Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One of the Coolest Trailers I've Seen In a While

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to release December 21st, 2011. It is a remake of the first of The Millennium Trilogy, a series of Swedish films based on a series of novels by Swedish author Stieg Larsson.

So it's a huge remake. It does look very good and I'm looking forward to it, I love Daniel Craig and I think he'll be pretty great in this movie.

The disgusting thing about it is how much money it took to make it. The Swedish trilogy, for all movies, costed roughly 17 million dollars to make, compared to the US remake of THE FIRST MOVIE ALONE costing 100 million dollars. It's pathetic really. They don't need to spend that much money on a movie. It's just getting ridiculous.

Either way, it looks good.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dead Island First Impressions

The company Deep Silver has been working on Dead Island for some time now. It centers around 4 different characters who visit this island and in the middle of the night during their stay, zombies attack. The survivors of the attack are the ones who are actually immune to the zombification. 

After seeing the original trailer, I’ve had an interest in this game. I had no idea how it would play; would it be just a standard FPS or a 3rd person survival horror, or would it have RPG elements and whatnot? Well, after seeing first gameplay footage, it is FPS RPG survival horror combined. It is free-roam after you get past the first main storyline part, and looks like a mix of games. It really looks like Far Cry 2, along with gameplay elements similar to Left 4 Dead, Dead Rising, and Borderlands. It features many RPG elements including skills, levels, abilities, quests, crafting and upgrades.

Levels are gained by killing zombies; you get a certain amount of experience for each kill. You get points to level up skills when you level, and there are also abilities for each character. The abilities are different for each person.

The game has up to 4 player co-op and your friends can join or leave at any time. The combat looks pretty solid, got some nice features to it. There is also a stamina bar which goes down from attacks, blocks, and running. You’re going to have to be smart with the combat or else you’ll run out of stamina and have no chance of surviving.

Like I said before, the game is free-roam/open-world. I have to say again, it really looks like Far Cry 2. The graphics are a bit out-dated but I don’t think that will give anyone any problems, the game looks solid to begin with. It looks like a big, fun game and will surely entertain.

Dead Island releases on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC on September 6th, 2011.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Skyrim Gameplay and Why Skyrim Will Succeed

On November 11th, 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be released. It is a guaranteed hit and will be even more successful than its previous title, Oblivion. Why will it be more successful? Because it is catering more towards the casual gamers, like every game is nowadays. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, Skyrim will still kick ass and be a long, in-depth RPG.

I won’t go much into the video above, I’ll be talking more about how Skyrim will be the biggest hit Bethesda will have so far. The gameplay that is shown above looks pretty solid. The game looks like it will be very fun and possibly better than Oblivion. There is duel-wielding, dragons, more spells and weapons, improved combat, a very well designed engine (finally), and the graphics look wonderful.

Before I get into why Skyrim will be the most successful of the series, let me explain something about the best game in the series. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is one of the best RPG’s ever made. The amount of depth and atmosphere the game is renowned for is truly one of a kind. The features Morrowind had that beats out both Oblivion and Skyrim is one simple thing called “no compass.” For those of you who haven’t played Morrowind; play it right now. Then again, if you hadn’t played Morrowind before you played Oblivion you might not even like it. In Morrowind, the game doesn’t hold your hand like Oblivion and like Skyrim will. There is no compass, the directions you get for your quests are given by the NPC’s and can be very vague, “Go north until you see the big oak, then go west until you reach the river’s edge. Continue south along the river’s edge until you find a cavern with a stump in front of it. Go east past the stump, over the bridge, and you will find the cave you seek.” That isn’t in the game, but it is an example of how vague it is (it doesn’t sound that vague reading it, but you try doing it in game).
Why is this better? Because it immerses you into the game further and makes you feel as if you really are the adventurer. The game was much harder and frustrating than the new ones and it was more rewarding. That is just one thing I am going to discuss about Morrowind. There’s a ton of others but that one is the one that really sticks out to me. Oh, and also there is no quick travelling. There is only travelling between main cities and it costs money. This is more attractive to the ones who want to play the game like they really are part of it.

