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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

City of Aliens

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If you were a child of the ’90s like me, this plot should sound really familiar. It’s another day on planet Earth and we humans are just going about life as usual, when all of a sudden aliens attack out of nowhere. This storyline has been used about a million times in quite a few different movies, and Battle: Los Angeles is no different.
Inevitably, people like me who grew up in the final decade of the 20th century will probably compare it to the big hit alien invasion movie of the time, Independence Day. However, despite these two movies sharing the same overall plot, they are actually quite different.
There were quite a few differences between Independence Day and Battle: Los Angeles. First, the former focused on an air battle between the human and alien forces, while the latter focused on the ground war. In my opinion, Independence Day also tried a little too hard to be overly patriotic.
Patriotism is always a good thing to have in blockbuster films, but the way Independence Day pulled it off made it seem a bit cheesy, especially in the famous “president’s speech” scene.
Battle: Los Angeles took a different route and while it had some patriotic themes, it came off as a lot more gritty and realistic than its mid-’90s predecessor. It’s basically Saving Private Ryan or Blackhawk Down with aliens. That’s why Battle: L.A. was somewhat more compelling.
If you’ve seen either of those two famous war movies I just mentioned, Battle: L.A. will not really be anything new. That said, it was still very enjoyable and the special effects were where this film really excelled. The brash style made the alien invasion of the West Coast somewhat believable. Many battle scenes were so realistic that if I hadn’t been watching them in an obvious sci-fi movie, I might have mistaken them for combat footage taken from Iraq.
Sometimes, you almost feel as if you are right there with the U.S. Marines fighting for the home turf as Battle: L.A. drops you right in the middle of an incredibly intense battle for survival. Of course, it’s not combat footage from Iraq; it’s a sci-fi movie in which America gets invaded by aliens (again). Only this time, you get to experience it from an infantry grunt’s perspective, which makes the film that much more compelling.
The acting was mediocre; of course, you don’t really go to these types of movies to see Academy Award-winning performances. As a war film, Battle: L.A. has all the stereotypical characters: the older combat-hardened sergeant, a fresh-faced officer right out of training and the younger enlisted men.
I haven’t seen Aaron Eckhart since his well-known portrayal of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, but he played his role of Staff Sgt. Nantz well. Eckhart struck a good balance of being tough yet willing to show compassion for his troops and the civilians that accompany them for most of the movie. I’d have to say that Eckhart’s performance here was the only one that stood out, since the rest of the roles were pretty generic war film stereotypes; Michelle Rodriguez plays the same character in all her movies.
In a world where new ideas for movies are few and far between, Hollywood just keeps cranking out films with the same plots while hoping that people will see them. They did a surprisingly good job with Battle: L.A. It’s obvious that alien invasion movies are not really something new, so the producers decided to make Battle: L.A. about three-fourths war film and only about one-fourth sci-fi film.
If you choose to watch Battle: L.A., please don’t walk into the theater with high expectations. If you do, I guarantee you will be let down. Rather, if you walk into this film just looking for a good time at the movies, you might actually enjoy it. For what it was worth, Battle: LA was actually a somewhat refreshing new take on a stereotypical Hollywood portrayal of an alien invasion.

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