Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Dukes See a Movie: Battle: Los Angeles.

At least it wasn't Skyline.

That single sentence should tell you what I feel about this show. While it wasn't the worst movie that I have ever seen, it did not live up to my expectations. However, sitting here in my basement, looking at the poster for this show, and contemplating the loss of an hour of sleep for stupid daylight savings time, I don't quite understand why my hopes were as high as they were.

Battle: Los Angeles (heretofore known as BLA) is an alien invasion movie. Given our recent history with these kind of movies (Skyline being chief among them) I was looking forward to an entertaining take on this old idea. BLA was a promising option, the previews showed what looked to be a combination of Black Hawk Down and Independence Day. I must say it was both intriguing and exciting. Unfortunately the movie did not live up to the expectations which I had for it.

The movie starts out with what is interpreted as a meteor shower heading towards earth, however these are not meteors at all but are in fact: ALIENS! (Scary I know) BLA follows a Marine unit that is assigned to pick up a group of civilians that are stuck behind enemy lines in a police station. They make it to the police station after losing half of their unit to a ambush that relied heavily upon a dog named Glen (it's not as entertaining or creative as it sounds). After making it to the police station they locate the civilians and load their injured into a helicopter which is then blown up by the aliens. The unit is then tasked with finding a way to get themselves and the civilians they have "saved" back to the forward operating base which is located at the Santa Monica Airport. Chaos and fighting ensue with more marines and a couple civilians dying. The marines make it back to the airport to find it destroyed. The Staff Sergent gives a wonderful speach, where one minute he names the soldier's names and serial numbers that have died while under his command, and how important they were to him, and in the next breathe says that none of that matters now (not the most motivational thing to say to the men that you're most likely going to lead to their all-to-soon deaths but whatever). The Marines then make it to a pickup zone where some helicopter miraculously survives picking them up and takes them almost to the rendezvous point, at which point the Marines figure out what they need to do to defeat the aliens, jump out of the copter in a very "all for one, one for all" moment and go about bringing that to pass.

In the end there were a few reasons that I was disappointed in this film. The first was the script. I could have written a better script for this movie, and if you've read any of this blog you know just how powerful of a statement that is. The actors that starred in this movie are quite good and all have had parts in other movies where they have done quite excellent work, the fact that everything they seemed to say in this movie was some trite gibberish leads me to believe that the writers didn't have enough experience or guts to try something new. The second thing that bothered me was the fact that this movie covered every cliche in both the sci-fi and military movie book. From the aforementioned motivational speech by the commander with something to prove, to the "yay we blew it up, oh dear there was something bigger under it" situation. Finally we have the ever present "we are the only military group in the entire world that can figure out how to defeat the aliens, and then succesfully accomplish said defeat". Why there is only a small group of elite soldiers that can scrape together the brains and the brawn to succeed in defeating an alien invasion is beyond me, but that always seems to be the case. Those were my three main issues, Zac had a different point of view that was irritating to him, and that was the fact that in the little mini-newscasts that it would show from time to time on a tv or something, the newsticker (which personally I don't think anyone pays attention to in real life or in the movies) said that the Dow Jones had dropped by 5,000 points or something. However the Dow Jones has a fail-safe that will prevent any further trading if it goes down by 1,050 points before 2:30 pm and since the attack took place in the morning, said fail-safe would have been tripped and there would have been no further trading. Why Zac noticed this is beyond me, but the fact remains that perfection is found in the details. Let this be a warning to all directors out there, the Dukes are watching the Details. (Zac will now be referred to as "The Duke of Details")

In conclusion, if you're looking for a decent movie, that has enough action to keep you entertained for two hours, and every cliche that you can ever think of, go see BLA. If you're looking for emmy award winning writing, and something ground breaking in the realm of military films, go see something else. However for once I would like someone to recognize that even though we defeat the aliens, we're still screwed.

2.5 stars

1 comment:

  1. Excellent recap. I was wondering about seeing this show myself, and now I think I know I don't need to. Thanks for the info on the Dow Jones as well, never knew such a fail-safe existed.