What is “Battle: Los Angeles?” The alien invasion movie’s first trailer, which debuted on iTunes in November, was a mysterious collection of slickly edited action set pieces. It featured jittery camerawork that evoked memories of “Black Hawk Down” and “The Hurt Locker,” fantastically executed sci-fi CGI comparable to “District 9” and the futuristic, mournfully desperate sound of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s “The Sun’s Gone Dim and the Sky’s Turned Black.” There was no dialogue, zero exposition and barely seconds of screen time for the film’s two leads, Aaron Eckhart (“The Dark Knight”) and Michelle Rodriguez (“Avatar”). Was the film going for something somber and serious? Or would it be overdramatic and unintentionally funny, like last year’s “Skyline?”

“Battle: Los Angeles”


The second trailer gives us a definitive answer, and it doesn’t involve a universally loathed, zero-star film. TV broadcasts fill us in on Earth’s condition. Eckhart and Rodriguez give line deliveries ripped from battlefield documentaries. And then we plunge right back into the explosive action of the first trailer — the intense, frantic urban warfare that put “Battle” on the map. Skyscrapers burn. Helicopters crash. Aliens die. Conceptually, it’s nothing new — films ranging from “War of the Worlds” to “Independence Day” have tackled the whole alien invasion thing time and time again. But judging by the trailer, the cinematography, the serious tone and the lack of foreseeable sci-fi MacGuffins all put this film a notch above the rest of the pack. Points off though, for recycling the same Jóhannsson song at the end of the trailer.

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