Saturday, March 12, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles - Take two Dramamine First

Like you, I like a good Sci-Fi flick. In fact if it's got aliens and a pulse I am usually at the front of the line next to the really geeky kids with my wife in tow on opening day. Cloverfield? Loved it.

So it was yesterday, with a line up around the block at our local multiplex, that I found myself with great anticipation for Battle: Los Angeles.

That's when it all went downhill.

Shaky Cams

A word about the advent of the "shaky cam." Used correctly the shaky cam can really deliver a first person feeling to a film. Shaky cams are when the camera lens floats and zooms in and out, the idea is to recreate how a human sees the world, always subtly tracking the environment.

Used badly and the shaky cam can deliver a Grade A migraine to the back of your left eyeball.

We knew we were in trouble with Battle: Los Angeles when an opening character staging shot at a cemetery featured:

1. Eleven different angles
2. 420 switch ups
3. 30,000 shaky cam moments

And this was just one guy talking to a damn headstone. Seriously.

Less than 10 minutes into this film I began to feel as if someone was pushing a red hot poker into my eyeball. In fact this film could not even focus on one object in a single fluid tracking shot anywhere which is sad because Aaron Eckhart, who plays the main character is excellent. He carried the movie with a gritty character portrayal, that's when you could see him between shaky cam moments.

It was like watching a disaster alien movie shot during a 9.5 earthquake.

Michelle Rodriguez plays the same character she always plays in every single film. Here is an actor who could not do a break out character if she was asked to play herself. The rest of the cast does well in a classic war movie setting but unfortunately the aliens are doughy half mechs who bobble about the shaky set with little credibility.

Maybe it's just me, but why the hell would aliens, who have comparable technology to us, want to declare war on the planet, when a nice virus would do the trick?

More here.