Thanks to the underdog success of “District 9,” and Michael Bay’s talent of sacrificing quality for CGI, the alien invasion sub-genre of sci-fi is back in business. On the heels of “Skyline,” comes “Battle: Los Angeles” from filmmakers Greg and Colin Strause, set for release spring 2011.
“Battle: Los Angeles” takes a page from the 1942 Battle of Los Angeles incident. The U.S. Army fired 1,300 shells at a flying object, presumably a Japanese aerial strike force — except it wasn’t. It very quietly hushed up, and then buried in a 1983 report over calling it a case of “war nerves.” The 2011 remix features Aaron Eckhart (“The Dark Knight,” “Thank You for Smoking”) and Michelle Rodriguez (“The Fast and the Furious”) as Marines who are on the frontline of bringing down the alien menace.
First, the good in this movie: I like the CGI. It’s realistic, the quality is good, it’s what I would expect from a summer blockbuster, except it drops on March 11. I also like the casting of Michelle Rodriguez, because nothing screams summer blockbuster like seeing her with an unnecessarily large automatic weapon and/or Stinger missile launcher in her hands
Now the bad: The trailer tells me absolutely nothing I don’t already know. Because of that, I’m inclined to believe that the studio is hiding the epicness of the fail of the acting, or the weakness of the plot. Speaking of plots, this plot suffers from ID4 Syndrome: Aliens with laser weaponry should not go down against at best nukes, and at worst a computer virus from a Crapintosh. If you can jump to warp, you don’t lose to a civilization who hasn’t broken its planet’s orbit around the sun, much less left its own solar system. So unless this movie features alien domination, how exactly is humanity supposed to win this with vastly inferior technology?
Lastly, the ugly: “Battle: Los Angeles” is so much of a “Skyline” clone (hence my repeated Skyline name drops) that Sony wants to sue the Strause Brothers for making a copy of “Skyline” to directly compete. Guess what, they have a point. The CGI is virtually identical, the ships look eerily similar, and both plots are terrible. Would I spend $9 to see it in theaters? Absolutely not, I wouldn’t even see it for a matinée. I’ll wait until it comes on TNT or FX and there’s nothing better on.
And you want to know the worst part of it all? This was a movie I had never heard of that looked really interesting … until the halfway point of the trailer. Then all my hopes and dreams were shattered.
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