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Battleship (2012)

DVD Cover (Universal)
Genres / Traits:
Alien Film, Sci-Fi Action, Science Fiction, War Adventure, Toys
Director:
Peter Berg Peter Berg
Starring:
Taylor Kitsch Taylor Kitsch
Alexander Skarsgård Alexander Skarsgård
Rihanna Rihanna
Brooklyn Decker Brooklyn Decker
Tadanobu Asano Tadanobu Asano

5.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: June 10, 2012
So let's just get this out of the way: yes, this is based on a turn-based naval board game, and the filmmakers turned it into an alien warfare movie. Yes, it's a really fucking stupid idea. Still, my plan was to shelve all that nonsense, turn my brain off, and enjoy a few hours of mindless explosions and Brooklyn Decker's rack. Trouble is, it still doesn't measure up.

People have been searching for aliens ever since the beginning of modern astronomy. A while back, NASA discovered a planet in another solar system remarkably similar to Earth, so they set up a series of satellites to beam a message directly to the planet. Meanwhile, the Hopper brothers aren't exactly seeing eye to eye. Essentially, Navy golden boy Stone is disgusted with his shiftless younger brother, Alex. He's finally had enough when Alex breaks into a convenience store to impress a girl at the bar. Said girl just so happens to be Stone's commanding officer's daughter, so he decides that baby brother is enlisting in order to straighten him out. Seven years later, and Alex has moved pretty high in the Naval ranks, although his explosive temper and rash judgement has kept him from truly excelling, not to mention repeatedly put him in hot water with his CO. Speaking of, his antics at the bar worked beautifully, and he's been dating the girl since. Anyway, the two brothers are participating in the annual Naval games in Hawaii, with navies from countries across the world. Meanwhile, that beam sent to another planet has found a listening ear. A small group of alien warships are hightailing it to Earth; they settle right off the Hawaiian coast, and set up a force field dome encasing the entire state. Unfortunately, the combined might of the world's navies are trapped just outside the barrier, except that is for a small fleet of destroyers helmed by the Hoppers. Get ready for some explosions.

I shouldn't have to explain the original game, but considering there's a whole group of youngings who had no idea Titanic was an actual boat, let's do this. Each player has a ten by ten grid to arrange their fleet on. Said fleet is five ships of various sizes, and the arrangements are hidden from your opponent. Players then take turns firing into random spots, trying to find and destroy the enemy fleet, marking hits and misses with red and white pegs respectively. Perhaps now it's apparent where all the "Aliens? Really?" criticisms are coming from. Still, there's a few throwbacks to its source sprinkled throughout the film. The battle where our heroes are firing blindly into grid coordinates was a little too obvious (it reminded me of the first-person scene from Doom), but I really liked the idea of having the alien's ammunition consisting of explosive pegs that punch into the ships' hulls. A very nice subtle move there. Above all else though, I'm just happy they didn't break out an over-dramatic "YOU SANK MY BATTLESHIP" as some revenge-fueled turning point.

You know, I can just sum up the entire problem with this flick in two words: Michael Bay. Don't get it twisted, he had zero involvement with the movie, but everybody knows exactly what I'm talking about. EXPLOSION! Paper-thin plot, EXPLOSION! one-dimensional characters, EXPLOSION! and a whole lot of nothing just to bring us to the next EXPLOSION! The entire affair was about as predictable as you can get, EXPLOSION! and you could see entire scenes coming in advance. Except the plot holes of course; how some of those made it through the final cut is mind boggling. EXPLOSION! Also, I don't get why film makers can't get it through their skulls that special effects don't make a movie, they enhance it, but you actually have to give it something of substance to enhance. EXPLOSION!

Taylor Kitsch is the star of our show in Hopper's shoes. Like the rest of the film, he's running at a solid meh. Maybe he wasn't horrible, but he's not exactly going to be bringing in any Oscars neither. Alexander Skarsgård is well known from his role in True Blood, and he's consistently one of the stronger actors on the show, but he's certainly lacking here. With that said, the horrible writing might be a big part of his problem; damn, did he have some stinkers to spit out. Brooklyn Decker is wasted, and by that I mean she has way too much wardrobe throughout the running time. She mostly spends her time running around the mountains with real life Army veteran Gregory D. Gadson. While there's no taking away what the man went through in service of our country, maybe a career in front of the camera isn't for him. Same with Rihanna, she needs to stick with the musical side of entertainment. Not that she was terrible, she pulled a secondary sassy, black chick role off decently, but I'd never want to see her in a leading position. In her defense, I think she's aware of this, and made sure she had a smaller role. As for Neeson...well, I've seen Taken. I can only imagine what he's done to his agent for this one.

OK, the board game thing is kind of just a trivia note. First of all, it worked with Clue, and let's be real, the whole Battleship thing was more of a marketing ploy than actual source material. The movie is horrible no doubt, but the board game thing wasn't the reason. 3/10, and bonus points to me for not calling the movie "A Miss," "Battleshit," or some variation of "it sunk."
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