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Given that virtually nobody in Hall H knew this morning what Battle: Los Angeles even was, Sony showed off a surprising amount of footage in what amounted to an extended trailer before the panel. The emphasis was on battle footage, following the platoon of Marines who are dispatched to fight the alien hordes who are taking over Los Angeles, and star Aaron Eckhart actually surprisingly little play. I'd argue they showed even more of the aliens than Eckhart, and given that they seem to be keeping the design of the aliens somewhat secret, that's more than a little odd.

While the footage they showed off was impressive-- lots of firefights, explosions, and alien machinery that looks fairly advanced-- the footage went light on the story merely establishing that this particular bunch of Marines is responsible for rescuing a bunch of civilians from a police station and getting out of there before the military carpet bombs the city in order to save it. No characters save one are given names, and though you realize this is a bunch of Marines who know each other well, there's no sense of camaraderie or what the stakes of this mission might be. No, Battle: Los Angeles is not a character-based film, but we need to have some reason to invest in it, especially since it's not an existing property or a sequel-- a real rarity for Hall H.

Battle: Los Angeles comes out on March 11 next year, and if it turns out well, it'll be a perfect kind of down and dirty, quick and simple war movie with the added benefit of aliens. But what they showed in Hall H today seemed to be aiming for something grander, emphasizing all the sweeping shots of Los Angeles on fire and giant explosions instead of the familiar elements of the war movie that inspired the film to begin with. Everything they showed looked great, but it also seemed a lot more generic than what I'm hoping for from this movie.

Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez, along with director Jonathan Liebesman and producer Neal Moritz, were all on hand for the panel discussion, where they talked about the military training the cast went through, the goal of making the combat scenes seem like video games Modern Warfare and Halo, and how real-life past extraterrestrial events inspired the mythology of the story. I'm glad they emphasized the war movie elements, since that seems like this movie's hook, but I'm afraid the Hall H crowd has come away thinking this is a generic alien action movie and nothing more.

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