Monday, 23 July 2012

Battle: Los Angeles

Alien invasion films really do come and go. There's been so many. Some are good, some are bad, some are just plain mediocre. There's so many options, do you focus on the aliens side of the story, and pay attention to them and their structure and design? Or do you focus entirely on the humans defending the planet, and give a couple of details towards the invaders every now and then? Either way can be effective, but, unfortunately, either way can be ridiculously flawed. Which method did Battle: Los Angeles take? Did it pay off, or did it result in one big flaw of a movie? 

Battle: Los Angeles takes on the basic premise of a standard alien invasion movie. Aliens invade, our Army and Marines defend. We win. Happens all the time and quite frankly I'm sick of seeing movies like this. Battle: Los Angeles' story is lead by Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart), who is set to retire that day (seriously?). Unfortunately for him, we come under attack by metallic-like creatures arriving in the form of meteors. The USMC has planned a bombing run over Los Angeles, and it's up to Nantz and his new squad to retrieve any civilians still in the area. Can he rescue them before time runs out, and the bombs are dropped? 

Honestly, I couldn't really care either way. Like I said earlier, alien invasion films all seem to copy one another nowadays. Battle: Los Angeles is no different. The plot is ridiculously weak, once we get past the whole "rescue the civilians" thing, there's nothing. No-one ever comments on what to do next. It's almost as of the actors are making it up as they go along. The thing is, Battle: LA (I really can't be bothered to write Los Angeles out over and over) started off as a rescue mission, a simple plan to get in, grab the people, get out. It starts really well, and with real promise. But then it changes, and turns into a war movie. This is when it goes downhill, and the clichés (like the aliens) come flooding in, prepared to kill. 

The characters aren't really anything special in this either. You get characters in these kinds of films that you want to survive, and you really start feeling sorry for them (Cloverfield), and then you get the ones that you're begging to die. Unfortunately, Battle: LA fits into the latter category. The acting isn't really anything special, and the script for them to speak is just god-damn awful. If I ever see Aaron Eckhart make another speech again, I might go up and slap him. Here's a fun game whilst watching this! Try and predict how long it will be until Nantz has another "emotional" speech. Tip: Don't ever bet more than five minutes. Otherwise you'll lose. Serious. 

Another negative thing I can list is how repetitive the film is. We see the same camera shots so many times. For example, how many times do we need to see a first person view of a gun scope before we get the idea of what they're up to? Answer: None. We see this shot at least 10 times, and it almost feels like Jonathon Liebesman (director) is trying to further extend the films already stretched run time. Also, as previously mentioned, we get so many speeches by Nantz that they actually start to become laughable; the script really is THAT clichéd! 

The only positive things I can say about the film are the special effects, because they really are something special. Not the best I've seen, but way up there in the list. I also really liked the production design on the alien's ships. Most designers usually tend to go for a rounded edge, a cleaner and smoother design, whereas the guy who did this just left the ships looking rough, battered and ugly. This worked well, and gave the film a glimpse of originality amongst its heavily borrowed plot. So, 0.5 for the effects, 0.5 for the production design, and 0.5 for the reasonable first 30 minutes, when it was more than a war movie.

To be honest, this film would be so much better as a video game. I know it's been stated by everyone, but that's only because it's true. The lack or originality and proper story would suit a game, and the aliens would make for a decent opposal. But that's about it; there's nothing else I can say about Battle: Los Angeles. Earlier this year, I made a blog on my most anticipated films this year. This was on there, and I am disappointed. Very disappointed. 

To Summarise: Ridiculously clichéd, horrifically scripted and highly repetitive, Battle: Los Angeles doesn't have enough originality and intelligence to overcome its flaws.

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