The reason that Skyrim will be more successful is because it has the compass in it, which caters more towards the casual who don’t want to waste more time than they need to to complete a quest. And the new class system in Skyrim is also more attractive to the casual. It is way less customizable than ever before. They don’t speak of the class, attribute and skill system in the video posted above, but in other articles they do; here and here. They have removed some skills that they deemed useless and have simplified character customization. Again, this is more attractive to the casual audience and only makes the hardcore ( I hate saying “hardcore” when talking about a type of gamer, but it’s the only way to get the different points across nowadays) audience a little disappointed but otherwise won’t affect them.

So, why will Skyrim be the most successful in the series? Because it caters toward the more casual audience while still keeping its hardcore fanbase. It is what you can call "easy mode" now, you could even call Oblivion that as well. This will draw in tons more money than ever before and grant an even larger fanbase. Will it be the best of the series? Probably not, but it will be the biggest success.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Modern Warfare 2. Oh, wait. I meant 3.

Call of Duty 4 is a spectacular game. The campaign was top notch and the multiplayer was revolutionary. Everything about that game was superb, and when Modern Warfare 2 was announced, we didn’t think it could be topped. Well, it wasn’t. Modern Warfare 2’s storyline was a guilty pleasure for most. It’s over-the-top story was a blast but nothing to take too seriously. The multiplayer was definitely improved (other than the ridiculous amount of killstreaks, and the stupid deathstreaks), but it lacked something that CoD4 had; substance, maybe? Modern Warfare 3 was announced and some gameplay coverage was given and what is the first impression? It is Modern Warfare 2.

I may possibly buy this game because the campaign has been a guilty pleasure of mine and the multiplayer is just fun for killing time. Battlefield 3 will be the one that I’m going to be playing ALL the time. I’m not a stupid BF3 fan boy; I just think it will be better. But let me just discuss the disappointments that Modern Warfare 3 will surely give us.

Story: Apparently, the guys working on it have improved the story from MW2, they realized that it was hard to follow at parts (I didn’t think so) and they say it is much more improved. That may be so, but it is still going to be a flag waving romp through America and other countries. Now, as a Canadian, I am obliged to hate every flag waving movie and video game made by Americans, but as I said, they are guilty pleasures. I think the story will still be ridiculous, which is fine, but stupid because they actually take themselves seriously.

Gameplay: This game is MW2. Nothing entirely wrong with that, but when you make a video game sequel you should probably improve on the gameplay. Watching the demo is like watching someone play the MW2 campaign. They’ve been churning out these games every year now, and I thought that since MW2 came out 2 years ago they’d improve on the engine and give us something completely new. They haven’t. The graphics look the exact same, AI is the same, everything is the same. The only things that seem to be altered so far are weapons and attachments. There’s a neat thing that the guy’s gun has: a little red dot sight and on the side of it an acog which you can flip in front of the red dot to have more range. That is a handy little trick but other than that I can’t see them making any impressive additions to the gameplay.

Multiplayer: This game looks the same as MW2 and plays the same. If you enjoyed MW2’s multiplayer then you’ll enjoy this. If not, buy something else.

They said that the Spec Ops gameplay is improved because they don’t use the same AI as campaign AI which I think is pretty cool. That is a feature that actually is worthy of some recognition. Everything else is nothing special.

Modern Warfare 3 looks almost identical to Modern Warfare 2. If you have no problem with that, go for it. You know a lot of people are going to be buying it, so if you want to play where the people are, MW3 is the place.

BF3 too.

Peter Molyneux is up to no good again!

I hate Peter Molyneux with a passion. Time and time again he promises all the seemingly awesome features to each of the Fable games and every time never kept those promises. Now, Molyneux says that Microsoft came directly to him and asked Lionhead to make a Kinect Fable game. So, they are making Fable: Journey, a 40 hour first person carriage ride.

