You can see that lot of work and energy went into Battle: Los Angeles, but all for naught. The filmmakers use a shaky cam throughout the whole movie similar to the films The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. I was really puzzled since the trailers are mostly steady shots. The bouncing gets so annoying that it takes all the punch out of the film.
At the center of the plot is an attack by aliens to take over Earth for the surface water. In order to do this they need to annihilate all humans. Initially thought to be meteors pummeling the planet, the government sends in the military to check out the damage only to find an extraterrestrial enemy that has all the firepower of World War II in their huge space ships. When a squad of hell bent on winning Marines, led by beleaguered Staff Sgt, Nantz (Aaron Eckhart), gets assigned to rescue a group of citizens they unwittingly become the Earth’s only chance for salvation.
Name a war movie and there’s probably a little bit of it in this hackneyed mostly computer-generated film that becomes laughable at times. With director Jonathan Liebesman bouncing his camera crew around like they were on a trampoline he thinks he’s getting a feel of a documentary being made of all the action. The problem is, no documenter would jiggle his camera ALL the time. Even when Cloverfield used motion jiggle when the action calmed down everything became steady so the audience got a rest. Committing the biggest sin, Sony’s television ads only showed a smidgeon of shake, but those same scenes in the theater version were as shaky as the rest of the movie.
The acting suffers from their clichéd lines and death certainty situations that were easily staved off so the small squad would last at least till the finale. It’s Independence Day, District 9, War of the Worlds, and many more all rolled into one. Add to the trite plot some laughable lines that make the military leaders look silly. And, Aaron Eckhart’s character Staff Sgt. Nantz reminded me of Ted Striker in ‘Airplane!’ who had a similar problem that kept coming back to haunt him.
What’s good about Battle: Los Angeles? The special effects, aliens, space ships, computer generated images, explosions, all the things that attract a young audience. But if you are a member of the older generation and just have to see the film, take a Dramamine and look away from the screen once in awhile.
Battle: Los Angeles is rated PG-13 for sustained and intense sequences of war violence and destruction, and for language. The film also contains a gory, yucky, squishy operation on a living alien.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Avoid any contact with this alienation. (D)