My granddad passed away when I was just eight-years-old, but I still have a couple vivid memories of him. One of those is a collection of the many occasions when we’d play Battleship together. I’m sure it was the same way for my siblings and the rest of our cousins, but when he and I played Battleship together, I was the only thing that mattered to him. Having passed away over 23 years ago, I’m sure he’d be embarrassed by this awful big-screen adaptation of that game that we all held so dear.
I’m a fan of director Peter Berg, but what in the world was he thinking when he sign on to direct this atrocious screenplay? After the success of the Transformers franchise, Hasbro is doing everything they can to turn all of their games into feature length blockbusters. So, how do they do it with a simple game of blindly firing missiles at enemy ships? Well, by adding aliens – of course! They basically turn it into a Transformers-esque action movie that steals elements from just about every invasion/disaster movie out there. If Battleship emulates one thing, it’s the same tone and vibe of every Michael Bay ever movie. Characterization is quirky, corny and highly unbelievable. From beginning to end, whether the scene calls for it or not, Battleship is incessantly loud and noisy. The special effects are good, but watching CG explosions is only fun for so long. The action is so overplayed and repetitious that it’s disengaging, leaving you blankly staring at the screen and never once feeling tension.
The opening Battleship has a little Top Gun and Armageddon blended in with a standard intro of a disaster movie. We meet our many central characters, but are only given a slight amount of insight into one sole character – that being the one played by Taylor Kitsch of John Carter. We meet his brother (Alexander Skarsgaard), his girlfriend (Brooklyn Decker) and her high-ranking naval officer father (Liam Neeson) (who only shows up as a bookend character). Although the supporting cast includes raunchy pop star Rihanna, she never gets a formal introduction and simply pops up here and there – which is a good thing considering how bad an actress she is.
Shortly after beginning a major naval exercise, a whopping 35 minutes into the movie, a short-haired John Carter must save Earth from an alien invasion with a few destroyer ships. The aliens show up on Earth, hover above the ocean doing nothing and the Navy shoots at them. Battles begin all because the Navy fires first. From then on, we follow this small fleet as they try to destroy the aliens. At one point, for some unexplained reason, neither the humans nor the aliens can track one another, so the Navy starts blind firing missiles into the dark ocean in hopes of hitting something. Yes, they have a grid system and, yes, they call out coordinates like the game. “Echo-one-one.” The only other similarity that the movie has with the game is that the alien missiles look exactly like the pegs used to keep track of missile attacks in the game.
If you don’t believe me when I tell you how stupid this movie is, I’m going to give you one example that will show the lame level that Battleship functions on. A war veteran with amputated legs boxes an alien. That’s right – he pops the alien’s Halo-esque helmet off and proves that his golden gloves championship wasn’t a fluke. One shot even show the alien take a slow-motion fist to the face while alien teeth go flying through the air. Believe me now? This movie is horrible.
Do not under any circumstance go see Battleship. It’s a brain cell killer void of substance and anything resembling worthy entertainment. Once again, go see The Avengers.
Photo credit: Universal Pictures