Battle Los Angeles could possibly be this decade’s Independence Day. It’s chock full of every alien invasion tropes, tons of hand held camera shots, gunfire, CGI effects, etc. And it was, I think, what the movie Skyline was trying to be.
The plot is pretty straightforward: aliens have landed in every major city around the globe and is planning to invade the planet. The setting of the film’s on Los Angeles and it’s up to a band of Marines to save the day.
I’d like to keep this review short so I’m dividing this review into The Good and The Bad.
Action wise, it’s pretty good. There are a lot of gunfire, dead marines, civilians, and an alien being “dissected” alive. The film’s not very gory but it is violent. On a side note, most action scenes reminded me of the Modern Warfare games. In fact, I kinda felt that the whole film is kinda like a video game. It was pretty cool.
The script is effective. Like I said earlier, the plot is pretty straightforward. The characters might come off as cardboard cutouts but their characterization is enough for what the story required. Dialogue-wise, there are some cheesy lines, but they’re not distracting. Too bad the lines aren’t as bad-ass as Bill Pullman‘s speech in Independence Day.
The effects work so far as the story requires it. ‘Nuff said.
I thought that the use of the shaky-cam was too much. I’m sure that the filmmakers wanted to convey a sense of grittiness and realism, particularly because the events are seen through the eyes of marines. Unfortunately there’s just too many things happening on screen that the shaky-cam makes it difficult for the audience to properly see what’s happening. Plus, there was a moment when I felt kinda dizzy from the hand-held camera.
Regarding the alien design, I thought they were uninspired. They look like cheaply rendered cousins of the prawns from District 9. Additionally, the mother ship design in Battle Los Angeles also looks like the mother ship from District 9. Now I didn’t find this very distracting but I thought the lack of creativity in the alien design was a bit jarring.
Finally, the film was over scored. It wouldn’t have been distracting if only the music was good: it wasn’t. The theme (or lack thereof) wasn’t as inspiring as David Arnold‘s score in Independence Day. Additionally, the music kinda gave away “spoilers” in select scenes, meaning that it wasn’t effective in capturing the emotional aspect of the story.
The film isn’t one of those “life-changing experiences” type of film. It’s what it is: a military film with aliens. It isn’t the best alien invasion movies ever made, but it was entertaining.
It’s worth a watch in the movie house but it’s something that you guys could also wait for on DVD. ;)