The first part of the demo is a guy riding on a horse-drawn carriage for 5 minutes, constantly having to move the reins back and forth because the horse is a drunken retard. Molyneux goes on a spiel about how you can travel for hours and miles and miles and in different climates and environments. This isn’t at all interesting because no one wants to ride a fucking horse for hours on end.

It then shows us the guy off the carriage and doing some first-person fighting. This would be cool and all, if only you could see your goddamn hands while casting magic. This is absolutely pathetic. Why make a game in first person if you can see the actions you are performing in first person? Absolutely pathetic. Hopefully Crytek’s Ryse is the opposite of this, which it looks like it is going to be.

Molyneux begins talking about the magic system “It is your magic system, we don’t tell you must do it this way, it’s completely designed by you” Will you just shut the fuck up? Molyneux never fails at telling you what they’re not telling you to do in their games. You can do whatever you want! No, there’s a select amount of features you can do and certain combinations. It isn’t as cool as it sounds and it never will be. Molyneux does this EVERY SINGLE TIME. He makes it sound like there are infinite possibilities in all of the games when there is really a small amount and makes it out to sound HUGE.

Notice how I’m only mentioning Molyneux? It’s because he’s the only bad part about Lionhead Studios. If he was not involved, the games they put out would be MUCH better. Sure, we might not have the Fable series, but at least we’d have a series that didn’t promise so much and give so little every time.

This is I think the worst so far. Somehow we can control the horse even though we have no arms, and the same goes with the combat. In Fable: The Journey, you play as an amputee with telekinetic powers. This isn't Half-Life 2 from 7 years ago. They should be able to show hands now. This is Molyneux’s most pathetic attempt yet.

Molyneux, go fucking die already. No one likes you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Halo 4 announced. Please don’t tell me people are surprised.

I’m going to go right for the throat. Halo 4’s announcement did not surprise me in the slightest. Why? Because in Halo 3, you don’t “finish” the fucking fight! When I “finished the fight”, I wasn’t surprised that they didn’t give closure, and I knew that they would continue to milk Halo for all that it was worth. I didn’t, however, think they would make a game about an ODST, and a prequel that wasn’t based on the actual prequel The Fall of Reach. But for the sake of this article, I’ll rant about the end of Halo 3 for a bit.

Halo 3 did not give any fucking closure whatsoever, which is what Bungie promised they would give. What did they give us? Master Chief defeating the bad guys and then saying to Cortana, “Wake me if you need me.” When he uttered those words I said, “Oh yeah, here we go. Bungie’s going to milk this fucker dry.” Is that what you consider closure? If the end of Halo 3 is considered “closure”, then Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith had closure.

Now, I of course didn’t know when Halo 4 would be revealed, no one did. But I wasn’t surprised in the slightest when it did happen. I’m really glad it was announced, don’t get me wrong. I had just got sick of them making ODST and Reach. Who the fuck cares about some ODST? And no one cares about a shitty story about the fall of Reach which isn’t even based on the book The Fall of Reach. Okay, shitty isn’t the words I should be using. I enjoyed Reach, but it was the characters I didn’t care about. Why would I care about all the stereotypes that they use in every single over-the-top action movie? *Spoilers* The only characters I actually felt for were the big guy, Jorge, who dies so fucking heroically, and Noble-6 when you die at the end. That was some epic shit. *End spoilers* But, that all that aside, why didn’t they make Reach about the book (which was about Master Chief and the other Spartans) and not some random characters they made up that no one likes? Because they wanted to hold out on showing Master Chief in any games to better shock the shit out of us when they finally decided to release Halo 4.

It is no longer Bungie who is making Halo 4. I’m happy with this because since Halo 3 Bungie has turned into a money hungry piece of shit company that everyone hates (Microsoft is too but some people fail to realize it). The actual good people from Bungie have left and are working with 343 Industries (the studio that took over the Halo series after Reach launched) and are making Halo 4.

