By Ted Twietmeyer
It was interesting that a few days before this film hit the theaters, the Sci-Fi channel aired a film "Battle for Los Angeles."
Both films share the same dirty, gritty battle to be freed from an alien invasion. Time did not permit me to see the all of the sci-fi film the day it aired so I'll reserve comment on it.
One reviewer for Battle: Los Angeles said "See the film on the big screen before DVD." And he's right. So much is going on in almost scene that a TV will ruin the experience. The director did it in a such a way that he has you looking around the screen to see where the firing is coming from.
Like most people I truly enjoy a well crafted, well produced and edited film. This is that type of film, and so real you'll swear it actually happened in the summer of 2011 which is the time frame it's set in. (Is it some kind of ominous warning?) It's not in 3D and doesn't need to be - dirty, gritty acting and numerous lightning fast attacks on a small group of dedicated marines is truly realistic. Acting and effects are well balanced, with most scenes carried by acting alone. Downtown LA scenes, destroyed freeways and much more look are perfect. I saw no visual mistakes anywhere and my has said I'm usually the first to find them. Although I'm certain many models were used, you simply can't tell from watching it.
Years ago, production companies started using hand-help camera shots for realism. I hated those because the camera wandered all around the actors as though the cinematographer was stoned. It was as it Hollywood thought more was better. This film used almost all hand-held shots, but with only very small camera movements similar to how a pro cameraman for a news channel might video someone using a shoulder-held camera. Someone should get an award for this.
These aliens are different, unique to sci-fi and hard to kill. Some of them don't walk around but hover as there are different types. Different types of ships and drones come down to just a few feet above the streets rapidly firing in all directions, with intermittent, flame-shooting stabilizing thrusters with just the right sound effects. Then there is the control and command center for the bugs, which I won't say anything about here. Full use of surround is used in the film, so don't go see it in a cheap theater with only one speaker behind the screen. That will ruin it.
All in all, it was the best sci-fi film I've ever seen. Truly amazing in scope and detail. At the end of the credits several locations in Louisiana were listed where it was filmed. In the past I worked with super-talented people like cinemtographer Reed Smoot, director Keith Merrill and others we often watch credits. Reed was a consultant to the Indiana Jones films. I'm usually critical of any film I watch, but there was nothing in this film that appeared to be in error or unbelievable.
Official website: http://www.battlela.com/