Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Sunday, March 13, 2011

7 Reasons Why Battle: Los Angeles is Good

Battle: Los Angeles is such an obviously bad movie that spending time mocking it just makes the writer look silly. For example, yy beloved Vulture published a piece entitled "7 Reasons Why Video Games are Better than Battle: Los Angeles" that was equally as hackneyed as it accused the film of being. If anything Battle: Los Angeles came off a film that subvert a paradigm: It was a movie created to launch a series of a video games and not the other way around.

So here is my counter-list:

1. It is not bad

Battle: LA is not some joke like Drive Angry in 3D. Yes, it is unoriginal but that does not necessarily mean it is unwatchable. If anything, Battle: LA is a very watchable 2.25 hours of movie. Yep, it is that long. It is super long but it doesn't really drag because...

2. Things happen

Say what you will but stuff goes down. The movie starts off with a few minutes at the height of the chaos and then jumps back to the day before so it can handle some expository heavy lifting. This is the writer's way of saying we don't trust the patience of the audience so let's rile them up. Once the ten minutes of a character explanation is over it is full speed ahead and tons of things happen. There is like 20 different location set-ups where they fight the aliens: freeways, pools, police station, airports. Say what you will, but five minutes didn't go bye without someone getting exploded to death (the only way people died), you can't say that about a Duplass Brother's movie.

3. It's Pretty Dark

I'll just say that the movie started with a bunch of characters and ended with a lot less. Since all the characters were so poorly fleshed out you had no idea who was going to be exploded to death (the only way people died). Also the movie was so long that I started getting nervous that it would end with the humans losing. Finally, when the movie does end, things didn't necessarily look that great. As cliche as the film was, at least it didn't end with the protagonist/s single-handedly beating an entire race of aliens.

4. It was definitely a satire of LA's car culture, maybe

The real bad guy of the film might have been Los Angeles. The soldiers had to go so far to get to the home base because the city itself is so expansive. This meant they had to try and drive through the streets of non-moving cars. It didn't necessarily feel much different than what living in LA is like anyway. Add the fact that taking the freeway results in disaster and it definitely seems possible that the writer was taking the worst part of LA to task. Or not, but maybe.

5. Confusing, but in a good way

The film is over two hours long and for the most part the audience has no idea what is happening at any point. Easily, this could be chalked up to lazy writing or maybe, just maybe, the hope was to put the audience in the same situation as the soldiers. If aliens really did attack, we would have no idea what the hell to do. We wouldn't be making jokes and saying slick catchphrases ("welcome to urf!"), we would be super frightened and our marines would try to fight them like any other hostile force. The soldiers felt like, well, soldiers in how inarticulate and overwhelmed they were. This was partly do to what I consider excellent direction...

6. Jonathan Liebesman did a good job

The wikipedia page for the film that Liebesman was very deliberate in his execution of the story. Inspired by footage shot by soldiers in Fallujah, Liebesman gave this big-budget action film a very realistic feel. The use of a lot of hand-held cameras resulted in a "Hurt Locker for simple people", of sorts. The script was ultimately awful so Liebesman is owed credit for making it watchable. Also, he also was able to make it for just $70 million, which is incredibly small for a movie like this. Take the fact that movie seems like it is going to be a success and this means....

7. Sequels!

Battle: New York, Battle: Bangkok, Battle: Des Moines... The possibilities are endless. Half-way through, I started rooting for a lack of closure so the series could continue. The worst part of about Battle: Los Angeles was Los Angeles. LA just does not have enough landmarks near each other to make the carnage exciting. So if the series continues, I am hopeful for how much delightful destruction is in store.


Don't get me wrong Battle: Los Angeles is a bad movie but everyone who goes to see it knows that. What really matters is how you go see it. Critics expecting a bad movie will get a bad movie, especially when it is a bad movie, which it is. However, if you go into it without expectations then you can definitely have a blast, not the type of blast that resulted in all the film's deaths, but like a fun blast that results in little bodily harm.

****UPDATE**** An inside source has told me that my suspicions were correct: Sony has already began working on Battle: Tokyo (too soon?)

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