Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Battle: Los Angeles

Jerry Stratton, April 2, 2011

FOB: Santa Monica

I just got back from Battle: Los Angeles. This was an amazing movie. I hadn’t originally planned to see it—the trailer just didn’t make it look that great. But I kept hearing that it was extremely good, so I went to see it. And the trailer lied. It practically made a different movie. Some of the stuff going on in the trailer is clearly bullshit seen in the context of the movie.

It’s very tightly edited. If you’re the kind of person who can’t sit through an entire movie without going to the bathroom, you’re going to hate it, because there is no scene in this movie that isn’t clearly critical. There’s no filler.

I first saw Aaron Eckhart in Thank You For Smoking, which was also a very good movie; and it was nice to see him come up again in The Dark Knight.

The goal of the film was apparently to make as realistic a depiction of an alien invasion as they could, assuming that aliens used military hardware1. They’ve got advanced technology; we’ve got a supply chain and familiarity with the battlefield. And we live here.

Something else we have is a 24-hour news culture that expects experts to know what’s going on the second it starts happening. We see bits of complete bullshit coming in over the news as the parts of the country not invaded try to understand not just what but why. This is one of the ways that the trailer lies: in the trailer, it sounds like these mean something, but in the context of the film it’s obviously a bunch of talking heads who have no idea why the invasion is happening or what the reason for it is. They’re just as reliable as anything else we get from the news seconds after it happens, which is to say, not at all. What they’re saying doesn’t matter to the marines trying to get civilians out of Los Angeles, except that what the marines see on television is a connection to an uninvaded, still naive, civilian population. And one they’d like to get back to.

It’s been out now for a couple of weeks, so if you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend getting on the ball.

  1. This is the “one unlikely thing” that each movie gets as a freebie as long as it happens at the beginning of the movie. Otherwise, our movies would be nothing but people sitting around eating fast food and talking about the weather. Most likely, an invasion by someone with the technology to cover the distance between the stars quickly enough for an invasion to matter would attack us in some way we can’t even see—we wouldn’t even know an invasion was going on.

  1. <- The Sleeping Car
  2. Atlas Shrugged ->