After Ryan’s birthday (my cousin’s son) dinner last night, we went to watch movie Alita: Battle Angel, a movie based on Yukito Kishiro's manga series Gunnm, also known as Battle Angel Alita. My mom and my aunty love it so much. Rancid and Ryan, two hyperactive boys, were glued to their sits. My brother and cousins were mesmerized (although my brother later said, “Sikda fight alu juak orang jaik ya”). I’m happy that we choose to watch a movie rather than go for karaoke that night. I wholeheartedly recommend this movie: full of action pack, superb graphics, moving storyline, and awesome settings and since I already warned of spoiler alerts – valuable lessons in life which I will share in this article.
In the year 2563 (what a very random year, right?), a catastrophic war is known as The Fall has left the Earth devastated. While scouting the junkyard metropolis of Iron City, cyborg scientist Dr. Dyson Ido discovers a “disembodied female cyborg with a fully intact human brain.” It was thought that she was fallen from the sky city, Zalem. Ido then rebuilds the cyborg, who don’t have any recollections of her past, and names her ‘Alita’ after his deceased daughter with Chiren, Ido’s ex-wife. Ido once said to Alita, when she asked about who she was in the past, “I don’t know… [but] you are someone very special, not just a teenage girl.” As the story evolves, indeed, Alita is very special. I fall in love with her character and my heart melted when I see her beautiful big eyes. Wow! Here are Seven (7) Lessons I Learned from watching this movie:
#1 One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure. What one person may consider worthless could be highly prized or valued by someone else. Dr. Ido works as a clinical doctor. Most of his patients are cyborgs (part human, part machine) and so, most probably he scouting for spare parts at the junkyard. There he found Alita, who soon will become the most highly prized Motorball champion! If Ido doesn’t discover Alita and bring her home and give her body, she might still be a worthless, useless and unwanted junk! Normal workers might see her like trash, but Ido sees the treasure. In life, the greatest treasure probably can be found in the most unlikely places and events.
#2 Know Who You Are. Alita don’t know who she was and what she did in the past. After she gets adjusted with the new body, she asks Ido, “I don’t mean to be rude, but am I supposed to know you?” In which Ido reply, “Actually we just met… when I found you, your very human brain was miraculously intact.” Once she admits, “It’s the loneliest feeling not to know who you are.” Ido comforted her by saying, “In time you’ll remember.” Throughout the story, she slowly recalled bits of her memories. The more she knows about her past and who she was, the more she became determine and soon discover her purpose in life. She is empowered by the revelation of who she really is. “I’m a warrior!” she said as she displays her lethal Panzer Kunst fighting skills one night during one of her first fights. Beyoncé said, "Knowing who you are is the greatest wisdom a human being can possess. Know your goals, what you love, your morals, your needs, your standards, what you will not tolerate and what you are willing to die for. It defines who you are.”
#3 Be Comfortable In Your Own Skin. The Free Dictionary defines this idiom as “displaying relaxed confidence in and clear understanding of oneself and one's abilities.” For the case of Alita, when she found and brings home a Berserker body (a very advanced fighting cyborg body made from nanotechnology) from a drowned ship outside the city, Ido refuses to install her in it, fearing the consequences of her heart's full compatibility with it. She ‘stuck’ with Ido’s daughter’s body, while she is very sure that a Berserker body is meant for her (Once she said to Ido in anger, “I’m not your daughter!”). During her fight with Grewishka, her body is sliced up with bladed fingers. She survives during the fight and Ido have no choice but to transplants Alita in the Berserker body, which automatically interfaces with her system. She says, “This body, I feel a connection to it that I can’t explain.” The Berserker is meant for Alita and she knows it all along (The Damascus Blade, originally wielded by Zapan, is actually meant for Alita too). “To be comfortable in your own skin,” Charles Handy asserts, “is the beginning of strength.”
#4 Touch, the Sense that Makes Us Human. What makes us human? Dr. David Linden, in his book Touch: The Science of the Sense that Makes Us Human, as you can guess the answer, writes, “Touch is the most important sense we have. Without it, we cannot entirely feel pleasure or pain - we are less than human.” Alita fall in love with Hugo. But she knows that she is a cyborg and Hugo is a fully human. After she was transplanted in a new body, she asked Hugo to touch her. Then she asks, “Does it bother you that I’m not completely human?” Hugo reply is sweet as sugar, “You are the most human person I have ever met.” Oh, Hugo… here we go….
#5 Always Be Good to Others, Until They Can’t Ignore You. There are lots of funny scenes in the movie. One of it is when Alita challenge all the Hunter-Warriors to join her cause to take down Grewishka which end up with a riot (bar fight). Ido, the least Hunter Warrior breaks the fight by saying this to all of them: “If all of you won’t stop fighting, I will not fix you anymore.” With that, they all stop fighting. Why? Surely it’s not because Ido is the greatest warrior of them all. He’s old. Obviously, it’s because Ido has helped them all in the past! John Templeton reasons, “It is nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” When you treat others nicely and good like Ido, you’ll be an important person that no one can ignore you.
#6 Family/Relationship is More Important than Ambition/Dream. After the death of her daughter, Chiren, Ido’s ex-wife, work for Vector in order to achieve her dream to return to Zalem, the sky city, again. But after she witnessed Alita’s love for Hugo, it reminds her of what’s really important in life and turned her attention to help Alita win. Hugo too dreams of going to Zalem at all cost. But when he falls in love with Alita, he slowly fixes his focus on the relationship (although later in the movie, Hugo did try to climb to the city and then changed his mind again). Chiren and Hugo’s ambitions to go to Zalem hinder their focus on what’s really important and right there by their sides. Chiren left Ido; Hugo tries to leave Alita. Michael Imperioli puts the perspective right, “My family is my life, and everything else comes second as far as what's important to me.” Don’t be so heavenly minded [or Zalem’s minded] that you’re no earthly good [or forget about what’s really important HERE and NOW].
#7 Dream Big Dreams! But there are dreams that are noble and good. I’m not saying (in Lesson #6) don’t dream a big dream or be lack of ambition. I’m saying don’t let it distract you from what’s important here and now such as family and good relationships – that’s all. In life, however, we must have dreams or something that you want to achieve in life, preferably, big dreams. After the death of Hugo, Alita, in the ending scene, points her sword [as the crowd cheers] towards Zalem while Nova watches her from above. Her focus is upward – not to stay there, but to destroy it! Now she knows what her mission in the past, what she meant to do – to destroy Zalem and killed Nova. Of course, it would not sound right if I encourage you to dream to kill and destroy. The motive behind Alita’s mission is to change the way people think about Nova and Zalem. They are not beyond reach and they are not untouchable. Nova is not God or divine and Zalem is not impenetrable. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer,” explains Harriet Tubman as if he refers to Alita, “Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
Alita: Battle Angel is a great movie. Go watch it in the cinema! (Or probably not, since you already decided to read my spoiler alert article to the end. Then, buy a DVD). You will fall in love with Alita as I do. I imagine she says this to me: “I’d do whatever I had to for you [Richard]. I’d give you whatever I have. I’d give you… my heart.” Awwwhhh. Sweet! But not too intimate ya... remember what Alita said to Vector? "You make the biggest mistake of your life..." "And what's that?" "Underestimating who I am." Move away!
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.