Saturday, March 12, 2011

Movie Review: Battle Los Angeles

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Every week I battle in my head as to where to spend my $8.50 for a matinee show of the movie that I will review for the week. The preview for this week's cinematic presentation had me intrigued and had me hopeful. It's fun to watch a city taken out by a volcano, earthquake or Godzilla. Unfortunately, I lost the war in seeing Battle Los Angeles.

Today's Movie
Let me point out right up front that I wasn't even sure of the title of the movie. I saw the title with the name Los Angeles spelled out and in the abbreviation of LA. I also saw it with and without the colon between Battle and the city name. Since my title already includes a colon, I decided not to have a double colon in there!

When I walked into the theater, I had some hope. Due to the tsunami that hit Hawaii earlier that morning, many people had the day off and the theater for a 2pm matinee show was at the point of getting uncomfortable. You know the place where there really aren't those extra seats between you and your neighbor to give you that zone of protection. There were only a few of those spacer seats left.

Once again Los Angeles and the world is in trouble. We're being invaded by aliens. If you've seen Independence Day, War of the Worlds, Battlefield Earth, Cloverfield or Skyline, you've pretty much seen this movie. Nothing new was covered here. Just offshore of major cities around the world "meteors" have crashed into the ocean and the hordes of technically advanced invaders come ashore.

To rescue civilians behind enemy line, Marines from Camp Pendelton including SSgt Michael Nantz (the square jawed Aaron Eckhart) are sent in. They battle the enemy not knowing anything about them. In the background we have snippets of news reports to help us fill in information gaps.

Camera shots are shakey. They are very shakey. It was harder to watch this movie than Cloverfield. Towards the end the camera shots did settle down a bit, but it was still tough to watch.

Like Skyline, there were some impressive computer generated images, but the detail are hidden between the quick shots, looking through view finders, or heat plumes. Lots of things go boom!

Even though Nantz was the main focus of the story, writer Christopher Bertolini had too many extra characters between civilians and marine. The 116 minutes wasn't enough to give meaning to the stories of the rescuers or rescued. While battling to get to a safety zone the question remained, can these invaders be taken out by a virus or bomb or something the enemy underestimated?

With the battles and dealing with marines, the movie was rated PG-13 for sustained and intense sequences of war violence and destruction, and for language. I would dare suggest that this will be a Razzie nomination in 2012 for worst picture. Let's just hope they don't plan on Battle Washington DC or Battle Rio de Janeiro.

The Movie Monkey

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