Now, it is said that Halo 4 is the start of a new trilogy but there was nothing more said on that topic. So, does that mean they will be churning out a Halo game ever year for 3 years, or will they work on them for longer and possibly have Halo 5 and/or Halo 6 actually come out on the new Xbox? I hope the latter, because I don’t feel like the Halo series turning in to the Call Of Duty series, which it is pretty close to now. They have never failed with the Halo games, they always take their time working on them and they obviously have with Halo 4. But just because Halo 4 was announced now doesn’t mean it has been in development for a while. Lots of people jump to that conclusion whenever a new game is announced. I bet 343 just started working on Halo 4 in the last year or so.

So will that make it quality or not? Are they going to be using the same shit as Reach or is it newer? If they really care and want to make tons more money in the long run, they will have updated the graphics and all that jazz for Halo 4. If they don’t and they just want quick cash, it’ll probably be the same engine as Reach and Halo 4 will be nothing special.

How to mount a virtual CD or "ISO" to a drive

You can do this if you have an IQ over 50.

ISO files are copies of of CD’s and DVD’s that people like to use if they don’t want to put an actual disc in their drive, whether it be for video games or movies. There are also BIN files which are basically the same and require the same steps to mount.

1. Download one of the many freeware programs for virtual mounting, Daemon Tools, PowerIso, MajicIso, etc.

2. Right-click on your program in the quick bar and scroll up until you see “Virtual Drives” or some, like PowerIso, already have the drives out and set up. There is by default 2 drives and 4 in others. I’m using PowerIso.

3. Click “mount image” and it will bring up a file window. Explore until you find your ISO and open it.

4. Congratulations, you have successfully mounted an ISO image.

Monday, June 6, 2011

How to make Super Awesome Hash Browns

I often ask myself, "Andy, how do you make such tasty, amazing, super-awesome hash browns? What's your secret?"

Well, Andy, I'll tell you! With a pinch of awesomeness, and a dash of super....ness, some pancake syrup, and some good spirit (haha), these hash browns can be made with almost no harm done to yourself and others!

1. Pre-heat frying pan on stove at medium. Spray Pam or other brand of covering in the pan. When heated enough, put 2 forks of butter in the pan and let melt.

2. Once melted, pour hash browns in pan and turn heat to low. Stir for a few minutes until browns are almost golden brown.

3. Put another fork of butter in the browns and stir. Then, pour pancake syrup in the browns (you can never pour too much in). I usually squeeze the syrup out for about 3 seconds. Use fake pancake syrup like Aunt Jemima, not real maple syrup. It just doesn't taste as awesome. Stir the browns.

4. When finished, pour onto plate. If you're like me, for extra flavoring put more syrup and butter in the browns and stir.

5. Enjoy your Super Awesome Hash Browns. For better enjoyment, serve with other breakfast foods.
Additional info:

-Cooking the syrup in the browns adds a little flavor to the browns themselves. This is if you don’t want them to be too sweet. I like lots of syrup, so I put a lot on afterwards.

-This actually tastes amazing.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Reviewing: Tangled (2010)

“Here comes the smolder.”

Tangled is a loose retelling of the old tale of Rapunzel and her extremely overlong golden hair (they changed the name to better attract boys as well as girls to the movie due to The Princess and the Frog not doing as well as they hoped. Typical). It boasts an extremely likeable cast, with Mandy Moore (A Walk to Remember) as the beautiful Rapunzel, Zachary Levi (NBC’s Chuck) as the suave Flynn Ryder, and Donna Murphy (The Fountain)  as Mother Gothel. This is a good movie for kids and adults alike, with lots of laughs, and great animation, it actually is fun for the whole family. No kidding.

Rapunzel (Moore), a young princess, is kidnapped at birth by an evil old woman named Gothel (Murphy) for the magical abilities her hair possesses. It can keep one young and can also stop people from dying as well as bring people back to life. She is taken to Gothel’s tower and raised as her daughter for her whole life and is never permitted to leave. 18 years later, a dashing rogue named Flynn Ryder (Levi) stumbles upon the tower and Rapunzel enlists his protection out in the wilderness.

Right after the opening prologue of the movie there is a musical scene which I did not expect. I did not hear tell this movie was a musical, when it’s not; there are only 3 or 4 musical scenes throughout. When the scene opened I was surprised, and then it sunk in and I said, “Oh, for fu- …wait, this isn’t that bad.” The musical scenes are done very well, and I was delighted that they didn’t make me want to rip my hair out and scream.  And even though they were good, I was glad that there wasn’t one every other scene. Disney really has to stop with the musical crap, hell, they shouldn’t have even started.

There’s a sort of slapstick humor with sharp dialogue as the shtick in this movie and it never fails. I thought it was pretty funny, there was even a scene that had me laughing really hard. There are 2 distinct characters in this movie, both that utter not one line of dialogue; one that is very funny and the other which has a few funny actions. The funnier is a horse named Maximus who acts like a dog. The other is a chameleon and has a few funny actions but for the most part is just a cutesy character to attract the kids more.

The animation has a realistic but cartoonish look to it; there’s a sort of realistic look to the characters but at the same time you think of it as cartoonish, like all other Disney movies. I’ve always loved that; you believe the characters to be normal human beings like the rest of us, but then you see one of them get smacked in the head with a frying pan 10 times and they DON’T die of blunt force trauma and internal bleeding. Now that, kids, is funny.

Its fault lies in that it follows the Disney formula. It’s easily predictable because we’ve seen it in every Disney made animated movie (Pixar doesn’t count). There are some sappy parts that made me roll my eyes in disgust, stuff that they don’t even have to put in the movie. But that happens in all of their movies so it didn’t turn me off from the movie. Kids probably wouldn’t be able to tell if it followed the same formula (not saying they wouldn’t, I could tell when I was a kid) so there will be no disappointments for them. For adults it’s more or less just ignoring it and enjoying the movie because it is a fun movie, there’s no denying that.
Tangled is a good kids movie that adults can enjoy too if they don’t take it too seriously. It has some great witty dialogue, catchy songs, and likeable characters. The story is solid but still follows the formulae of the Disney movie. But who cares? It’s funny.

Critique: 7/10

Personal enjoyment: 7/10

Reviewing: The Dilemma (2011)

“Ladies and gentlemen: electric cars… they’re totally gay.”

Ron Howard (Apollo 13, The Da Vinci Code) has directed a mess of a movie, starring the funny Vince Vaughn and Kevin James. It is unfair that this movie was advertised as a comedy because it really is not. You see Vince Vaughn and Kevin James and automatically think that it will be funny. Some people go as far as to say it is a dramedy, which is an equal blend of drama and comedy; calling it that genre would suit it if it actually was funny. I like to think of The Dilemma as a drama that has some comedic moments in it but for the most part is a very serious and emotional film, but alas, that is not what was intended. There is some very well done emotional scenes, which in itself is good, but doesn’t work in a comedy. People going into this expecting a good time will come out disappointed.

The movie centers on two best friends since college, Ronny Valentine (Vaughn) and Nick Brannen (James) who are partners in an automobile business. Vaughn is more kept together and cool whereas James is the type of person that gets nervous very easily and he has a stomach ulcer. They both put in good dramatic performances as well as comedic (when the rare funny scene comes around). Their wives are played by Jennifer Connelly (Vaughn’s wife) and Winona Ryder (James’ wife). Connelly puts in a good performance as usual, whereas Ryder is so-so much like most of her movies. Vaughn and James are on the verge of a huge business deal when Vaughn catches Ryder cheating on James with a younger man named Zip (Channing Tatum), who does play a good comedic role, if only the material he was given was funny. This is Vaughn’s dilemma: Should he tell James that his wife is cheating on him and risk James having a meltdown and possibly screwing up their business deal or does he wait until after the deal to tell him? Vaughn is leaned much more towards just telling him, but advice from others is to wait. I don’t know how this was expected to be a comedy on such an unfunny subject. 

Kevin James is barely in this movie, which is such a waste of talent. I honestly think if he were in it more than the movie might have had a chance. Vaughn is the “funny” man in this movie, but his unfunny antics shouldn’t be credited to him, but to the writer.  Slapstick is the shtick in this movie, along with some sharp dialogue delivered by the actors well, but just isn’t funny.

Queen Latifah plays a small comic relief role that might as well not be in the movie. It seems every once in a while after a serious scene, Latifah comes in and says some sexually suggestive “funny” lines, but just doesn’t work. Once again, Latifah is fine in this movie, but it is the work of the writers that make it unfunny. I’m trying to save the actor’s from criticism because they are not the fault of this movie at all, but when a comedy isn’t funny the first thing people attack is the actors.

There’s a pretty violent scene in this movie that is meant to be funny, dark humor if you will, but it just doesn’t work! Almost everything in this movie fails to deliver. I am one who loves dark humor; it’s possibly my favorite kind next to vulgar humor. It’s shot very well, but when the actors say their lines, some of the lines sound too serious and then the next one will be humorous. Those two combined make the scene fall flat, and me more disappointed.

One thing that I love about the progression of the movie that I noticed was that Ryder’s character looked very attractive, hair down and nice, makeup and the whole shebang. But after Vaughn catches her cheating on James, her look changes. For the rest of the movie, except when she is with Zip, her hair is up, it looks like she doesn’t have much makeup on, and she seems much more strung out.  It symbolized how you would see a person after finding out that they’ve done something bad. The movie portrayed her in Vaughn’s eyes after the incident. I admired that and I think it is a minor plus to the otherwise mediocre film.

The Dilemma is not a very funny movie, which is unfair to the actors because the performances in the movie were solid. As a comedy the movie falls flat but as a drama it is interesting enough to not fall asleep during, although not enough to want to watch it again.

Critique: 4/10

Personal enjoyment: 5.5/10

Reviewing: Taken (2008)

“I will find you. And I will kill you.”

Taken is a good movie, hands down. Luc Besson, who has directed such movies as the great Leon/The Professional and the bizarre but fun The Fifth Element has once again given us one hell of a ride. It stars Liam Neeson (Shindler’s List, The Phantom Menace), Famke Janssen (GoldenEye) and Maggie Grace (The Fog). Nowadays it is once in a blue moon that a great action flick comes around, with a somewhat believable script, great acting roles and non-stop thrills. Taken is one of them. This movie is on par with some of the greatsof the genre like Die Hard.

Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a recently retired spy who wants to get back on terms with his daughter Kim (Grace) after barely seeing her over his career. Famke Janssen plays Lenore, the mother and ex-wife of Bryan. Kim wants to go to Paris with a friend and Bryan is skeptical saying that she doesn’t know the world like he does. It’s dangerous. No big surprise, she is taken by slave traders and Bryan goes on a bloody mission of revenge to get his daughter back. And let the badassery begin.

The script of this movie is good. It has a sense of realism, and a kind of warning about how bad the world is out there. It has numerous plot holes and is of course it’s predictable, if you didn’t know what the movie was about before going in, you would know within the first 5 minutes because of Bryan’s skepticism about his daughter and friend going to Paris alone. But, just because it has those faults doesn’t mean the movie can’t be enjoyable. It is also very well shot. I remember first seeing the movie and was wowed by the cinematography and camerawork. That combined with solid writing makes the movie work like the classic action movie, where there is buildup before every action scene and it’s not just nonstop action. Taken lets the audience catch their breath for a few minutes with solid writing before diving back in for more kickass thrills.

The underground sex slave trade is a scary topic, and Besson portrays it just right. It is shocking enough to be scary that this could happen to someone, but it’s not extremely in depth enough that it would depress you and turn you off from the movie. There are scenes in the movie that are inside rundown whorehouses and even in the sophisticated areas where the leaders of the slave trade do their business deals. The fact that people are still auctioned off to be put in this horrible world is horrific, and this makes Bryan’s revenge oh so much sweeter. What better than to kill tons of sex slave traders? I found myself cheering more for the protagonist in this movie more than I had in a long while. When it is something as bad as human trafficking, blood is the only way justice can be served.

