World Invasion: Battle Snore-Fest (2011)
I’m taking a short break from revolution movies to express outrage at Hollywood’s affinity for senseless alien invasion flicks.
For a ridiculously young civilization that, till a few centuries ago thought that constellations were centaurs frolicking in the heavens, and that you would topple off the edge of the world if you sailed in a straight line, we’re awfully full of ourselves. An alien army just travelled untold distances, has perfected water fuel-based technology, entered our atmosphere completely undetected and targeted and levelled most of our major cities, and we still have the audacity to say, “Let’s show those alien scumbags not to mess with us!”
Fortunately for our hubris, Hollywood aliens don’t believe in bulletproof vests or doing any reconnaissance before attacking.
World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles was predictably, a rehash of what ID4 already did, and did so much better. What really surprises me is that, despite a few thousand websites dedicated to pointing out exactly what is wrong with the traditional planet-being-invaded-by-weird-bio-armour-wearing-aliens-with-tentacles-and-they-don’t-want-to-negotiate-okay-enough-talking-let’s-open-up-a-can-of-whoop-ass plot line and a number of small ways movie makers could actually create a credible alien invasion story, the makers of this movie chose to ignore this body of literature entirely, and went with the favourite excuse of, “Hey, this is an action movie! We don’t need to have a sensible plot or even obey the rules we just created. Just watch the guns and explosions and be happy!” No, Hollywood. No.
The movie opens with the clichéd TV news story about suspicious meteor showers across the globe, where these meteors seem to be falling into oceans near large cities (Boo-YAH, Mumbai. How do you feel about your great sea breeze now?). We learn that the meteors contain aliens who are in no mood for conversation and want to quickly start destroying our cities and people. These aliens have entirely water-based technology and since 70% of our planet’s surface is covered in water, they want our planet and want us dead. A brave band of US Marines (oo-rah!) must venture into the battle zone to go and rescue some civilians (1 pretty woman, 1 precocious boy, 2 screaming children) before the area gets carpet bombed by our side and in the process, they learn valuable lessons about love, friendship, patriotism, etc.
Needless to say, our brave band has all the favourite trope characters: Young Inexperienced Lieutenant, Tough War-Weary Staff Sergeant and a motley crew of Big Talker, Strong Silent Martyr, Male Chauvinist, Sexy Gun-Toting Female, Bro from Da Hood and Young Innocent Boy. True, there was surprisingly little “America Rulez!” and our badass marines looked less like Full Metal Jacket and more like a pleasant university brochure with a healthy representation by ethnic communities and one Canadian. But before you get the wrong idea, let’s be clear about this: no amount of political correctness could save this rubbish movie.
The most obvious questions one must ask these aliens are:
(a) Really, aliens? Is water so rare in the universe that you must expend (what is probably) the last of your fuel on a wild expedition to an inhabited planet, where the natives have nuclear technology, AGAINST WHICH YOU HAVE NO DEFENCE? Why couldn’t you just go to one of the moons of Jupiter, dig out the ice and leisurely take it back home?
(b) Even assuming that you had absolutely made up your mind to come to Earth and take our water, how about some research? You were aware that we weren’t those pathetic Pandoran natives with bows and arrows, right? You were aware that we had grenades and bazookas, right? It wasn’t like we were trying to keep it a secret or anything. We’ve been blaring TV signals into space for decades now. If I were you, I’d have become somewhat concerned after watching Tony Montana’s cocaine fueled rampage with his “little friend”.
(c) If you knew we had guns, why did you decide to walk in wearing armour that only protects you from feathers and bunnies? On that note, since your Achilles heel is the right side of your chest, why not have some extra armour there?
(d) You have ONE freaking “command centre” which is the brain of your entire operation for an area and you choose to stick it in a highly conspicuous place and you couldn’t even be bothered to slap on a half-decent force field? You deserve to lose.
(e) How exactly were you planning to carry all the water back to your home planet? Or was this the most ill-advised illegal immigration plan in history?
(f) Have you not heard of the prevalent theory that it is logical that any alien species that makes contact with humans will be benevolent? For a species to have mastered space travel and travel across unimaginable distances is no mean feat. It would suggest that the species is far, far, far older than us and is so technologically superior to us, that fighting them would be like a child threatening a mail-clad knight with a bow of string and green willow. They could gain nothing from humankind, and therefore begs the question: aliens, why so hostile?
However, since these are bullshit aliens that are a cheap ripoff of ID4 aliens, none of these questions can or will be answered. If you thought these supernova sized plot holes might give you a headache, I assure you that your head will be pounding long before. I don’t know who was responsible for it, but shaky cam is Officially A Thing. Even when the plot doesn’t require it to be an amateur video (like The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield). Nobody in this movie was filming a documentary, and yet they had to insist on using it.
The one solace was that this wasn’t another movie set in Manhattan, and we didn’t have to sit through the Statue of Liberty being destroyed again. Could this mean that Hollywood has finally woken up to how silly this sequence is, and how only one movie ever managed to pull it off?
Needless to say, once all the token characters are killed off, Marine-banter (oo-rah!) has been exchanged and the alien Macguffin has been smashed, the earthlings live on happily ever after… wait a second, how do we know this was their entire force? What if this was only their vanguard, which managed to destroy all our major cities (and based on the Los Angeles battle experience, most of the air force too)? So, is the sequel going to be titled, “World Invasion 2: Building a Pipeline Across the Galaxy for Our Alien Overlords”?