Sunday, April 5, 2009

Battle: Los Angeles

Genre: Sci-Fi Action
Synopsis: Aliens take over Los Angeles. We try to take it back. I think.
About: This is being made into a movie to star Aaron Eckhart and directed by the guy who directed Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.
Writer: Chris Bertolini

The original Battle of Los Angeles took place in 1945 right here where I live, in Culver City, California (a suburb of Los Angeles). Remember, after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. was gripped by the fear that their distance would no longer protect them. It wasn't unlike 9/11 when we assumed that every plane we went up in was going to be hijacked (or at least I did). So the U.S. set up these gun stations to protect the major cities. Then one night, a strange object appeared in the sky. Huge sky lights pointed up at the air vehicle and the army blasted away at it with every bullet they could find. It was that night that this famous picture was taken.

(note: yes, Scriptshadow just went multimedia)

For those that care, I can see this very spot from my apartment right now!

Anyway, there are UFO pundits who use this picture as solid evidence that UFOs are real. Skeptics, however, point out that all the numerous lights do is distort the image, making it impossible to tell what it is. Although generals on the scene swore it was some sort of hovering craft, later on their statements changed, saying they weren't sure what it was. Some even theorized that it was a commercial airplane (of which nobody knew where it originated nor where it landed - plus it was somehow able to avoid the collective firepower of the United States army) Some even say it was nerves. Just us being so afraid something was going to happen, that we created the scenario out of fear. I just think it's cool that it happened a few blocks away from where I live.

The reason I bring this up is because it was this scenario - vaguely - that inspired Battle: Los Angeles, the script I was unfortunate enough to read last night.

Maybe it was because period pieces don't sell. Maybe it was because the studio was too lazy to do the research. But somewhere along the way they decided to base their film in the present. And this is how we got one of the worst action scripts I have ever read.

So the movie starts off kinda cool. Meteors shoot into the ocean a couple of miles off the coast of Los Angeles. Minutes later, beachgoers witness a strange alien like army oozing out of the water "first ten minutes of Saving Private Ryan"-style. These aliens are nasty, they're fast, and they kill on site. Within seconds they're shredding the suntanning populace to pieces and moving into the city of Santa Monica.

And then the movie proceeds to turn into total and complete SHIT. Santa Monica evacuates, leaving this army of 50,000 aliens to take over apartments, houses, Pinkberrys, and Jamba Juices (thankfully Tito's Tacos was spared). As night falls, someone in the army makes the decision to send 5 marines into the city to.........I have no fucking idea why. Look around? Check things out? Yes, because it makes total sense to send 5 marines into a city overtaken by 50,000 lightning fast superhuman strength flesh-ripping aliens. Makes total sense to me. Particularly since their mission is so clear. To like....go in....and check things out.

The marines head into the city: At night. I guess cause going in there at night gives them an advantage over the aliens.

After getting into a few battles with the aliens, they find a group of people left behind. Their mission now becomes to get *out* of the very city they were just told to go into (for no reason).

That's pretty much the movie right there. I'd tell you who the characters were but I forgot. They were so bland, so boring, that I instantly forgot who they were as soon as I finished the script.

I will not fault the writer for this mess. There is no way even the least talented writer in the world could've come up with something this bad. He had to be working with notes given to him by some clueless studio executive. This so wreaks of lack of imagination that it's the only way I can explain it.

This is going to be a real movie. No, I'm serious. Out of words.

[x] trash
[ ] barely kept my interest
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What i learned from Battle: Los Angeles: Nobody cares about your characters being in peril if we don't know anything about or like the characters. And that's this entire movie - is these marines in peril. Who cares? I don't know a single one of these guys. None of them have any problems. None of them have any goals. None of them have done anything to help me identify with them. Take those extra few pages at the beginning of your action script and introduce us to your main characters. All the better if you do it in an entertaining way. Please see "Aliens" as the best example of this. Terrible.