The official synopsis for Battleship states that the movie is: “Based on the classic Hasbro naval combat game…” It then goes on to state: “Battleship is the story of an international fleet of ships who come across an alien armada…” What?!? Erm… I don’t recall that aspect to the game.
Earth has been sending signals out into deep space with the hope of communicating with planets in other galaxies that may share a similar proximity to the sun, and mass, water and oxygen properties. These planets are called ‘Goldilocks planets’, named by Stephen Hawking. That’s explained in the first 5 minutes of the movie, it’s also the last time in the 2+ hours duration that bears any relationship to realism.
Aliens from a distant galaxy, home in on the signal and speed to earth, crash landing in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii, where fortunately for mankind, the US Navy are on manoeuvres. Our hero is Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), ‘loose-cannon’ younger brother to the grounded Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgard). Alex is in love with Samantha (Brooklyn Decker), who happens to be the daughter of Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson). Not that any of that back-story, character development stuff means anything, these guys are going to kick some alien-ass. Rihanna is there to help too…
Directed by Peter Berg (Very Bad Things, Friday Night Lights… erm Hancock), Battleship is the latest entry into the Transformers, Armageddon, Battle LA and Independence Day styled blockbuster genre. Battleship is the best advertisement for the US Navy since Top Gun, although it substitutes the homo-erotic volleyball game for a soccer match.
I’m still unsure if Berg has delivered an incredibly accurate satire of the aforementioned movies, or just another massively dumb popcorn movie for the US Summer. The script is incredibly clichéd, filled with inane dialogue that the cast try to deliver straight-faced. However to be fair, the cast aren’t exactly thespians… Taylor Kitsch is better than he was in John Carter, not that difficult; Liam Neeson sleepwalks through his role, doing just enough to pick up his paycheck; Rihanna and Decker look great, however they are all out-acted by the CGI aliens.
The effects are spectacular, and so they should be on an alleged $200m budget, that’s where the money has gone. The design of the aliens, their ships and props, are impressive, more of the aliens would have been welcome. The massive combat sequences are suitably huge and LOUD, however they become increasingly repetitive as the 2 hour duration rolls around.
For all my cynicism, this was a guilty pleasure. Berg manages to keep the movie moving along and it is fun, although not as much fun as immediately afterwards when the group I was with tore through all the plot-holes and aforementioned problems. Points must go to the creative team for managing to shoe-horn in a sequence which almost replicates the Battleship grid-style board game as the Navy target the alien ships. Oh, and not once did anyone say “You’ve sunk my Battleship!”
Quality: 3 Stars (for the quality of the effects)
Any Good: 1 Stars