DIRECTOR: Jonathan Liebesman
Will we be adding this to our collection? YES
I had high hopes for this film, the concept seemed strong, Black Hawk Down meets War Of The Worlds; the poster campaign was intriguing but in the end, it was a case of be careful what you wish for. The film opens with Aaron Eckhart’s company flying over the city of L.A., which is the throws of the eponymous battle.
Then we cut to twenty-four hours earlier, where we expect to shown a series of character developments and building tension. Instead we’re given a series of shots introducing the troops without any real development and events which move too furtively to build anything. Then, within fifteen minutes we’re back where we started, over Los Angeles.
Once there, some tension ensues, the aliens are relieved, and a loose motive is contrived to get our company into the middle of enemy territory. This when we get our Black Hawk Down scenario. Er, no. I think it’s a mistake to compare two too closely and this will defiantly sway your view of the film.
This is NO Black Hawk Down, though the visual style and top quality effects will lead you to think otherwise. If L.A. was at war, this is certainly how it would look and for that I applaud them, and for the alien designs, though baring a striking resemblance to District 9, though there are always phases of designs in movies, are very good and realistic.
The exposition about the alien’s goals, motivations and movements are explained via military briefings, which come under the heading of shoddy dialogue and TV broadcasts, which don’t. The Television moments are well portrayed and feel somewhat real, convincing and familiar. This was defiantly one of the better plot mechanisms.
The hammy dialogue and barely believable actions and motivations of the lead characters on the other hand, are not. Aaron Eckhart is dull to the extreme, which I find strange for the accomplished actor, many of whose roles have been much more exuberant. Michelle Rodriguez was filling the usual tough but attractive position whilst Bridget Moynahan’s roll seemed to be all but pointless in almost every way.
The problem with this film is that in one way it looks like a gritty war movie and on the other, it’s a bog standard alien invasion flick. The graphic realism simply doesn’t gel with hammy contrivances necessary within the framework of a fantasy film. They grate on each other but this is amplified by the sometimes laughable dialogue which seems to consist of almost every single clichéd line ever spoken!
If you can get past this, then you’re in for a treat. I hope that on its second viewing, I can disregard the comparisons between this and either War Of The Worlds or Black Hawk Down, and simply take it for what it is. And this should be easy as this is certainly neither of those!
Saying all this, I did enjoy watching it and would see it again, though I’m not sure how it will sit with me, twice.