Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Quick Review - Battle: Los Angeles
There was one thing I was most curious about since I saw the first trailer for "Battle: Los Angeles" a while back: how could the people of Earth possibly defeat alien invaders against overwhelming odds? Seems to me that if beings from another planet ever actually travel across galaxies to invade or destroy our world, they're probably going to be successful. If their technology is good enough to get them here, logic dictates it should also be powerful enough to blow us all to hell. Of course, if that were depicted in a film I'm not sure it would go over well (and limits the possibility of sequels). As much as we like to see famous landmarks blasted to bits in movies, we always need to see some sort of happy ending.
But I digress from my opening point: instead of a lot of science-fiction stuff about aliens, this is a war movie -- or bits and pieces of a number of war movie cliches, to be precise. A series of meteorites landing off coastal areas near major cities around the world turn out to be alien ships, and the invaders attack swiftly. The movie follows a U.S. Marine platoon given the mission of rescuing some civilians from a police station in LA and getting them to a Forward Operating Base before the Air Force bombs the area, so at the start of the movie we learn some of their backstories. There's the staff sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) who's about to retire and is haunted by deaths of soldiers under his command on a prior mission, who ends up assigned to the platoon where the brother of one of those dead soldiers just happens to be a member; the guy who's about to get married; the lieutenant who's the platoon commander yet a lot younger than Eckhart's character; etc.
And, of course, there are setbacks and casualties and heroic deeds and sacrifices. All of that's fine, except I wasn't really planning on seeing a war movie. There's some talk about why the aliens came to Earth (via TV news reports) but the focus stays on the Marines and their mission. "Independence Day" has been mentioned a lot in reference to this movie. "ID4." while corny, made the idea of a world at war with aliens into a spectacle, but "Battle: LA" just tells us that war is hell. My grade: C-minus.