On Friday my sister and I went to the early morning show of Battle: Los Angeles. As I was doing my best Speed Racer impersonation in order to get to the cinema on time, we heard about the earthquake in Japan on the radio. It’s quite ironic that the day my sister and I go to watch an end-of-the-world movie, an end-of-the-world type scenario was happening.
Well, onto something more shallow and frivolous, Battle: Los Angeles movie review!
This movie is a must for anyone who loves end-of-the-world or alien invasion movies. Greatest alien invasion movie of all time – Independence Day (1996) now has some competition.
While watching the initial invading force of the alien enemy, it suddenly occurred to me that I had no clue how this movie could end on a positive note. (Usually I have the ending of any movie or program figured out after the first 15min to half an hour). So story wise it was nice not to be able to predict the storyline. Don’t get me wrong, the premises of the story is very simple, it’s the getting there that’s unpredictable.
Ok so I’m not making much sense, so let’s move on.
The characters were nicely fleshed out considering that most of them would eventually die. Considering that the movie is about an alien invasion, and you need to spend your time setting that up, and your characters spend most of their time running around trying not to get killed, killing aliens, and then getting killed, the establishing of the characters was nicely done. They had enough personality not to be boring and flat, and that would help the viewer to be able to identify whose who considering that the moment you create a cast of soldiers, who all have buzz cuts, the same army fatigues, and are all wearing helmets that cover their hair, it gets difficult to figure out who’s who. Also, the cast had a lovely natural dynamic, and their acting didn’t feel forced or unnatural. It’s sad though that the Marine unit starts out with something like 20 members, and these poor guys drop like flies, most die early on, and then you have a set group for a while. The major problem is that when they have the next set of deaths, it happens all at the same time, and you aren’t able to figure out who’s died until the movie ends!
The effects were amazing. They looked totally real, which is something one strives for in an alien invasion movie. The one thing that always sells me on Independence Day is that the effects are so damn realistic, from the destroying of New York and the White House, to the huge wall of fire, to the alien fighter jets, to the aliens themselves, the effects are just brilliant and way ahead of it’s time. Battle LA has the same seamless effects, a good blend of visual effects and actual sets and props.
My favourite visual in the entire movie, apart from all the wonderful shots of destroying LA, is right at the end of the film, where we get our final shot of LA, sun setting, LA completely burnt, and the helicopters flying towards it.
The one thing that prevents Battle LA from beating Independence Day in my mind (apart from not having the individuality and coolness of Will Smith, and the movie being my all-time favourite childhood memory), is this annoying filmic technique that modern filmmakers love, and that is: THE BLOODY DOCUMENTRY STYLE FILMING!!!!!! Seriously I cannot stand action scenes where the camera runs around bouncing all over the place blurring the image so that there’s no point in even watching the scene, and leaves you feeling slightly ill. To be fair, the technique isn’t too bad in this film, but I like to be able to SEE and FOLLOW my action, not blunder through it. Ick the worst example of this technique is the Bourne Supremacy (2004). What a waste of a movie, the majority of it is action which you can’t follow because the stupid director is so in love with the on the ground documentary style, that all you see are blurs. I also hate the movie because they killed off his girlfriend in the first 15 minutes, and I liked her.
I don’t think I can adequately review Battle LA, it’s a very visual movie, with a simple storyline, and oodles of Marine bad-assery. This movie is not made for small screens, you need to see it in a cinema, and then go home and buy a 52 inch flat screen TV in preparation for owning the movie. (*sigh* I say that but there as so many other awesome movies that need 52 inches of flat high def epicness. Saw Lord of the Rings extended edition on a 52 inch, it was life changing). Oh and don’t even think about downloading this movie, fuzzy camera quality that moves will not work, and will leave you feeling queasy.
So go see this movie, it’s not in 3D so tickets will be cheaper YAY.