MOVIE PREVIEW: BATTLE: LOS ANGELES

By Malice Intended of Planet Ill

Unlike other alien invasion films, Battle: Los Angeles uses an actual historic event as its jumping off point. The premise was inspired by the “battle of Los Angeles,” an incident in which an unidentified flying object in the skies over Los Angeles triggered aerial barrage. Though officially dismissed as a false alarm, many have speculated otherwise. By comparison, the threat portrayed in Battle: Los Angeles is undoubtedly real.

The film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman, whose 2006 prequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning drew the collective ire of the horror film community upon its release. The cast includes Aaron Eckhart as a marine staff sergeant and Michelle Rodriguez as a technical sergeant for the United States Air force. Ne-Yo is also credited among the cast as a character named “Specks.”

The trailer offers a brief history lesson that recaps the “battle of Los Angeles” and spins it in a way that plays up the paranoia angle. The second half then shows modern day Los Angeles in the midst of alien attack. News footage of panic in the streets and military mobilization is interspersed with apocalyptic images of mass destruction. Such is par for the course in a film like this. What makes this feel different is how decidedly contemporary the footage feels. Much of it is informed by footage of the wars raging in the Middle East as well as “first person shooter” video games like Call of Duty. It produces the desired effect by tapping into familiar sources of fear and anxiety.

Battle: Los Angeles has a price tag of $100 million dollars and is set to be released on March 11th of the coming year. The epic scope and spectacle suggested by the trailer makes it look more like a summer blockbuster than something meant to tide audiences over in late winter. That bodes well for its box office prospects, as action and FX junkies will be looking for something to occupy themselves until the summer onslaught begins. The awesome sights shown in the trailer are both impressive and highly detailed. Hopefully, Battle: Los Angeles will have more going for it than amazing visuals.

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