Syfy’s Battle of Los Angeles – Spoileriffic!!

“To be honest, my Trash Compactor section is all about crappy movies that are so bad they’re good and while this website normally focuses solely on the scary, this section is all about the crap – no matter what the genre (although I will try my hardest to stay as close to horror and space as I can).  I would like to precede this review with a thank you to my father for his sense of humor and raising me to love the garbage as much as the truly beautiful productions out there.  We definitely have the same sense of humor and I honestly believe that with the appreciation I have for both good and terrible films, I have a well-rounded perception and knowledge of what’s out there and what’s worth mentioning.  So, thank you dad.”

This section has a rating system as follows:

Trash, Trash Heap, Garbage Truck, and Landfill

Kicking my new section off is the Syfy original, “Battle of Los Angeles,” an action-packed film about an alien invasion that threatens the world by slowly destroying our major cities and then drawing the world’s resources for their own.  Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith lead this cast of characters against the invasion and save our civilization from complete destruction…wait…that’s not right, I’m thinking of “Independence Day.”  I guess I got confused because the opening sequence of “Battle of Los Angeles” is such an incredible rip-off of scenes from Roland Emmerich’s classic doomsday film.  Complete with terrible acting, an unoriginal “story,” and stolen shots, this is a great film to toss in my trash compactor.

For starters, let’s compare posters…

1996

 

2011

eh…it could happen to anyone.  A strange coincidence I guess…

I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Syfy movies are always teetering on the edge of recycled ideas and shot stealing, but “Battle of Los Angeles” jumps off the cliff and doesn’t look back.  From street views of the craft hovering overhead before the attack to the actual mechanics of the ship and how it attacks, you would believe you were watching “Independence Day.”  Combined with this series of opening scenes are those of fighter pilots that are approaching the craft, like in I.D.  Keeping just a shred of originality, they added a brief idea that wasn’t influenced by I.D.; the first set of missiles fired from the jets are grabbed by tractor beams and shot back at the fighter pilots – that’s it.  The fighter jets fire another volley of missiles, this time closer so the tractor beams cannot lock on quick enough (somehow one pilot figured that out in five seconds).  What happens?  You guessed it: the missiles explode and reveal an invisible force-field, a jet flies too close and explodes in the force field, the mother ship releases fighter pods and after taking out all of the American fighter jets, they proceed to bomb a military base…once again, JUST like I.D.

The good news is that the rip-offs stop here pretty much, but the film (and I use that word very loosely) is doomed from the beginning.  Not only is there no explanation of…well…anything, but we are thrown right into the battle from scene one, which would not be so bad if there was any story, but there isn’t.  Only a few scenes and a random character thrown in offer some insight into what’s going on in Los Angeles: the aliens are back to collect a captive alien buddy (based off of the disputed events in 1942)…apparently that’s the only reason they’re here…and apparently they lack the capacity to ask nicely first.

more comparisons…

1996

both stuck behind glass…

2011...taking the easy way out.

I’m going to briefly touch on the cgi in this movie.  As said before, Syfy movies are pretty behind the times in terms of…well…everything, but this movie absolutely blows your mind when you think of the tools we currently have available to everyone to create environments and characters.  Normal people in the world could assemble better models and wrap better skins that what’s slapped into this film.  It’s amazing it even got the green light.  It just goes to show you that having money, however little or much it may be (because I’m sure the budget was more than the average person has), doesn’t mean you’re going to get quality.

Special effects comparisons:

1996

(and I am in no way implying these films had equal budgets…but come on, a FIFTEEN year difference…)

2011

If stealing ideas was the only offense this movie was suspect of, it would be a miracle.  Kel Mitchell, (of “All That” and “Good Burger” fame) leads a cast of characters that have no originality, pulling looks and character styles from various sci-fi films.  All in all, you must see this movie because it is jam-packed full of 1994 era cd-rom animations, (think Interplay’s “Cyberia”), and has a really intense car-pushing scene.  The experience will be unbearable, painful and make you want to gouge your eyes out with a spoon, but nonetheless make you laugh hysterically all the same.

To sum up, this film is light on substance and heavy on crap.  I know that sounds like a paradox, but after all it’s Syfy.

One last comparison…

1996 – Welcome to erf!

2011

 

Hmm…Will Smith and low budget Will Smith…

FINAL OPINION: LANDFILL

               
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