Battle: Los Angeles
Here’s some examples of the mundane dialogue that plagued what could have otherwise been an average alien invasion movie.
Aaron Eckhart is comforting an injured soldier on the ground, “You’ll be surfing soon enough, Simmons…“
A different injured soldier on the ground is talking to Aaron Eckhart, “Give this letter to my wife (*cough* *cough*)… That’s an ORDER, staff sergeant…“
A different soldier is moving an injured soldier on the ground into a helicopter, “Everything is gonna be alright! Everything is gonna work out! See you soon, buddy!” (helicopter explodes 10 seconds later)
I think it was Richard Roeper who said watching Battle: Los Angeles is like watching someone else play a video game. That’s pretty accurate. I actually like watching people play video games, though. That is, video games with interesting story in combination with the action. Battle: Los Angeles is like watching someone play Call of Duty online for two hours. It’s interesting for a little while, then gets boring. Because it’s the same crap over and over again.
The action in the movie was fairly decent, there were scenes of quality suspense mixed with loud explosions. It was nice of them to spend the first 10 minutes introducing characters that you assume will all be dead by the end of the movie. They had the mix of likable and stubborn, rookies and veterans, the foreign guy and the hillbilly. The first actual scene of the film started out right in the action, which was awesome. Then they went back in time a little bit and gave us some annoying character development of people I don’t want to know about. The main back story is that Aaron Eckhart was on a mission previously that he let some of his soldiers get killed on, one of which is the brother of a solder he has to work with now. I figure standard military procedure wouldn’t pair the two of them up like this, but I guess it was special circumstances, with the aliens and whatnot.
Side Note: Will people stop casting Michelle Rodriguez in roles clearly designed for men? We get it, she's tough, she was in Girlfight, enough already!
But these needless back stories helped contribute to the pacing problems that haunted Battle: Los Angeles. There would be an almost decent gunfight scene, but then it would be followed by 6 minutes of characters bickering about how Aaron Eckhart is a coward who killed his soldiers a few years ago. He just saved your life, jerk! Quit bringing that up!
As much as I’m moderately praising the action in this movie, it technically overall wasn’t really that great. But it’s satisfactory, I suppose. It felt like the same action scene over and over again, and it eventually got tiresome. This movie made me tired. I went home and took a nap afterwards.
Remember those Army commercials from several years ago where the marine is like fighting a dragon on a bridge, being all B.A., trying to get people to enlist? This is basically the two hour version of that. I was expecting the "Army Strong" logo to appear during the credits.
I wish it was rated-R, though. Not for more swearing, nudity, or gory violence (PG-13 violence has proven to be pretty graphic nowadays anyway). But since it was PG-13, I had to endure a theater filled with loud, annoying children. I had no idea this was going to be a family film. And further more, the lady sitting right behind me started shaking her popcorn bag every two minutes. You have to be some kind of sociopath to knowingly cause that much noise in a movie theater. Is it that hard for people to sit still and be quiet for two hours??
Overall, this film is a step up from last year’s Los Angeles alien invasion movie Skyline. But i wouldn’t really recommend either of them, to be honest. Especially Skyline.
*The best part about seeing Battle: Los Angeles, though, was the trailer beforehand for Super 8. It looks awesome! It’s like a mix between Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goonies, and a kick-ass monster B-movie.
Ah yes, I knew I forgot to do something over the weekend...see this movie. I did however organize my garage, which is a mishmash of lumber scraps, old tools, hardware, boxes of nostalgic trinkets, my dad's old army uniforms and a lot of dust. Perhaps I could use these elements to create a scifi action movie of my own. From your description, it sounds like the lack of a script would not matter.
Supposedly "Skyline" was made as a side project during Battle LA filming. It is too bad this movie is getting such bad reviews. ID4 was hokey but by 1996 standards it was an awesome movie.
Super8 is JJ Abrams' homage to Spielberg. Conveniently Spielberg is exec. producer. Not a bad position to be in for JJ.
Usually the US Military is happy to participate in movies like this, as they are in Transformers, Armageddon etc because they are indeed good recruiting tools. Perhaps a good scifi movie would depict a bunch of kids joining the army after seeing a scifi action movie, only to find themselves fighting real aliens after an invasion.
Ok, here's my review:
Ensemble cast of different races, some cute kids and nasty hard to kill aliens - can't miss.
Some good one liners "Aren't you a doctor?" - "Only animals and aliens."
Weak dialogue, but seriously, what could you have to talk about when your world is being overrun with aliens?
"Staff Sergeant, what should we do?"
