Alien invasion movies have a tendency to be... well... bad. None of them seem to get it just right. They focus too much on the wrong things and they usually are way too long for their own good. Over the years they have gone from low budget B-Movies to over budget summer blockbusters, but they still can't seem to get into their groove. The way I see it is that they probably never will, but what they can do is give a breath of fresh air into the genre. A good example of this is 2009's District 9, which changed the whole concept of alien invasion into a more realistic style. Aliens living in slums, considered as lesser being to humans. This made me realize that the real way to go about making a good alien invasion film is by making it realistic. This is pretty ironic because the whole concept of alien invasion films are pretty unrealistic. Still, it works, and apparently Battle Los Angeles took the same lesson and applied it to its Black Hawk Down-meets-Indepence Day style invasion film. But does it help or hinder it?
The film is about a group of soldiers that are called to L.A. to help an evacuation when fast moving U.F.O.'s are spotted heading towards the cost. Things quickly go down hill when aliens appear from the objects and attack the city. What was originally an evacuation becomes a rescue operation when the troops are ordered to head to a police station where civilians are holding up and take them back to the forward operations base. They are under a time limit though because in three hours the air force is going to level L.A. because the aliens apparently have no aircraft of their own. The make it to the police station and find that their are only two adults and two children still alive. But when the three ours are over, the bombs don't come falling down, and the soldiers start to realize that things maybe a lot worse than they had expected.
The first thing I noticed about the film is that it isn't designed as specifically an alien invasion film, but also a war film. It may not make much sense in writing, but it is really noticeable in the film. Rather than it being about the whole idea of an invasion, it is more about a war where one side is a group of alien invaders. It also avoids many of the huge wide angle shots that make up most of the time in alien films. Instead it uses shaky camera battle scenes in the deteriorating streets of L.A. This is very different from most invasion films, and I kind of enjoyed it. But as you can see from my rating of it, it wasn't perfect. And one of the things I stated earlier caused me a lot of problems when I was watching. This was the shaky camera. For those who don't know; the shaky camera is a technique used in films when the director wants to either make the film seem more realistic or make the entire audience puke out the popcorn they were just eating.
And the movie is so repetative! I mean, really repetative! It's actually really annoying because it isn't even repeating creative things as if the writers were like, "Hey, thats a good idea! Lets reuse it, like, five times throughout the movie." The things they were repeating were stupid clitches that didn't even want to see once, let alone 5 more times throughout the movie! Another thing that got on my nurves was Aaron Eckhart. I didn't find that he really fit in with the movie. I don't really know why, but it really feel like he shouldn't have been in the movie.
In the end, I'd have to say... meh. I mean, it wasn't anything special and anything original in it became old really fast. If it had relied less on war and alien invasion movie clichés it might have been more entertaining than it ended up being. But it's too late for that, so I've gotta say, It's a 50/50 chance that you'll find enjoyment out of this film. So, if you like those odds than go see it, but I wouldn't personally recommend it.