Saturday

REVIEW: Battle: Los Angeles




As you are aware, there have been documented cases of of UFO sightings all around the world for decades, primarily in Seoul, Germany, Buenos Aires, and China. However, Battle:LA takes these sightings to a whole new level when they become a terrifying reality. Earth is attacked by unknown forces. While the world waits in horror as major cities go up in flames, Los Angels becomes the final stand for all of mankind.

5 Lens Review
Staff Sergeant Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) is tormented by emotional turmoil over a recent incident where his platoon was killed in an ambush while serving under his leadership. Nantz had just resigned when he is abruptly called back into the line of duty in order to assist a 2nd Lieutenant (Ramon Rodriquez) and his platoon as they fight to reclaim the city of Los Angeles from alien invaders.

Aaron Eckhart as Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz
The story hooks you from the very first moment and never lets you go until the final sequence. And though it personifies the action-packed genre, Battle:LA is infused with poignant moments, which on more than one occasion brought tears to my eyes. 

It's possible that my reaction may have been due in no small part to the person sitting next to me; my 18 year old daughter who will be leaving for Parris Island in July, where she will be enduring Marine book camp. I couldn't help but think of Maddi all too soon being in harm's way. And if anything, Battle:LA not only depicts realistic deployments, it's a manifest display of the Marine's code of honor and total commitment to their duty. 

In fact, Marines from Camp Pendleton helped train the actors for their roles, educating them in the Marine lifestyle. A number of actual marines also appear as extras in the film. To thank them, a sneak preview of the film was shown at Camp Pendleton on March 3rd, 2011. 

In case your wondering, the film is inspired by the real life incident known as the Battle of Los Angeles, during World War II. On the night of 24-25 February 1942, unidentified aircraft were allegedly spotted in the airspace above Los Angeles. Suspecting it to be the Japanese, a blackout of the city was ordered and over 1,440 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition was fired. Upon finding no evidence of the existence of any enemy aircraft, the incident was declared to be a "false alarm". The event has since been chalked up to as being a result of "war nerves", likely triggered by a lost weather balloon and exacerbated by stray flares and shell bursts from adjoining anti-aircraft batteries.


For me, I don't think any film with Aaron Eckhart can miss - Battle:LA is no exception. Eckhart makes what would be otherwise just another 'alien attacks' into the quickest two hours of believable, moving, and on-the-edge-of-your-seat, nail biting excitement I have seen in a very long time. 


I was particularly impressed with the alien creature's design and the directors obvious intent to not make them the focus of the story. Yes, we do catch glimpses of them, primary from at long distance, but the story is about overcoming, not disgusting closeups. 

There's also a question of how to kill these creatures. No spoil alert here. I'll just say that it was handled with just enough guts and goo to keep my teenaged son enthralled but not too repulsive for wimps like myself. 


It is also of interest to note, this is one of the first alien movies I can think of where the aliens, though large and well protected, were nonetheless vulnerable to man's weaponry. Obviously, I like this - it felt authentic.


Lastly, I've noticed several reviews warning  those who might suffer from motion sickness to stay clear of the film. For me (and I am one prone to turning green at the slightest rock of a boat), I found the camera work particularly upsetting, which added to the suspense. Frequently, POV has us sitting right behind the ear of Marine firing at oncoming aliens. If you enjoy the thrill of X-Box combat, Battle:LA is thrilling indeed.


Does Battle:LA avoid every cliche? No. Does it offend my senses and penchant for authenticity? Only slightly and infrequently. And for those who might be put off by the sparse dialogue and sprinkles of sap, get over it - it's a SciFi thriller! 


Cliches and dialogue aside, Battle:LA is well directed, superbly acted, and masterfully told. The special effects are nothing to sneeze at as well. Accordingly, Battle:LA has earned my highest rating of Five Lens. Call me crazy, but Battle:LA gives everything it promises, and then some. And for action buffs like myself, Battle:LA is not only a MUST SEE, it must be seen on the silver screen.

Obviously, Battle:LA will not appeal to everyone - especially highbrows who demand every movie reflect some degree of pensive social commentary. However, if you're looking for roller-coaster ride, mixed with a little laughter, and a few touching moments, Battle-LA delivers! 


Mark
©Photosical - the photographic, philosophical observations of Orange County Photographer, Mark Jordan

Mark Jordan Photography specializes in crafting stunning contemporary, traditional, classic, and storytelling family portraits (high school seniors, children portraits, babies, maternity, pregnancy), headshots and pets. Mark Jordan, a Photography Hall of Fame photographer in Rancho Santa Margarita and provides portrait photography throughout Orange County. The portrait studio also serves San Diego County and Inland Empire. Studio Photography Services are also provided in Riverside County and Los Angeles County. Local Cites where photography studio services are offered are in Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Costa Mesa, Coto de Caza, Cypress, Dana Point, Dove Canyon, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Northwood, Orange, Orange Park Acres, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, Yorba Linda, Corona del Mar, Murrieta, Murrieta Hot Springs, Quail Valley, Riverside, Temecula, Winchester, Chino Hills, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Loma Linda, Montclair, Rancho Bernardo, Carlsbad, Coronado, Del Mar, Escondido, La Mesa, Oceanside, San Diego, San Marcos, Solana Beach, Vista, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Rancho San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe, and San Diego Country Estates, Turtle Rock, Shady Canyon. Portrait Photographers everywhere (photographers in O.C. as well) are welcome to contact our portrait studio for mentoring/guidance.