The action-packed military meets invading aliens film “Battle: Los Angeles” was just what moviegoers Doug and Paige Hall were hoping for.
The Zachary couple made the 11 a.m. showing of the film Friday and were full of praise for the movie shot mostly in Baton Rouge and Shreveport.
“If you love action and have a love of the Marines, it’s a must-see,” said Doug Hall, 45.
His wife, 44, explained they have a son who is a Marine. Although it’s not normally the type of movie she goes to see, “it was very good,” she said. “It was a lot of action.”
Derrick Poirrier, 23, of New Roads, had two words, “Absolutely awesome.”
Donny Cagle, 41, of Gonzales, agreed.
“A lot of action. It had very few slow moments,” he said. He described the movie as a cross between the movies “Black Hawk Down” and “Independence Day.”
“It meets all expectation as far as that genre goes,” Cagle said. “It’s full of eye candy, special effects eye candy,” he said.
In fact, it was so fast-paced that it was hard to tell which parts were shot in Baton Rouge, Cagle said.
Production crews fanned out during the filming to neighborhoods as iconic as Spanish Town and tucked away as the Bet-R Supermarket. The Baton Rouge Metro Airport stood in as the Santa Monica Municipal Airport, while Spanish Town was used to depict Venice, a historic Los Angeles beach community known for its tropical foliage, canals and eccentric neighbors.
Others were more reserved about their praise.
Curtis Tatney, 37, of Baton Rouge, said although the movie has been compared to the movie “Independence Day,” it wasn’t as good.
“I think it could have been a little better,” he said. Instead, this movie seemed like more of a recruitment movie for the Marines, he said.
“As far as an overall movie, I’d give it a C,” Tatney said.
Peter Tulliler, 63, of Prairieville, liked the movie but had a couple of critiques.
“I’m a closet astrophysicist by hobby so I took some exception with the ship design,” he said, referring to the alien spaceship in the movie.
He also had some problems with the up-close filming style and some of the story line, but overall said he enjoyed the movie.
Most of the filming for “Battle: Los Angeles” was done at the Celtic Media Centre, a sprawling 23-acre campus near the intersection of Airline Highway and Interstate 12. Celtic is the largest studio facility in Louisiana.
“Without question Battle: Los Angeles put the Celtic Media Centre and Baton Rouge on the map,” said Patrick Mulhearn, who manages Celtic for Raleigh Studios. “It was our first major studio feature, and it was the largest-budgeted major studio feature to have based out of Baton Rouge since ‘All the King’s Men.’ ”
With a budget of some $60 million, “Battle: Los Angeles” spent about $46 million in the state, according to officials with Louisiana Entertainment, the division of the Louisiana Department of Economic Development charged with managing the state’s film incentive program.
Roughly 85 percent of the movie was shot in Baton Rouge, with another 15 percent shot in Shreveport, said Amy Mitchell-Smith, executive director of the Baton Rouge Film Commission. Post-production work was handled in Los Angeles. The Louisiana location crew size was estimated to be roughly 450, she added.
Officials say the state’s lucrative film credits are still largely the reason movie projects come to Louisiana, which offers a 35 percent tax credit with no maximum. Movie budgets must be at least $300,000 to participate. But that’s not the only reason film studios are drawn to what is known as — at least in these parts — “the other LA.”
“We offer a very proven tax credit system,” said Chris Stelly, director of film industry development at Louisiana Entertainment. “But at the same time they come here knowing that they’re going to get a great quality crew and a mature infrastructure.”
Last year was a record year for the state’s film industry, with more than 100 film or television projects wrapping in Louisiana, with combined total budgets exceeding $1.4 billion, according to the Louisiana Industry for Film and Entertainment, an association charged with promoting the Louisiana film industry.
Officials expect 2011 to be another good year for Louisiana-based film projects.
“I think that our numbers certainly speak for themselves,” Stelly said. “And we have probably 20 projects here right now.”