"Private, gather your men and prepare to move out. Take a machine gun crew and...wait a minute. Did I ever tell you about the first time I knew I wanted to be a Marine? It was 1973. I was just a kid. My grandpa had stormed Normandy and lost his leg. One day he was bouncing me on his one remaining knee..."
Actually I think they had some of that too. They tried to get us to feel something for the main characters. There were a few red shirts on the team too. Then Michelle Rodriguez appears halfway in and reminds us that she is good at playing soldiers. A woman with a gun? Say it ain't so Marines.
Effects. I would not call this an effects movie. Most of the action was from the point of view of the soldiers, either in the air or on foot. I will say that, as shown in District 9 and Cloverfield, you can now do convincing compositing over shaky hand held footage. No need for beauty crane shots when you can tell the story from eye level. That's cool.
The aliens and technology was believeable. No mega flying saucers. And their weapons seemed to be realistic - no death rays. And no Independence Day style city leveling. This is an enemy we can fight. If not for the surprise attack we could have beat them sooner.
Listen to me, I'm talking like this really happened! Well, I liked it. A bit heavy on the Velveeta, but you take what you can get.
What would happen if real extraterrestrials with violent intent attacked all major cities of the Earth at once without warning?
Could the US military mobilize immediately without debate in Congress? Do we actually have enough assets domestically to counter such an attack?
The Event - a decent science fiction/political thriller on some tv channel (I don't pay attention to networks - I just set my DVR and watch) - which is about an alien conspiracy against the US government addressed this issue last week. The President ordered the military to send a Delta force unit to San Francisco to round up the bad guys. A cabinet official immediately quoted Posse Comitatus. The President overruled and sent them anyway citing national emergency.
Anyway, this movie more than other alien invasion movies got me thinking about this contingency.
In reality, the chances of a Class M planet with an intelligent race capable of faster than light travel are slim to none - or they would have been here already!
Food for thought...since we are food for ET.
I suppose that was one aspect I did find at least interesting about Battle LA, the ground level human perspective. It made it more suspenseful, rather than seeing what the aliens were up to all the time, they jumped out and ambushed without notice.
But in terms of movie situations becoming real; much like if a zombie outbreak occurred, if a violent alien outbreak happened, I would immediately head over to the local Wal-Mart I never shop at, gather up all the guns that are left, and form my own one man army. Target doesn't have guns, so I think this would be the only situation on the planet I would ever choose Wal-Mart over Target. The second I saw aliens plowing people down, I'd figure the U.S. government immediately drops the Republican and Democratic parties, and immediately becomes an Anarchy Party, and people just have to defend for themselves. Sure, maybe after a while if the army puts up a good fight somehow, they will make it to my neighborhood and rescue me, but I can't sit around waiting for the government to do something. They can barely decide whether or not health insurance is a threat to the public...
All that being said, I'm no super soldier (or regular soldier) so realistically I'll be killed and/or harvested in the first few days... Lousy aliens! Zombies I could probably handle better. But yeah, like you said, aliens would have probably been here by now if they had the technology to do so, which leads me to believe they aren't the real threat to the humanity.
...What is, you ask...?
I'll be killed and/or harvested in the first few days
Yeah, that is because you stocked up on guns. You should have stocked up on water (or even better..lots of glasses of water) and big baseball bats that say Slugger or something like that on them. And for back up you need a country music CD. Be careful with that, it could injure your ear drums. Ear plugs are a must with that back up weapon. I think FEMA should start offering Alien and Zombie preparedness classes.
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Finally got to see it. It is what it is and I enjoyed it. First off, When they say everything is going to be okay and then moments latter they end up dying like Scott addressed. That reminded me of the scene in National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon where a person gets shot and asks the cops if he will be okay. Samuel L Jacksons character gives him a big thumbs up and says you are going to be okay. Then they zip him up in a body bag and throw him in the back of morgue truck.
The dialog is bad and I'm not sure why you speed up if you are about to hit a deer. I like how the movie started out and I thought the part where the aliens first ambush them in the neighborhood was cool. I also like how it was just their perspective of the alien attach. Where as movies like ID4 you see everything that is going on from a ton of different peoples view point. This movie left you wondering what was going on around them. The only time you watched something happen outside of where they where was if it was on the news. Also, my Dad was a Marine and it was fun to watch it with him. He said they did a good job of acting like Marines in combat. So many times in movies you see the sniper standing on the roof holding their Riffle, where that would never happen, your arms would get tired real quick. I guess soldiers wearing the wrong rank or it is upside down happens to much so this was accurate in that regard. Also, at the beginning when Sgt. Major Dever is on the news telling them the plan...a Sgt. Major would not do that. But then if you watch the making of you find out that he was the one that trained the actors in a few day Boot Camp. So they put him in as a cameo and I thought that was cool.
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