Friday, March 11, 2011

Phil sees BATTLE: LOS ANGELES at Camera 7 Pruneyard-March 11, 2011

So today I woke up feeling good. It's Friday morning, the sky's blue, birds are chirping, and I'm thinking to myself, "I'm gonna see a movie." So I hop online and see what's playing at my favorite theatre chain: The Camera Cinemas. Then low and behold I see that BATTLE: LOS ANGELES is playing in an hour, so I get cleaned up, drive down to the Camera Seven in the Pruneyard, walk to the boxoffice and pay for my ticket. Then I stroll into theater one, pick out my favorite seat, the lights go dim and I'm ready for the movie to begin.

The film stars Aaron Eckhart as SSgt. Michael Nantz, who after his last mission where he lost his entire platoon, signs off to be retired but first he and his new replacement, 2nd Lt. William Martinez (portrayed by Ramon Rodriguez) are called to help fight off an alien invasion that has landed in Los Angeles. Nantz and Martinez led a newly formed platoon to infiltrate a police station to rescue civilian survivors that are holding up in there. However the city is crawling with hostile aliens and they must fulfill their mission in three hours before the city of angeles is obliterated.

Basically, the film is a hybrid of several different films. Think INDEPENDENCE DAY meets BLACK HAWK DOWN with the unique camera style of CLOVERFIELD. While the story itself is nothing original, the movie does provide a fun, rollercoaster ride for the audience. But the film doesn't bring anything new to the table. I mean let's face it, how many times have we seen Earth being invaded by hostile aliens? Quite a lot, since the 1950's with films such as EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS (1956), WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953) and the classic THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951). But ever since INDEPENDENCE DAY was released back in 1996, there have been very few sci-fi films that have challenged or changed the genre. Director Neill Blomkamp's 2009 masterpiece DISTRICT 9 is one example of originality, combining social commentary and pathos while fulfilling the sci-fi criteria.

The cast of the film did turn in some excellent performances, but how many times are we going to see Michelle Rodriguez (TSgt. Elena Santos) playing the same military type role? She's done this role already in 2002s' RESIDENT EVIL (as Rain Ocampo) and as Trudy Chacon in last year's hit AVATAR. Seems to me that she is now typecast in military roles for the rest of her career.

While BATTLE: LOS ANGELES is not a bad movie, it's not a great movie either. It lies somewhere in between. While the special effects were top notch, and the aliens were very scary looking, I left the theatre feeling kind of let down. I don't know what I was hoping for. Maybe I was expecting the movie to blow me away in some fashion. Maybe make me say "Wow! That was a cool film!" But, alas, that wasn't my feeling. I saw the film about three hours ago, and now I'm ready for a nap. Not the kind of reaction to an big budgeted, action packed, sci-fi movie Hollywood was expecting. But when Hollywood does make a GOOD big budgeted, action packed, sci-fi movie, then by all means wake me up for that one. I'll buy the popcorn.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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