Opinions are like assholes: everyone IS one. We’ve noticed that they tend to spend a lot of time in Hollywood, chortling while you spend perfectly good alcohol/meth/falafel money on the anal fissures of their “imagination.” Justin Smith of cinema-grind moguls Graf Orlock will occasionally plumb the depths in Graf Orlock Steadicam Reviews.
Hollywood has had years to perfect their emotion-eliciting machine, focusing on the perfect mix of bravado and romanticism to offset our otherwise rational minds. Action films have always been part and parcel of this foray into heartstring-tugging, and the marinophilia and dead civilian-ridden Battle: Los Angeles is no different. Looking through the pedigree of military versus alien action films in the last 20 years, this comes across with a high degree of very workable and well-worn traditions. Below, we have a small sample of ever-changing variables in alien-human relations, although here in a much degraded film form:
-vaguely environmental alien undertones (War of the Worlds remake)
-homeland protection/mass infrastructure destruction (Independence Day)
-extraterrestrial medical experiments (Alien Autopsy)
-weird anti-alien armaments (Avatar, etc.)
-standard sweetheart at home versus soldierly sacrifice (every film)
Although the most important genetic film strain apparent in Battle: Los Angeles is the rousing pre-fight speeches replete with notions of anti-alien duty and honor, it disregards an almost certain human reaction of running the shit away from a city-destroying Borg command center. In response, Aaron Eckhart informs us that “Marines never give up” and that in the face of certain rich West Los Angeles destruction, we still have authority-bucking chip-shoulder soldiers to protect us (in the absence of aliens more regularly employed against the population). This is a new age alien movie, seeking not to recreate the genre, but to amalgamate several already familiar ones into a shitty umbrella genre.
Battle: Los Angeles takes the war film and substitutes the action “other” (whether Germans, Japanese, Muslims, Soviets, etc.) with a brutal pack of acid-laden battle ETs. Hollywood has perfected its craft, knowing the exact strings to pull and which to pull hardest, showing that even in a ridiculous and obviously fictional story, they can still insert undertones that keep the masses coming back to the tune of a $36 million opening weekend. In light of documentaries like Restrepo looking at a real, yet perhaps incomplete view of Marines in war, this seems at best jocular and anachronistically stretched patriot fodder.
Although some in the world would rejoice at the destruction of Los Angeles, you could do us a favor and have the San Andreas fault swallow us up, or at least an all-encompassing thermonuclear holocaust. All in all, I did take pleasure in mysterious meteor aliens blasting a bunch of flat-brimmed, primary color-wearing bro beachgoers in Santa Monica, but that is a different argument altogether.