It’s been one of the most talked about movies around, with the hype being built up over the past couple of months and an aggressive marketing campaign all over the place – well, at least all over Los Angeles. Plus its director is South African-born Jonathan Liebesman. So I was very excited to see Battle: LA, eager to see the different take on aliens and sci-fi that this particular South African would give us.
The premise of the film is this: there have been documented UFO sightings all over the world for years, but now, in Los Angeles in 2011, this all becomes reality when Earth is attacked by aliens in search of our most valuable resource. It’s up to Marine Staff Sergeant, played by Aaron Eckhart, and his new platoon to take on an enemy unlike any they’ve ever encountered before.
Jonathan says the film is a war movie meets alien film. Many of those who’ve seen say it’s also a recruitment movie, and that it’s very patriotic towards America. His reply to this?
“I never meant for that. For me, I just like the idea that it’s a movie told from the point of view of Marines, so they’re going to do the good shit in the movie. I guess in this day and age I do have admiration for people who are 22 years old, laying their lives down.”
As for the pro-recruitment aspect –
“Why would I be saying to people go to where you might get killed? I never set out to make that. Besides, they’re fighting aliens, so it’s not necessarily a right or wrong war.”
Moving away from what the film is and isn’t, I didn’t particularly get out of it all that I had hoped for. I may not be the target audience, but I can appreciate a good action film, with lots of explosions and army men running around, as much as the next movie-goer. But please give me a little more to go on than clichéd characters and thin plot ideas. And something we haven’t seen before in Independence Day. The problem with clichés and contrived dialogue is that it makes you irritated and then you can’t invest and believe in the main characters, and so you don’t really care if they make it out of their sticky situation and fight off the bad guys at the end of the film. And isn’t that what it’s all about? An entertaining ride where you’re cheering on the “good guys”?
The film releases today worldwide. If you see it, please tweet me your thoughts.