"I'm not even supposed to be here today."
Oh my god. The badness of this movie is at a level unmatched by anything I have seen in a long time.
I really like science fiction movies. A lot. I take great issue with this movie touting itself as a science fiction film. Let there be no mistake: this is a war movie. And it's not even a good war movie. The script is horrible. The action is realistic in a way that makes you uneasy watching it, but also in a way that you don't really care about what is happening. The fact that it's "aliens" that they are fighting is not even secondary to the plot, it's THIRDiary.
Any movie that starts with audio of various news reports cutting in and out with footage of ground troops and news stations is already losing me. THIS HAS BEEN DONE TO DEATH. STOP DOING THESE MONTAGES.
Then we get about 160 seconds in the lives of each member of this rag-tag crew of stereotypical soldiers. WHY DO THEY KEEP MAKING MOVIES WITH THESE PLAYED OUT CHARACTERS. UGH. And guess what? WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW IS THAT THEY WILL ALL HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER TODAY.
Aaron Eckhart just got his retirement papers signed. He's out of here, you guys. WAIT WE ACTUALLY NEED ONE MORE THING FROM YOU OKAY. WE NEED YOU TO DEAL WITH THIS ATTACK ON LOS ANGELES BY AN UNKNOWN ENEMY. PLEASE?!?!?!? We'll even put this nervous guy who's wife is pregnant in charge of the unit so that you can just follow orders even though you are of a higher rank than he is and have experience in leading troops in real combat oh sorry we didn't mean to bring up that time that you got most of your unit killed in actual combat against other human beings I'LL BET DEALING WITH THESE DEMONS WON'T END UP BEING CENTRAL TO THIS PLOT WHICH IS ALLEGEDLY ABOUT ALIENS UUUUUUUUUGH.
If this were real life, I'm pretty sure that the military would not be like, "Okay, here's the deal. We're going to blow up The Valley in three hours, so we're sending 30 of you guys to canvas around the ground and rescue THE FIVE PEOPLE that are holed up in the abandoned police station. Got it?" I mean. I don't pretend to know what our military does on a daily basis. But. IT'S LOS ANGELES. JUST LET IT BURN. NO1CURR.
Obligatory abandoned child.
So this unit goes and canvases, and they discover that it's actually aliens that are attacking them. They're more like robots with organs. I mean. Why does everyone feel like they need to recreate the idea of what an alien would look like, and now every reimagination is something that is pretty much a machine? BOTHERED.
Pull back that shot and, HEY! IT'S MICHAEL PENA YOU GUYS!!!!
They eventually find the five people they're supposed to protect, and now they need to get their asses to the safe zone before the bombs start dropping. There is lots of gun battle and explosions. Some dudes get killed. I don't even care when they discover that the "aliens" derive their powers from water (WHAT?) and they discover their command center. I. Don't. Even. Care. When. They. Discover. This.
"I'm a veterinarian you guys! I know things about animals! Which maybe is not so helpful but I'm gonna put it out there anyway."
Also? Michelle Rodriguez is in this movie. I mean. Is she just in every woman cop/soldier/fighter role ever now or...
In the end, it is even nearly irrelevant that they figure out how to stop the "aliens", because the bigger message is NEVER STOP FIGHTING FOR YOUR COUNTRY YOU GUYS. NEVER. STOP. FIGHTING.
Let me die.
Number of Stereotypical War Movie Characters: At least 9 (soldier about to retire who then gets pulled back in for ONE MORE JOB, nervous leader of unit with a pregnant wife, young kid who just entered the Marines and is scared shitless, soldier suffering from PTSD who ends up a hero, sassy Latino buddy soldier, older young soldier who is about to get married IN TWO WEEKS, foreign soldier who came to America to be a doctor but is now a medic instead, asshole soldier who thinks he's Eminem and is in the Marines because he likes shooting things, Michelle Rodriguez)
Number of Overused Plot Devices: At least 5 (veteran soldier gets dragged in for ONE MORE JOB and it's THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB OF HIS LIFE, soldier needs to overcome his fears to SAVE HIS UNIT, soldier needs to overcome his self-inflicted sense of inadequacy to SAVE HIS UNIT, soldier needs to confront his demons from having led his former unit into peril to SAVE HIS UNIT, oh, and also, the way to defeat the aliens is to blow up their command center, but that really has nothing to do with anything because it's not about SAVING THE UNIT)
Number of times the husband and I asked each other if we wanted to stop the movie: 4
Most Obvious Statement Made In Regards To The Aliens: "I have never seen anything like this."
Redemption: Michael Pena!!!!!!!!!
Final Assessment: I HATE.
Oh...I get it now.
I also discovered that there was A VIDEO GAME TIE-IN TO THIS MOVIE. Which pretty much explains everything. The director wanted to make a war movie. The studio wanted an "alien" movie that they could market additional shit with. If you want aliens, you're going to have to play the game I guess. I continue to hate.