by Tony Medley
OK for children.
Now this is a
movie! After suffering through The Avengers, I had despaired the
future of the aliens-invade-earth genre. It seemed as if story and
character development had been sacrificed for special effects. Not so
Hasbro's video game of the same name, from a very good script by Jon
Hoeber & Erich Hoeber, Peter Berg directs Taylor Kitsch, who plays a
ne'er do well naval Lieutenant, Alex Hopper, who is assigned to the USS
John Paul Jones as a junior officer which is participating in some war
games. Alas, an experiment headed by Cal Zapata (Hamish Linklater), a
scientist who mans the international satellite station in Hawaii that
searches the skies for signs of life to contact an earth-like planet,
goes awry when earth is suddenly attacked and all hell breaks lose.
Avengers, this is a no-holds-barred fight to the finish against
enormous odds. Also unlike Avengers, this is relatively
believable. It contains real people as characters, involved in real
emotions. Alex is in love with Sam Shane (Brooklyn Decker) who is the
daughter of the Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Shane (Liam
Neeson). They all get caught up in this cataclysmic battle.
effects are the best I've ever seen. The only downside is that the film
falls into Hollywood's pit in portraying civilizations far more advanced
than we as ugly monsters. One would think that with Star Wars as
the model, aliens could be portrayed as brilliant foes, not machine-clad
automatons. But these guys look like refugees built from discarded auto
aspect is when the film flashes to Obama making a speech about the
battle. Most films have fictional Presidents when telling their
fictional stories. Given the strong negative feelings this President
inspires in many people, Universal would have been better advised to
keep this non-political. Lots of people won't like having to be reminded
that Obama is the President in a movie that they are watching to escape
what's going on in the country. But, then, again, one must remember that
this is an NBC/Universal film and one need not view Matt Lauer or Brian
Williams very often to know NBC's political bias. Counterbalancing that
is that the film shows the Navy in a terrific light.
But those are
very minor criticisms (which is, after all, why I get the big bucks to
write this stuff). This is a terrific movie, the kind everyone can see,
even children. The tension mounts as the movie progresses and Berg keeps
the pace boiling. The brilliance of it is that preposterous as it is,
it's believable enough that one can empathize with the humans battling
these aliens, which is another thing that sets it apart from The
part of the film is the appearance of U.S. Army Colonel Gregory D.
Gadson, a battalion leader who lost both legs in Iraq in 2007, in his
professional acting debut playing Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales, an
Army combat veteran and double amputee who begins his recovery just as
the alien attack begins. He acquits himself admirably.