Thursday, 1 September 2011

From the Military Perspective - Battle: Los Angeles

Recently, I was pleasantly surprised at Battle: Los Angeles – a film about an alien invasion, presented very differently from the norm and to great effect.

Hang on… alien invasion? Hasn't this been done to death already? Well, the answer is both yes and no.

You see, this film differs itself by presenting its story entirely from a military perspective.

The majority of ‘invasion’ films do indeed feature the military, but as well as being portrayed as hopelessly inept and/or serve as antagonistic to the main characters, they are often sidelined to focus on the story of ordinary civilians caught up in these extraordinary circumstances.

In Battle: Los Angeles however, the story follows a platoon led by Marine Staff Sergeant Nantz (played by Aaron Eckhart) and their mission to journey into the invaded area of Los Angeles to rescue civilians shortly following the initial attack.

Whilst most films of this ilk require a huge suspension of disbelief by their very nature, Battle is portrayed more realistically in that it shows the military react to the immediate situation and deal with events as they unfold using the protocol, tactics and weaponry that they would in any modern day hostile enemy situation.

In fact, I would go as far as to call this a war movie that happens to have aliens in it rather than as science fiction. Think of it more like Black Hawk Down rather than Independence Day.

Rather than being faceless goons, the soldiers are portrayed as very human characters and despite all the fear and confusion abound in this crazy situation they carry on regardless as this is what they do.

I mean, lets face it - if an invasion were to take place it is these soldiers that would be on the front line to deal with it – not civilians.

Another thing I liked about the film was that it wasn't overreaching in its outcome. There is no final minute deus ex machina that causes the entire alien force to be toppled, no one quick resolution that repels all the alien invaders.

Despite suffering heavy casualties, the platoon manages to complete their mission as well as discover how to gain the upper hand in a once outgunned conflict. They might have won the battle, but the war is ongoing, albeit filled with a new hope that they may now emerge victorious.

Of course the film is not perfect, there are some cheesy moments and it's a shame to see Michelle Rodriguez continually being typecast, but all in all Battle is a refreshing take on the genre.

The best scene of the film doesn't even feature any aliens, just Aaron Eckhart painfully recounting in perfect detail all the names and ID numbers of the men who were killed in his last mission after a soldier in his command questions his regret over those who died.

Battle: Los Angeles is by no means an amazing film, but definitely an interestingly different take on the tired ‘alien invasion’ blockbuster - and the special effects are pretty good too.

So check it out if you are interested.


31 Aug 2011

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