Battle: Los Angeles, Independence Day, Black Hawk Down, District 9, derivative, mash-up, criticism

Discussion (31) ¬

  1. bman

    Wow. So, I wrote a super-long review of Battle: LA, then hit submit and it screwed up…


    • bman

      In a nutshell, I watched it last night. It’s not as good as any of those three movies, but it’s still worth a guy’s night. I’m happy my wife didn’t come because it’s pretty much just a mindless action movie with that weird “we’re Marines, gosh darn it” thing blended in. I still liked it, even though I laughed out loud at a few of the lines (deservedly).

      Also, if you need a test dummy for the Netflix thing, just let me know! 😀

  2. James

    Thought BLA was kick ass. It didn’t really muck around with a lot of unnecessary characters or sub plots. Does get bogged down in the unavoidable stuff (the explaining what happened on the previous mission, etc)
    Overall it is an uber patriotic, fast paced, well done action movie.

  3. Relaxing Dragon
    Relaxing Dragon

    I caught the midnight show of Battle: LA last Thursday, and generally enjoyed myself. Characters were wafer thin and the dialogue truly left no cliche behind, but as a straight, popcorn action movie, it worked pretty well. It’s basically one long action sequence, and I’m entirely OK with that.

  4. Doshi

    Watch a few episodes of MST3k (Mystery Science Theater 3000 for the uninitiated) for some ideas. Good places to start are B-movies and “It’s So Bad It’s Good” movies.

  5. Andre

    It’s funny how “Derivative, stupid and unecessary” also applies perfectly to Cars 2… 😉

    I saw Battle LA over the weekend, really liked it. It definitely takes elements from Independence Day / Black Hawk Down / District 9, as you said, but the end result is one big action movie that doesn’t feel as stupid as Transformers 2. I did have a problem with the camera work though… it’s often up close, and really shaky. I’m sure it’ll be fine when watching at home on a TV, but on a big screen, it can be a little bit much.

    • Tom

      Touche on the Cars 2 dig. Touche…

  6. David

    My best description of Battle: LA is this first brief paragraph:
    It is an incredibly real, intense war battle movie that will provide cliches left and right, but always keep you interested, on the edge of your seat, and in the end you will care enough for the main characters that you are engaged and hope for their best interest. The action is grade A and the FX are very believable. What more can you want from this sort of film?

    Additionaly, I saw it with my girlfriend and we both loved it. There was one point where a joke was made, and the audience laughed, and we both then realised we hadn’t breathed in about 30 minutes. It’s not Independence Day, but it is an amazing ride that I recommend if you are interested in seeing a gritty, realistic war movie. To any who many complain about the camera work, or being confused at what was going on, I say this: think about how much you, as a character in a battle with aliens, would know about what is going on, and what you’d be seeing. I think you’d find the camera work supports that greatly.

    • Andre

      Hey, I don’t mind being in the middle of the action, but it’d be nice if I didn’t come out of a movie with a headache! I didn’t in the end, but early on in the movie, I certainly thought it’d happen.

      Btw, I totally agree with your description. For the type of movie, it was great. A great blend of many movies. Will likely purchase this one on Blu-ray when it comes out.

  7. Alexander Burns

    Yeah, I saw Battle LA with a friend over the weekend and pretty much echo what’s already been said. It was predictable, cliche, and a gigantic recruitment film for the US Marine Corps, but if you like seeing aliens blowed up good it’s a fun time.

  8. Jackson

    This strip made me smile. It’s not the funniest joke you’ve done, but you took a fairly prosaic topic, and a fairly run-of-the-mill sci fi action movie, and crafted a surprisingly multi-tiered gag out of it. I find that amusing.

    Nice title in particular. And that line in panel 3? Perfect antimetabole. 🙂

    • Tom

      Thanks by your compliments.

      I think I was struck by the number of reversals Zack Galafanakis did in his opening monologue on Saturday Night Live this week and wanted to try something similar.

  9. Greg

    This is just an idea, but have you considered basing the show around the unscripted aspect? I don’t think there’s going to be a way for you to avoid the MST3k comparison, so I just wouldn’t worry about it. That was a scripted show with a professional budget, and this idea sounds more like watching a movie with friends – you just do a running commentary. Sure, some of the jokes won’t be that funny (least that’s the case with me in that kind of setting), but that’s not really the point, is it? It’s about enjoying a movie and talking and laughing, and it doesn’t have to be a bad movie or one you don’t like for you to be able to poke fun at it. If you can throw some comments out occasionally that would be interesting to fans of the film, fans of film, or just fans in particular, all the better.

    You might even consider letting the “audience” participate, but I would encourage you lay down some ground rules and procedure first. I wouldn’t know the particulars of how you would do that, of course, and how you would do the show (record it as a podcast, maybe? so you have the participating audience, and then the listening audience), so this probably wasn’t that helpful at all.

    • Tom

      The show would be COMPLETELY unscripted. There would be no way I would have time to prepare.

