Battle Los Angeles (2011): Battling Big Bugs for L A

Region 1 DVD cover for the 2011 film Battle of...

Directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans Darkness FallsBattle Los Angeles was almost universally panned by critics. But taking into account that the 70 million dollar production has raked in over 211 million dollars in gross profits since its release, somebody must have liked it.

With a cast of mostly unknown actors (at least feature film wise), the film starts off with an almost documentary feel about it. Not too much, but just enough that it doesn’t feel like a typical Hollywood blockbuster. Of course the mid-film entrance of Michelle Rodriguez did slap me into reality. It was nice though to see Ms Rodriguez’s character not die before the end credits rolled.

English: Actress Michelle Rodriguez on the Bat...

The biggest complaint from critics though, was that the movie was a conglomeration of war film clichés. And yes the film did have a lot of those. But, in my opinion, these were kind of necessary. The film was in essence a war film. The only difference was the enemy, who fell into the ‘big bug from outer space’ territory.

Liebesman wanted the focus to be more on the Marines and their interactions as a fighting unit and less on the invading ‘bugs.’ And using that approach is what makes the film work for me. The only important thing about the invading aliens was their purpose in choosing Earth.

These creatures have a need for water and as a news program helpfully tells us, Earth is the only planet that has so much surface water in the galaxy. The same news program explains that the creatures need to exterminate us in order to take over the planet.

Battle Los Angeles is clichéd, predictable to a degree and it doesn’t boast the most original plot, Independence Day got there first, but damn it,  it’s entertaining. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing big bad aliens beaten back from their invasion of our fair planet?

Aaron Eckhart was brilliant as the Staff Sargent who has the tarnished reputation and has his retirement postponed so he can take over a squad of Marines who don’t like or trust him. Eckhart also has to me what is the best scene in the film.

The Marines find a wounded alien and Eckhart’s character SSgt Nantz, gets them to drag the thing in, so he can discover their weak spot. Great scene. Of course Nantz gets to shine on a couple of occasions in the film. He has to, in order for his men to turn around and become loyal enough to help defeat the aliens.

The mostly CG aliens are brilliant and the special effects for the film are for the most part spot on. The film itself ends with just enough dangle to guarantee a sequel (which is still being touted as a done deal by Liebesman) and I for one am looking forward to it.

The final verdict on Battle Los Angeles? Great clichéd war film fun. Grab a couple of bowls of popcorn and enjoy the spectacle.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

6 thoughts on “Battle Los Angeles (2011): Battling Big Bugs for L A”

  1. This movie sucked. Yeah, I get it that they were going for a video-game-like atmosphere but to be honest, it just came off as choppy and annoying. Eckhart should be getting better material than this. He really should. Good review.


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