, I could watch either and have a great viewing experience.

Having seen Alita: Battle Angel in the theater I had high hopes for its soundtrack in the home environment and I wasn’t disappointed. This lossless soundtrack is demonstration quality and sounds terrific. This recording has wide dynamic range and boasts an aggressive and loud sound design that in my opinion would make listening at reference levels to be difficult. Dialog is reproduced well, with a prominent position within the soundstage. Front channel separation and imaging was spot on. This helped draw out both large and small sound elements, allowing their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be readily definable. The mix makes effective and aggressive use of the surround channels, submerging the listening position in a rotating web of sound that combines sound effects and musical accompaniment.

This is a dynamically charged sound mix that frequently utilizes the subwoofer to provide viscerally potent impact. The audio’s low frequency effects are applied authoritatively to underscore the bombastic and aggressive aspects of the presentation and it does so quite effectively. Its palpable presence is never in question as it contains refined bass quality that is appreciably superior and room energizing. Listening to approach and passing by of the centurion on the street in the opening act provides an example of what this soundtrack has to offer. From there, prepare to be treated to an engaging listening experience as this is a sophisticated sound design that is loaded with various sound effects, spatial cues, timber rattling low frequency effects, and music. Each is clearly represented with enriching clarity, detail and appropriate sound field placement. I had a blast and enjoyed this audio presentation more at home than in the theater.

2D Video Quality:

Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

 

Alita: Battle Angel comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video.

Having seen Alita: Battle Angel theatrically I found this rendering to faithfully mimic that presentation. The film utilizes a stylized visual design comprised of various elements that represent the differing environs featured in the story. The color range is limited to shades of dark blue, grays and black with splashes of broader colors and muted sepia tones. Warm golden accents are used to break up the monochromatic essence as uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast is spot on which empowers whites and grays without washing away detail. Whites are snappy and crisp and grays are multi-staged and layered. Blacks are dynamic and gradational and detail in shadows is just as strong. The large amount of CGI featured in the film softens some of the background elements but, I didn’t find it to be excessive, or distracting, as the quality of the video is high. It isn’t always razor sharp, but it is cleanly rendered with revealing refinement that increases the perception of fine detail.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Alita: Battle Angel Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Alita: Battle Angel Blu-ray
  • Disc 3: Alita: Battle Angel 3D Blu-ray
    • Alita’s World – get a deeper look into the world of Alita: Battle Angel with these dynamic motion comics.
    o The Fall – a look back at the terrible war that almost destroyed two planets and set the stage for the cyborg warrior Alita’s return 300 years later.
    o Iron City – Hugo gives a guided tour of the Iron City he knows, showing off its dark corners and broken-down neighborhoods.
    o What it Means to be a Cyborg – hunter-warrior Zapan tracks his mark across Iron City while musing about what it means to be a cyborg.
    o Rules of the Game – A high-octane “crash course” in Motorball, introducing the rules, game-play, and the top-ranked players and their arsenal of weapons.
    • From Manga to Screen – a behind-the-scenes look into the origins of Yukito Kishiro’s beloved manga, “Gunnm,” and the long road to bring it to life on the big screen.
    • Evolution of Alita – how Alita was brought to life, from the casting of Rosa Salazar, to performance capture, and final VFX by WETA Digital.
    • Motorball – go inside Iron City’s favorite pastime, from the origins and evolution of the sport, to rules on how the game is played.
    • James Cameron, Robert Rodriguez and cast Q&A moderated by Jon Landau.
    • Robert Rodriguez’s 10 Minute Cooking School: Chocolate – a cooking lesson on how to make delicious chocolate like that seen in the movie.
    • 2005 Art Compilation (2019) – James Cameron’s original compilation of concept art for the then-titled “Battle Angel: Alita,” presented with new voiceover and music.
    • Scene Deconstruction – view three different stages of the production – the original live action performance capture, the animation stage, and the final Weta VFX from four different scenes
    o I Don’t Even Know My Own Name
    o Just an Insignificant Girl
    o I’m a Warrior Aren’t I?
    o Kansas Bar
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Based on the graphic novel (‘Manga’) Series Gunnm by Yukito Kishiro it is a sci-fi adventure with a thin but, solidly executed story with a multi-genre tone that revolves around a wonderfully drawn character on a path to discovery. While it may not rise to level of cinematic greatness, as a dyed in the wool popcorn flick it ticks all the boxes. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD/3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray Combo Pack featuring complimentary 3D quality, excellent high definition video, a terrific DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound mix (2D/3D Blu-ray ONLY), and a fan friendly supplemental set. For those that enjoy the genre, Alita: Battle Angel is simply a must have.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems