A Different Kind? – Battle: Los Angeles

A Different Kind? – Battle: Los Angeles


Release date: March 11th 2011
Certificate (UK): TBC
Running time: 112 minutes

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Pena
Score: Brian Tyler


W.A.T.C.H. – Worldwide Assessment of Threats Concerning Humankind

When Lucian of Samosata wrote his science fiction tale True History back in the 2nd century, alien life forms, interplanetary war fare and the colonization of planets entered the world of storytelling. Some 1,800 years later, there are enough stories for us to be ready for the real deal, and if necessary to duck or fight – in case the beasts from outer space intend to devour us whole.

Battle: Los AngelesThe question is if the upcoming Battle: Los Angeles delivers a really new link in the chain Lucian started, offering an Alien invasion of epic proportions, the inevitable search-and-rescue plot and a Marine Staff sergeant who, with his band of jar-heads, is to save the planet.

The Great Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942

On the night of February 24th, 1942, Los Angeles was thought to be under enemy attack. With a total blackout ordered and air raid sirens raised, residents were alarmed to see searchlights clawing at the night sky to identify the invaders.

The United States had only just entered World War 2 after the bombing of Pearl Harbour by the Japanese Imperial Navy so there were fears of an immanent attack.

Reports following that night were very sketchy on the exact details which lead to the hour-long anti-aircraft artillery bombardment over the city of Los Angeles but conspiracy theorists have attributed it to UFO’s while the Navy issued a statement claiming it was a false alarm due to “war nerves”. As the city tried to protect itself against the mystery target it was said that “the air over Los Angeles erupted like a volcano.”

An article by Devdutt Pattanaik for the Indian Economic Times highlights the root of this need for humans to protect what’s theirs:

“Any shift in context, any change in territory, frightens us, annoys us and we respond like dogs, growling and barking and biting. In other words, we are afraid. Through territory we try to overcome this fear. Yet territory ends up becoming the source of our greatest fears. It becomes like a dog’s bone. We cling to it tenaciously and fight over it tooth and nail.”

In 1983, the Office of Air Force History released an official report concluding that weather balloons were the cause for the initial alarm that night.

Watching the trailer () we were trying to figure out if the movie could be the latest stand when it comes to saving a genre that’s had a hard time fending off clichés in recent years. There have been some highlights (Cloverfield, District 9 and War Of The Worlds) but mostly we got to see they-come-they-go stories with a lot of action, hi tech and/or boredom in-between that could as well have happened in any story. No aliens required.

Battle: Los Angeles looks to build on a documentary style which has been more or less successfully replicated in both alien and supernatural stories. It seems the filmmakers have tried to take a different angle on a basic plot that by nature is prone to a lack of surprises. We think it’s a good sign that the film is inspired by actual events, starting with the “Great Los Angeles Air Raid” in 1942. And we are rather impressed by the soundtrack bits the trailer offers. They give a vibe that goes more with actual personal stories than a large-scale slaughter.

The campaign surrounding Battle: Los Angeles is not less interesting. We were quite intrigued by the features on the interactive map. When you hit the Priority Access button and enter 031111, you’ll find intelligence on the aliens comprehensive enough you can make yourself believe the threat is real. Most likely though we won’t flock to the streets in panic, as it happened in 1938 when Orson Wells read War Of The Worlds on radio. But a unique story that satisfies our need for movies like this in an unpredictable way seems to be enough to wish for, unfortunately. Or not?

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  1. This trailer is amazing…it really is time for a satisfying alien invasion movie! The sounds are also fantastic, looking forward to this!

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