Monday, March 14, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles

Battle: Los Angeles completely blew me away. As the government realizes certain meteors falling near major coastal cities aren't really meteors, the Marines are sent in to stop alien forces from colonizing our populated areas.

The movie focuses on a small unit of Marines as they have to battle their way through the streets of Los Angeles to rescue some civilians that may or may not be holed up at a police station. We see them experience the fog of war -- sometimes literal lack of visibility, other times the confusion that comes when they don't know who is firing on them or where all their unit has gone.
No communication is possible with the aliens. They simply want to take our water, with no discussion or negotiations. (Although, if they ever tasted the water in Los Angeles, they might have decided they picked the wrong planet.) Their attack is so overwhelming, the military response will be to annihilate by massive bombing the coastal strip the aliens have occupied. Will the small unit of Marines reach the civilians they were tasked to find, then evacuate in time?

photo by Gage Skidmore 
Michelle Rodriguez, 
director Jonathan Liebesman, Aaron Eckhart

The level of realism is astonishing. During production, they had three Marine sergeants on set who advised the actors on how to speak and act. A friend of mine whose son recently joined the Marines said they correctly captured their mentality. It's so intense, Aaron Eckhart, who plays Sergeant Nantz, broke his arm during filming. The detail of their weaponry and combat melded with the alien special effects realistically -- I didn't see any moment that looked fake.
Standout moments: Sergeant Nantz carrying a child and yelling for an evacuation helicopter to wait. Michelle Rodriguez's character winning a shootout with an alien, then kicking its dead body, yelling, "That hurt!" The alien equivalent of a truck with automatic weapons -- a joy to behold, even though they're the bad guys.
A clue for those of you who like the review site "Rotten Tomatoes": When you see that only 32% of the critics liked a movie, but 67% of the normal moviegoers liked it, there's something funny going on.


Anonymous said...

What does happen to all those film critics? Is there one you found you can trust? The movie sounds like an adreneline-pumping guy flick, one I might take my honey to when he needs a testosterone rush. I always enjoy your thoughtful reviews.

Mark Murata said...

There's no one reviewer that I trust. Rotten Tomatoes is a useful site, but keep in mind what I said about the times when there is a huge split between the critics and the regular people who've seen the movie.


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