Review: Battleship

Filed under: Reviews

Well this is the first blockbuster of the summer you can skip.

Now that you've read my one sentence recommendation, how exactly does one make a full length feature film based off of a child's board game? A game that is made-up entirely of ships, grids, and water, and no actual characters? Well you just simply drop aliens into the plot and make the rest of the s**t up as you go. If you were looking more of a comprehensive synopsis for the film than my previous sentence there might be one out there, but I thought I just saved you some reading. You're welcome.

Audiences maybe quick to blame Michael Bay and his team for this stinker after numerous TV spot plugging Battleship as from "the company that brought you Transformers", but alas Bay is in the clear here. No, for some unknown reason, this stale popcorn flick is brought to movie audiences by dicertor Peter Berg and again the toy giant Hasbro; the makers of the Battleship board game.

Director Peter Berg tries, and fails, to introduce a human element into the film before his alien invasion arrives by staging some very unfunny slapstick and one-liner comedy bits with it's lead character Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch). Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna, and even the great Liam Neeson, all join Kitsch's name in the credits but that really doesn't mean anything because their roles are nothing more than extended cameos. Neeson probably got the biggest pay check out of the cast and I can only imagine him laughing all the way to bank considering he only was on screen for 8-10 minutes total. Rounding out the last of the film's 'big names' is Brooklyn Decker playing Kitsch's love interest. Decker's role is so irrelevant here she makes Megan Fox's role in the first two Transformers seem like Oscar worthy material.

After Berg disappoints to deliver any interesting or believable characters in the film's opening he does what any Hollywood director without a script would do: add an alien invasion and put them up against the good 'ol U.S. of A military. Not just as Canadian and a film critic but as a film fan/action movie junkie I'm just pretty tired of seeing movie after movie glorifying the American armed forces as the first and only line of defense for any onscreen villain. Berg practically uses Battleship as one giant product placement, yet not for the board game product it's based off of but for the American Navy. I think part of Berg's plan was to try and make Battleship be the naval equivalent of Top Gun and show how cool being in the navy would really be. And nothing is cooler than boats verses aliens right? Judging by the rest of the movie's lack of originality I was surprised they didn't make the aliens Nazi aliens to make them easier villains to root against. After about the first 20 minutes audiences will be prying for ET to team up with North Korea so it could just be over already.

I know what you're thinking: it's a big scale summer sci-fi action flick, who cares if the characters suck? Who cares if there isn't a story? The visual effects should be cool enough to warrant spending ten bucks at the box office, right? Hey 9 times out of 10 I'd agree with that philosophy. Summertime movies generally are all about escapism for audiences. If they entertain you even the slightest amount they did their job. Bottom line is nobody here did their job. I've never walked out on a movie before and Battleship temped the hell of out me to break that streak. But I stuck it out for the whole 90 minutes just so I could give the film a serious, critical and articulate verdict it deserved: this movie sucked.

Tags: Peter Berg, Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna, Liam Neeson, Brooklyn Decker, Michael Bay, Transformers, Top Gun

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Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.

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