      You’ve characterized it correctly… this would be more like sitting around and watching a movie with a friend. Albeit a friend who won’t shut up, but a friend you don’t mind listening to because he’s slightly more entertaining than the movie you’ve agreed to watch. 🙂

      How, exactly, would I let the audience participate? I don’t know enough about the Netflix interface on XBOX Live to do that.

      • Greg

        I have no idea how it works either, to be honest. I assumed that if it’s got some sort of group watch setup, they probably have something that works with Live or another service, but I really have no idea. Maybe you should do a test run, and see what exactly group watching entails?

        • Norman Greene
          Norman Greene

          What about using Skype? See I could have my laptop with a headset on and still watch the movie on my Wii

          • Tom

            That’s an idea.

            The only problem is getting your movie synced at the same time with the other systems.

  10. Greg

    Mind you, MST3k didn’t have -much- of a professional budget, but still.

  11. Shy422

    I don’t have a comment on BLA as I have no interest to see it.

    But I do have a comment on the Netflix idea. I *think* when you do a group viewing on the 360, you can either chat via text messages or via the headsets. Not sure about the text message thingy, but it would make sense with the headsets, like what you experience when playing a game online.

    The only problem that you would run into, I would think, is people talking either over you or over each other. Since they can’t see the other people, it would be hard to tell when someone was going to talk, ya know?

    Also, I think that the sign-up sheet thing would be good. Another thing you could add to that is the title of the movie. That way, people know in advance what movie is coming up and if they are interested or not. For instance, I can’t do extremely violent/bloody/horror movies, so 300 would not interest me, but a fantasy movie, like LOTR, I would be all over that.

    If you need someone to test it with, I would gladly sacrifice myself for the sake of the Theater Hopper community. 😉

    • Tom

      Talking over each other is a concern. As the “host,” I’m hoping there’s an option to mute people or turn on people’s mics when I want to.

      If not and the system is limited by 6 or 8 people, maybe it won’t be that much of an issue?

  12. Tovias

    I’m going to see it this week and I don’t think I’ll mind to much if it’s nonstop action. I suffered through Skyline and had heard early on that B:LA was the better of the two.

    As for the military clichés, I was in the military for 10 years and dreaded each popular military movie that came out in theaters. All of the catchy phrases used in the movies would invariably find their ways into the vocabularies of the senior enlisted personnel. Don’t judge movies too harshly for using clichés, the real military uses them as well.

  13. David

    REALLY long review here:

    In a nutshell, in case you don’t want to flip to another site…

    It’s better than I expected. Yes, the characters were right out of “Tom Cliche’s Guide to Making Movies” but they were well acted. Solid 2.5-3 stars.

  14. Gooner

    Nah, more than anything from a New Yorker perspective we just like to see LA get theirs 🙂

  15. bman

    Oh, and the aliens look like the mechanic droids from Episode I, just bigger.

  16. James

    Battle LA was like a Captain America movie with machine guns and aliens. I loved it,saw it twice.

  17. Liz

    Disaster movies involving New York are verboten? Did you SEE Cloverfield?

    I haven’t seen Battle: Los Angeles yet, although I want to. I’ll probably wait till it comes out on DVD, though, since there are a BUNCH of other movies coming out now that take precedence (I am so psyched for Paul tomorrow I can hardly stand it). 

    Also, I really liked your strip over at Hijinks Ensue. Star Trek references FTW.

    • Tom

      Ohhhhh yeahhh! Cloverfield!

      I did see it, but I kind of… immediately offloaded it from my memory.

      Thanks for the compliments on the Hijinks Ensue strip. We’ve been watching old episodes of ST: TNG lately, so it’s kind of top of mind. 😉

  18. Joe M
    Joe M

    Heard lots of complaints about Battle:LA.. went to see it anyway. Not sure what people were whining about, I mean, was someone expecting an alien invasion version of Inception? It’s an alien invasion movie. Aliens invade, Marines fight, stuff gets blown up. You take your brain out for a couple hours and have a good time. It’s not that difficult.
    I have to agree with the complaints about the “shaky cam” though. I find it annoying when they use it too much. I’m not sure what the deal is with the shaky cam but I don’t understand why filmmakers can’t see that it actually detracts from the movie instead of adding to it. The camera is supposed to film the action not be the action.

    • Tom

      I don’t have a problem with alien invasion movies – even DUMB alien invasion movies.

      But there’s just too much about Battle: Los Angeles that is ascetically similar to other movies. It’s distracting.

      You’ll notice that even the dumbest alien invasion movies at least do something visually distinctive. Independence Day comes to mind. Those giant ship? Such an obvious approach, but no one had really done it before. And that’s why people remember it.

  19. joule

    For a comic that started out with an Austin Powers joke, you’ve come a long way baby. Thanks for not being an anti-military elitist d-bag from this marine. P.S. Any possibility of seeing Scurvy Joe again?

    • Tom

      Anti-military? Never in a million years.

      I’m not down with war, but I respect the hell out of anyone willing to defend my right to make stupid jokes about movies in my free time.

      Thanks for your service.

Reply to Greg ¬

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