Taken is a good movie. It is enjoyable throughout; there is never a point in the movie where it gets boring. The movie slows down after each action scene, but the writing and acting is good enough to keep the audience from questioning some of its ridiculous premises. Neeson plays a badass hero, and audiences and critics alike thought so because he has been offered more leads in action movies. This is a damn good movie, and won’t fail to disappoint both action junkies and the opposite alike.
Critique: 7/10

Personal enjoyment: 8/10

Reviewing: Battle LA (2011)

“Maybe I can help… I’m a veterinarian.”

I am somewhat an action junkie, I love action movies. As long as the plot is at least a bit bearable and has great action sequences I can’t complain. I love watching ridiculously unrealistic scenes of explosions and guys taking on a hundred guys by himself, and everything else about action movies. Jonathan Liebesman’s Battle: LA, on the other hand, is an annoying, loud, crapfest.  It stars the talented Aaron Eckhart (Thank You For Smoking, The Dark Knight), Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar), Michael Pena (Crash), and Bridget Moynahan (I, Robot).  For the above actors mentioned, the acting is fine, especially in the case of Eckhart, who plays a great action hero. The rest of the actors fall short, giving mediocre and for the most part bad performances. The only thing that was enjoyable about this movie was the fun I had completely ripping it apart.

The film takes place over the first 24 hours of the invasion of aliens on earth. It centers on a squad of soldiers in Los Angeles who go into the field to find survivors and to make contact, if possible, with the alien invaders. They are told beforehand that they have a few hours to get back to HQ before bombs are dropped over the area, so they must get back before detonation. And so, the movie begins.

Eckhart plays the troubled SSgt. Michael Nantz stationed in L.A. The first 20 minutes of the movie is devoted to small introductions of Nantz, and the rest of his team mates. The writers try to make you feel for the characters but it is very hard to do that when every single one is a clich├ęd character type we’ve all seen a hundred times. You have the jittery young new kid, hickish white guy, stereotypical black guy, nerdy guy and so on. Audiences are expected to sympathize for every character in the movie but that is hard when the intro is rushed and the acting is mediocre.

The script itself is terrible. It consists of soldiers swearing and yelling and a few scenes in-between filled with corny and bad dialogue. I already knew going into the movie that it had an all American, flag-waving base to it. I mean come on, Los Angeles the last bastion of humanity?  So I was just expecting fun action. I tried accepting the movie for what it was, a mindless, action-packed ride, but the movie failed to even provide that. It’s mindless and action-packed, but not in the good way. The action sequences are bland, boring, and annoying altogether. The move had terrible camerawork and cinematography, one shot will be some guy screaming and the next few shots will be filled with ridiculous and incomprehensible action sequences. And the movie has okay special and visual effects. Judging from the cost of the film, the effects should have been spectacular.

The origin of the aliens is never known much like most invasion movies, which is fine. I like the alien invaders from god knows where scenario. Sadly, that is the only interesting thing about them. Costume design for the aliens is hilarious; their armour looks like it was plated with pieces of the mechanical shark from James and the Giant Peach and their equipment and ships look like pieces of scrap yard junk thrown together. These aliens have perfected space travel but can only make machinery that looks like something out of The Road Warrior. The guy who was in charge of design should never be allowed to work in the business ever again.

All in all, this movie was just plain bad. It was more predictable than a romantic comedy: I was guessing what was going to happen next and there were not too many times that I was wrong. There was nothing to like about it and the only good to come from it is hopefully many action movie deals for Eckhart. If you just want to see explosions even if they suck, then this movie is for you. Battle: LA is one of those movies that would be forgettable, but then you remember how bad it is. I would rather watch a Michael Bay movie than watch this again.

Critique: 3/10

Personal enjoyment: 3/10