Silliness in LA
WORLD Invasion: Battle LA can best be described
as Blackhawk Down with aliens.
Its grainy, washed out, handheld camerawork certainly feels urgent, claustrophobic and deadly serious with the space invaders kept largely at a distance, obscured by smoke and shaky cam.
This works to build suspense – for a while.
But the anticipated science fiction elements never materialise, leaving only a lot of patriotic chest-beating.
The narrative structure is that of a video game.
A short intro quickly branches into a lengthy shoot-’ em-up, then another vignette in which a couple of civilians are introduced among a bombardment of embarrassingly clunky dialogue. War is hell and so is this script. After a couple of engagements I felt about as involved as if I were sitting on the couch next to someone playing a first-person shooter.
When we finally get a close look at the ETs and realise they’re actually Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men assimilated with Borg implants, the only questions remaining are why are they here and why are they so angry?
Seems they need our water, of course. But it gets worse. Within a few hours of their arrival ocean levels are already falling.
You could get away with this sort of earnest silliness in the 1950s, but Battle LA’s biggest failing is in not accounting for the baggage a post-9/ 11 audience brings.
Living in the shadow of grandscale devastation and human suffering, close to home and not so far away, Battle LA should have powerful and immediate reson- ance. The marines are fighting, not only on home soil, but in their own neighbourhood, bearing witness to the slaughter of all mankind, yet I felt none of the horror, grief or hopelessness that fills my heart when I watch the news daily.
It probably didn’t help either that besides the likeable Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez ( Avatar), typecast as yet another tough-as-old-boots soldier, and the young fella from True Blood, I had trouble telling any of them apart.
All I was thinking about were the infinitely superior war films which have left their indelible mark on me.
Aaron Eckhart in World Invasion: Battle LA