Battle Los Angeles (2011) – Jonathan Liebesman

Aaron Eckhart leads a squad of marines in this tale of alien invasion, that owes its pedigree to the likes of War of the Worlds and Independence Day. Is it great? No. But it ends up being fairly solid entertainment, and has a pretty solid cast surrounding Nantz (Eckhart) and his marines, including Michelle Rodriguez, Micheal Pena, and Bridget Moynahan.

A series of meteors (that aren’t) land all over the globe outside major population centres, and from them comes a seemingly unstoppable force of alien invaders. But the world tries to fight back, even as beach heads are established all over the globe and body count rises to near extinction levels.

We follow a single squad of marines through the first day of the invasion, and the cost of the fight as they attempt to rescue civilians from an embattled L.A. and get them to safety.

Superior firepower is the order of the day for the aliens, and countless souls are wiped from the planet as the invasion pushes deeper and deeper across the planet. It seems the aliens are here for our most valuable resource, water. It powers everything in their culture.

Or at least that’s what we think. We aren’t given any solid answers abouth the aliens, we experience everything from the viewpoint of the marines, we learn as they learn.

I’ll say this, the aliens may have stronger tech and weapons, but their craft, armaments et. al. aren’t shiny, glossy things. They clunk and thrum and are held together with wires and cables. In fact, they don’t seem so incredibly more advanced than we are. Their ships, and weapons are meant to get the job done, not look pretty, and that says something about their culture.

Driven by greed, need and a continuing quest for more, the colonisation of any location is always detrimental to the indigenous species. In this case us. And I can’t help but think that no matter how the last act plays out, and what that means for the world, I can’t help but think in the long run, it’s a fight we might now win.

But that doesn’t stop the marines, and I do admire that. They struggle and fight from situation to situation and a past incident with Nantz hangs over the entire squad, that plays out exactly as you would expect, but it gives Eckhart some nice character moments.

The film’s narrative isn’t too interested in telling a bigger tale, it just wants to focus on the experiences of one unit during the attack, and I like those stories. Everyone wants to see the big picture, but sometimes the smaller battles are just as important.

In this film that proves true when Nantz and his unit figure out a possible way to help give their people, and possibly the rest of the planet a fighting chance.

The effects are solid and the aliens and their tech designs are interesting as well. This one is just one to watch with your brain turned off and set to maximum enjoyment. It’s not gonna change the world, it’s just a familiar riff on familiar material.

But man, could you imagine if something like this actually happened…?

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