So you know how when you criticize something, it’s nice to give some good feedback too? I’m going to try to do that for Battle: Los Angeles, the new alien invasion movie starring Aaron Eckhart. Here goes: 1) it kicks off with a rousing verse of California Love . 2) It’s an end-of-the-world movie, and I LOVE end-of-the-world movies. 3) Michelle Rodriguez reprised her role from Avatar and basically played the same character here (is that a good thing?). 4) Umm…yeah. Ne-yo and Tom Brady’s first baby mama (Bridget Moynahan, for those of you keeping score at home) were in it? I got nothing. The first 2 were a stretch as is.
For someone who loves this genre of movies (some of my favs are 28 Days Later, The Day After Tomorrow and my all time fav, Independence Day), I was prepared to like Battle: LA. I really was. I’m ambivilant about Aaron Eckhart; he’s kind of foxy and he was good in The Dark Knight, so that seemed like it could work. But work it did not. The movie follows Staff Sargent Mike Nantz and his…staff? Squadron? Whatever, his marine people as they try to evacuate civilians from an LA police station before the air force annihilates what’s left of L.A. following an alien invasion. Sounds easy, right? But with crazy aliens in robot suits on the loose, not so much. Here, the plot gets a little convoluted; I’ll spare you the details, but there’s a lot of back and forth as to the point of the movie. Paired with the fact that the story takes place over a less than 24 hour frame (more, if you include a flashback to set the scene), you’re in for a bumpy ride with this movie.
I can think of several reasons why I kinda hate this movie. I’m fresh off a serious Oscar nominee watching streak (previous movies seen in theater: True Grit, The King’s Speech, The Fighter), which perhaps has (at least temporarily) raised my standards. Maybe I was disappointed at the lack of back story here; not enough of the “why are aliens invading our planet?” (thought you do get s teeny bit of this), and too much “let’s blow some alien ish up.” Or…it just sucked. I’m inclined to call it all three, but man. I really thought this movie was terrible. Once again, I was fooled by a half-way decent trailer. It seems so much better when condensed to 2 minutes!
There is a caveat here: this seems like it might have done well if marketed as a summer blockbuster and released Memorial Day weekend or even leading up to the Fourth of July weekend. It has the action and explosions and all that to have worked with that kind of billing. I think a mid-March release, which is usually a slow time of year anyway, might have been a mistake. But, I can see the producers and studio people thinking this might work in Battle: LA’s favor, since there’s little competition.
Either way, it fell flat for me. If you’re inclined to see Battle: Los Angeles, wait for DVD. Or better yet, watch Independence Day and relish in the fact that you have $10 in your pocket, and I don’t.