The other day, I picked up the DVD of Battle Los Angeles.
I thought it was going to be about a space alien invasion, like Independence Day. I found out fairly early into the movie that it was actually about a U.S. Marine unit stationed near Los Angeles at the time of a global space alien invasion.
In other words, it’s a war movie with space aliens as the ‘invading army’.
I don’t normally watch war movies. I generally find them stupid and icky. There have been exceptions. Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Glory, Die Brücke (The Bridge) … to name some off the top of my head. This one, however, kinda got me hooked.
It’s not that it’s a fantastic movie. It’s probably not. But for some reason, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The way the Marines (and one woman [Air Force]) try to fight and ‘win’ their little piece of the battle had me mesmerized. I couldn’t imagine myself in that situation. I’d probably hide under a desk, frozen with fear, screaming my head off.
I’ve never been in a war. I’ve never had my town occupied by another country’s army. My parents and grandparents went through it. They had to watch, powerless and defenceless, as Nazis took over their village. They had to hide in the fields and bushes while Allied bombers were blasting the hell out of everything, while the German army was pulling out and blasting the hell out of everything, and while partisans, fascists, socialists, communists and Lord knows who else were fighting each other and blasting the hell out of everything.
And then I thought of the girls I know who have boyfriends fighting in Afghanistan. What must they be going through? How do they function day-to-day? Going to bed every night, waking up every morning, not knowing if their boys are OK, if they’re hurt… if they’re dead. And what about the moms?? Those are their babies out there. Their toddlers. Their kindergarten graduates. Their first graders with the goofy smiles and the front tooth missing in school pictures.
War is stupid and icky. And yeah, I know… you gotta do it sometimes. That’s just the way it goes. But it is so much stupider and ickier for the people who have to fight.
What’s the old saying? Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn’t actually have to go out and do it himself.
These Marines and that one Air Force woman went out and did it. Because it is what they signed up for. It is what their country demanded of them and what they demanded of themselves.
Battle Los Angeles made me want to kick Dick Cheney in the nuts.
 AMAZING movie. Saw it when I was a little kid. FANTASTIC!!