BATTLE : LA Movie Review
In the next few months, a huge rush of alien related movies are being released (Cowboys vs Aliens, Super 8, Mars Needs Moms, etc), and Battle: Los Angeles is an excellent start to this new alien mania. I'm going against the grain on this one, and despite the poor reviews it's received, I think it's a great movie for all the right reasons.
The basic plot is set in modern day, and starts with an opening battle scene of a violent invasion of Los Angeles by aliens, from the perspective of the defensive American military. It then cuts back to 24 hours before the battle scene, where the main characters (all members of the marines) are called to their stations, and find out that a small scattering of meteorites scheduled to hit the Earth are actually revealed to be mechanical in nature (essentially meaning alien). For the duration of the movie, we follow a small group of marines that are sent on a mission after a sudden violent invasion, and end up having to infiltrate the alien invaders and find their weakness. They do, and gain the tactical advantage, bringing down the attack in Los Angeles.
A lot of people weren't fans of this movie, calling it video game-like in style and yet another pro-war movie playing itself off as a disaster film. I, however, failed to see the down side to these descriptions. In a few words, it was like Michael Bay done right. They did glorify the marines a little bit, but it was done effectively, and not over the top or campy like your typical military scenes in Michael Bay films. It was kind of like watching a video game (sort of like Halo in a few scenes), but video games have become so predominant in the entertainment industry, and so well fitted to the age group going out to see this film, that it seemed appropriate.
Probably my favorite thing about this film was the logic behind it. For one, it took a very realistic, militant perspective on the entire situation. Very few marines, and even less civilians survived - which, unfortunately, is how it would play out in reality. And the motive behind the alien invasion was the first time I've ever seen a logical explanation in a War of the Worlds type movie like this. At the risk of spoiling a plot point, it's revealed that the aliens came for our water. They also mention that our planet is almost completely covered in liquid H2O, which is incredibly rare in the known universe (planets that have the right conditions for water in its liquid state). So for once, aliens are coming for something that makes perfect sense. The acting and dialogue aren't necessarily the greatest in the world, and I felt as though the lead character's (played by Aaron Eckhart) back story was a little unnecessary and seemed slated in to keep viewers who wanted some emotional element happy. There were also other plot loopholes that I could have lived without, but they never took away enough for me to lose interest in the characters or the story.
For what this movie is, an epic running gun battle film essentially, I think Battle:LA does a good job of keeping things interesting and entertaining. Though the dialogue is a bit campy, it still manages to keep you engaged. And really, who's going to see this movie for a feel good time with the kids?