Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Movie Review: Battle for LA ... or Marines Vs. Aliens

Yes, its the long awaited film that had that creepy music in the trailer that made everyone who heard it, eager to see what world destroying aliens would do now. Battle for LA is in every way what Skyline wasn't. That isn't to say that it's the most epic of alien invasion flicks... but it is a superior film. How you ask?


The movie centers around a planet wide invasion by our friends the mysterious and powerful aliens. However our particular story is focused one small unit of the Marine Corps. For non-Americans (there are people who aren't if you can believe it) the Marines are the toughest portion of the US armed forces, stronger and better trained then the army generally speaking. The movie is straightforward, this movie is about combat and warfare with aliens. No long expositions about the who the aliens are, no internal conflicts about if we deserve our fate, not even any fully fledged love story.

The writers of this movie have cut all the fat that is usually added to most summer blockbusters. Theres very little fluff, and what fluff there is short and to the point. The characters are somewhat 2 dimensional, but fit with the story very well. The typical character tropes are mostly there, and the brief character interactions at the beginning of the film are actually very well done. Better in fact than in any Michael Bay, or Roland Emmerich film.

The acting is fairly strong, with most notes being hit well by veterans like Michelle Rodriguez and Aaron Eckhart. There are a few chew the scenery scenes late in the movie that are anomalies, but generally the acting is better than in most modern action films. The rest of the cast fill out thier roles with varying success, but don't really stand out.

The effects are reminiscent of Skyline, and the aliens in particular are well thought out and the cg effects used to animate them are never in your face or over the top. There is some shaky cam, but it's mostly during battle sequences, and it makes for a movie that keeps you intensely involved and nearly ducking when fight gets up close.

The main difference between this movie and Skyline? Intensity and resolution.

Battle for LA makes you feel the sweat, dirt, and the pulverized concrete of an urban environment turned into a war zone. Theres no mourning period here, only the difficulties of loss and the struggle to persist in fighting an enemy who seems to be unstoppable. However the Aliens are fallable. They have in fact not thought of everything, and they can be hurt, killed. This is a refreshing more old school approach to the Alien menace. If your looking for a Halo-like movie experience, this movie sells it and does so with style and class.

Battle for LA ends...

That's right it has a definable ending. Unlike Skyline, that seems to persist even after they ran out of script. The writers for Battle for LA understand that most audiences seek a conclusion, a catharsis, a resolution to present circumstances, whether it be open ended or not. What are characters decide to do after the resolution is also interesting, and that is where I will end my review.

So see Battle for LA, its a movie that knows what it is, and what it wants, and an entertaining ride.

7.5 out of 10 stars. ******* 1/2