Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles | A Review By Billy Cox

Battle Los Angeles Still

Goin’ down the road feelin’ bad

By Billy Cox
De Void

Billy Cox     I’ve got nothing against shoot-em-ups. I thought it was cool when the Guggenheim Museum got shot to pieces in “The International.” I liked what happened to Hitler in “Inglourious Basterds.” I just don’t want insulting or stupid. And I knew, going in, that “Battle: Los Angeles” was gonna be a dog.

The trailers had “this sucks” splashed all over them. Sixty-seven percent of Rotten Tomatoes critics went thumbs down; naturally, moviegoers gave it a 65 percent approval rating on the Tomatometer and made sure “Battle: Los Angeles” was last weekend’s big box-office winner. Ain’t that America.

Yet, I felt oddly compelled by this, this thing, vaguely nostalgic, the way I once tuned into Jerry Lewis telethons, anticipating the inevitable moment of awe that renders you mutestruck in a my god did I really just spend two hours of my life doing this kinda way.

The breathlessness on “B:LA” actually began last year before the trailers were even out, with the hardcores speculating that maybe this one was gonna hook into the legitimate 1942 UFO mystery that drew A-A fire over southern California. And no wonder. Promoters put together a teaser with a superficial nod to authenticity by interviewing real-life not-crazy people to discuss the original incident in particular and UFOs in general.

Also: Natalie Portman went from “Black Swan” and Oscar to Ashton Kutcher and “No Strings Attached,” OK fine, but seriously, how bad could Aaron Eckhart be? He was terrific in “Rabbit Hole.” Now there’s a guy who can’t possibly play dumb with a straight face. Right?

Fssshhht ….

Well. No reason to rehash this steaming tripeheap. Given the expectation levels, I can’t even say I was disappointed. You enter a sci-fi flick by suspending disbelief. Aliens with the physiological consistency of congealed salad who can figure out how to ply cosmic oceans — hell, they don’t have to shoot straight once they start conquering things. Aliens with the ability to sponge up every last drop of water on planet Earth don’t have to know their fascination with radio signals will get them blown to smithereens again and again and again. (Or, as the lady Marine put it, “They’re going down like bowling pins!”)

Mostly, “B:LA” left me hoping at least one of the terrified children would get hosed. Which would’ve been the biggest surprise in the film. Instead, I walked out of the theater feeling like a horrid human being.

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