A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this violent alien invasion film is more or less a war movie in disguise, with constant fighting and shooting, explosions, death, and blood. Between the violence and the strong language (including "f--k" and many uses of "s--t"), it pushes as far as it can get with its PG-13 rating. All of that said, although the movie isn't very good, some of the characters do behave admirably and could be considered positive role models who work well together.
What's the story?
In August 2011, meteors begin approaching the Earth; they turn out to be alien invaders bent on colonizing our planet. The military underestimates the threat, and soon everything comes down to one band of scrappy young Marines. Troubled veteran Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) winds up in charge, despite rumors that he once let several of his men die in battle. Making their way through the ruined concrete jungles of the bombed-out city, Nantz and his warriors pick up a few stranded, brave civilians and slowly begin to discover their attackers' secrets. But can they put their knowledge to good use before it's too late?
Is it any good?
Director Jonathan Liebesman unhesitatingly leaps into the fray with his camera twitching and lurching, capturing more flying metal and concrete dust than actual characters or aliens. But even though he chooses, disappointingly, not to linger on the invading creatures, BATTLE: LOS ANGELES is not a subtle movie. It's 100% devoted to rampant destruction.
It's possible to actually recognize some of the actors -- Eckhart, Michael Pena, Bridget Moynahan, etc. -- through the haze and the Marine uniforms and helmets, but none of them has anything much to say; sometimes it's hard to hear anything above the noise, and sometimes the music blares at the top of everything. There's hardly a breather or a moment to connect with anyone. Once upon a time, alien invasion movies were about ideas. They usually managed to tell us something about what it means to be human. Battle: Los Angeles only shows what it's like to waste everyone's time and money.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's extreme violence, fighting, and death. Is it necessary to the story? Does it send any particular message?
Is the movie scary? Would it have been scarier or less scary if it had shown more of the aliens?
What's the appeal of alien invasion movies? Do they play on any real-life fears?
- In theaters: March 11, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: June 14, 2011
- Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Bridget Moynahan, Michelle Rodriguez
- Director: Jonathan Liebesman
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Run time: 116 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sustained and intense sequences of war violence and destruction, and for language
For kids who love sci-fi
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.