The Movie Waffler Interview - THE BATTALION Director Michael Miller | The Movie Waffler

Interview - THE BATTALION Director Michael Miller

the battalion movie
We chat with the director of sci-fi actioner The Battalion.

They Came from another World. Time to Send them Back.

This January, get behind enemy lines with writer-director Michael Miller's sci-fi actioner Battalion on VOD from 1/9.

Pacific Rim meets Independence Day in writer-director Michael Miller’s special effects thrill ride filmed in Queensland, Australia.

When a devastating attack on Los Angeles by an army of machines from a parallel universe sparks a massive world war, Californian surfer John Blake joins up with the US Marines to head across the Pacific to join the fight against the machines.

Jesse Richardson (Riot Girl), Ellen Williams (Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead), and Michael Thomson (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) star in Battalion, from High Octane Pictures, available on Digital from January 9th.

In a few words, what’s the film about?

It’s a modern day war movie with an alien invasion. It really asks, if aliens really did invade, what would it be like? How would we fight them? It’s about real soldiers going into battle against a real enemy, who happens to be from another world.

What initially appealed to you about it?

I love old war movies, and I’ve always wanted to make one. But I also love sci-fi, so for me this is the perfect genre mashup. Also we have some great natural landscapes in Australia, so being able to capture some of that was a big bonus.

Would you compare the storyline to anything we’ve seen in earlier films? Anything you can say is an intentional homage? 

There are nods to a lot of war films in there. Full Metal Jacket, Platoon and Apocalypse Now are probably the biggest influences. In fact the story is almost a mashup of those three movies, from going through boot camp, the intensity and hardship of battle, the journey into the heart of darkness at the end. That all looms large in this film.

Do you write with a budget in mind?

Definitely. The budget really influenced a lot of the focus on telling the story of how the characters got to where they are, which fortunately I think made the film stronger. With a bigger budget we probably would have had more fighting and explosions. Not that I’m against having more fighting and explosions, but I like how it turned out.

Besides what it’ll do for your career, are there any standouts involved in the film that you believe will see a real career boost from being involved in it? 

This film presented a real learning curve for visual effects, taught me a lot about what to do and what not to do, what we can do better next time around. That’s a big boost for me as visual effects is kind of a niche thing in low to medium budget films, and if you can get it right it really helps you stand out from other films.

Have doors opened for you as a result of it?

Yeah definitely. This is my first film that’s actually gone out for a proper release, so it’s a big step up.

Has it all gone according to plan for you? Anything you’ll do differently next time around?

It all went mostly according to plan, though the big lesson has been how to plan better, where and when to focus our resources. We did a lot of things later in the process that we could have gotten moving much earlier, especially with the visual effects, and also the sound design. So being more efficient with our time is probably the main thing we’ll improve on next time.

What’s ahead for you? 

More sci-fi. Always more sci-fi. The next movie is already underway, and I can’t say too much about it other than it’s big, about 300 feet tall and has a lot of attitude. Or is it altitude? Maybe both.

Insert the blank. If you loved… you’ll love my movie. 

Dunkirk? Or Fury. Any good war film really.

Batallion is now on VOD.