Saturday, 12 March 2011

Battle: Los Angeles an Exciting Sci-Fi Thriller

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Battle LAWhen aliens invade Planet Earth, who else but the U.S. Marine Corps can save the day? That is the premise for this year’s action-packed film Battle: Los Angeles. Unrealistic? Of course. Predictable? Certainly. But entertaining? Without a doubt.

What is first perceived to be a meteor shower across the world quickly reveals itself to be an alien attack of monstrous proportions. Countries in Europe, South America, and Africa were already contending with the extraterrestrial armies when America was hit hard.

In the United States, major cities such as New York, Boston, and San Francisco fall to the seemingly insurmountable alien forces, leaving Los Angeles to be America’s last stand. It becomes painfully clear that the alien army is seeking to colonize Earth and abuse it for its prime resource — water. And as noted by a news broadcaster in his coverage of the world catastrophe, “When you invade a place for its resources, you wipe out any indigenous population.”

Unaware of the power with which the American military has to contend, military superiors expected the U.S. Air Force to defeat the majority of the alien army, leaving the remaining footwork to the Army and Marines.

Unfortunately, the superiority of the aliens’ drone air force is evidenced in the quick retreat of the U.S. Air Force. As most of the city of Los Angeles is evacuated, a lone Marine platoon is left behind to battle the alien army and protect the five remaining civilians who were left behind during evacuations. With minimal manpower, the remaining Marines — under the care of a rookie lieutenant and an experienced, though guilt-ridden, staff sergeant — rely heavily on their intelligence and self-preservation instincts to stage a futuristic Battle of the Alamo.

The Marine platoon discovers that so long as the aliens’ drones continue to be run by the alien command center, the U.S. military does not stand a chance. It is their duty to seek out and destroy the command center before it’s too late.

In Battle: Los Angeles, as in the classic film Independence Day starring Will Smith, those resisting the alien invasion must discover and destroy the alien’s central command in order to achieve success. However, there is a significant difference in how this search-and-destroy mission is portrayed in the two films. In Independence Day, success is achieved via the amalgamation of the world’s armed forces. There is no such internationalist message in Battle: Los Angeles, where we witness solely the heroic efforts of the American military.

For that reason, plus the fact that the Marines are defending their own country, Battle: Los Angeles is a refreshingly patriotic movie. There is nothing more awe-inspiring and pride-provoking in a film than watching soldiers rushing into the very same regions from which their unarmed countrymen, including women and children, are fleeing, in order to defend their homeland from the foreign invader. In any film, such scenes tug at a patriot’s heartstrings.

In addition to its patriotic theme, Battle appealed to moviegoers’ spirituality at the start of the film. As the Marines are being helicoptered into the hellish war zone, one was shown reading a Bible passage, the theme of which was summed up by the Marine as “Through Christ comes freedom.”

Unfortunately, the movie is lacking in a number of areas, including dialogue, which is often trite, one-dimensional, and predictable. On a more positive note, the entire film manages to pass without foul language, with the exception of one “f-word,” which does not appear until the very end of the film, at the most opportune moment.

Another positive attribute is that the film is devoid of sexual content or adult situations, with the exception of some drinking, even when a scene presented an opportunity for Marines in their leisure time to behave badly.

Some questions remain unanswered in the movie, such as how the Marines appeared to have an unending supply of ammunition when they seemingly used entire magazines on a single alien. Likewise, as the aliens were invading Earth to secure water as a source of fuel, there was little explanation for what they were using as a source of fuel in the meantime.

Furthermore, there were a number of scenes in the film that could have benefited from cuts during final editing, but were inexplicably spared.

Overall, however, Battle accomplishes its primary task: entertainment. The cinematography is exceptional, and the special effects are thrilling. The movie certainly would have done well as a three-dimensional production.

Though moviegoers must suspend their disbelief and leave their fine-toothed comb at home to fully enjoy Battle: Los Angeles, it is overall an exciting film that provokes the same thrill over alien-kiilling action that moviegoers have enjoyed in films such as Independence Day and War of the Worlds.