Synopsis: For years, there have been documented cases of UFO sightings around the world – Buenos Aires, Seoul, France, Germany, China. But in 2011, what were once just sightings will become a terrifying reality when Earth is attacked by unknown forces. As people everywhere watch the world’s great cities fall, Los Angeles becomes the last stand for mankind in a battle no one expected. It’s up to a Marine staff sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) and his new platoon to draw a line in the sand as they take on an enemy unlike any they’ve ever encountered before.
Release Date: March 11, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action
“We cannot lose Los Angeles.” – a surprising statement to make in a film such as this when the apocalyptic genre of films loves to decimate Los Angeles, one freeway and luxury home at a time. In Battle: Los Angeles the tides have turned and Los Angeles becomes the final frontier of hope for the United States of America to win this alien vs. man war that appears to be an impossible feat.
Beginning the film in the midst of war it is an onslaught to your visual and aural senses. The skies are filled with smoke, fires burn in every direction, and the sounds of warfare echo in your ears. The documentary technique of a hand-held camera, as well as archival looking news footage, fills the screen. Suddenly the look changes completely and the viewer is brought back in time to the first warning of meteors about to make impact off the coast of Tokyo, Japan. It is time now to meet the characters who we will follow, and go to war with, for the duration of the film. They are Marines based out of Camp Pendleton and each is given their own introduction with glimpses of their lives pre-attack and sticking with the documentary feel their names are given via titling. The focal character is Staff Sargent Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart). A man who is on the eve of retirement and fighting the demons of his past from his last tour. A strong and brave soldier he is thrust back into action when the meteors are discovered to be nothing of the sort, as they are slowing down before impact. In other words, all hell is about to break loose and it is this group of Marines that are sent into the middle of the war zone to protect civilians and hold the line to protect mankind.
Sounds a bit heavy, right? It is. Aside from the expected melodramatic moments one comes to expect in films that deal with the end of the world as we know it scenarios, Battle: Los Angeles is at its core a war genre film. The group of Marines are our only connection to the events. We know what they know and experience everything they experience. The streets are filled with smoke with zero visibility and just as they cannot see anything the viewer cannot either. Every other sense kicks in to try and distinguish the normal ambient sounds from the sounds of the enemy. This enemy is quick, intelligent, and far stronger than our own military. Worse yet, when the Marines are dropped into Santa Monica they go in not knowing what they are dealing with; the surprises in store for them are frightening, and extremely intense. The hand-held camera work only exemplifies the situation these men are in and the quick cuts, shaky movements, and occasional off-kilter angles mirrors the point of view of each and every Marine. Although the camera is not used as a character it is definitely being used to portray everything it can in regards to the character’s, and succeeding.
While many of the plot points in the film are predictable it still manages to indulge your longing for yet another alien invasion. In a nice change of pace though it adds direct war elements into every aspect of the production. It may not be the most fresh story but it is well conceived and executed. It may also be the best tool the U.S. government could use to show the comradery, bravery, and self sacrificing nature of the Marine Corp.–I think enrollment in the armed forces may go up.
The entire county of Los Angeles is about to go to hell…one action sequence at a time. From the men vs. aliens on the ground to the spacecraft in air everything is fast-paced. There are great pauses in the action at times that give way to human emotion and reflection. These ebbs and flows are much needed and appropriate. Given that the majority of the film takes place in battle–and by this I mean actually fighting–you need a moment here and there to step back and evaluate everything that has happened and what is about to occur. Plus it makes the suspense and air suffocating anticipation build up. The action shows no mercy for the viewer or the Marines. This is war, it may not involve fancy stunts, fast cars, or the like but it is fueled by adrenaline.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Jonathan LiebesmanNeal H. Moritz
- Producer(s): Chris Bertolini
- Screenwriter(s): Aaron Eckhart (Sgt. Michael Nantz)Bridget Moynahan (Michele)Michelle Rodriguez (Sgt. Elena Santos)
- Story: Ramon Rodriguez (2nd Lt. William Martinez)
- Cast: Ne-Yo (Cpl. Kevin Harris) Christian WagnerLukas EttlinPeter Wenham
- Cinematographer: Brian Tyler
- Production Designer(s): Hydraulx
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s): Matte World Digital
- Music Score: Luma Pictures
- Music Performed By: SPIN VFX
- Country Of Origin: USA