When I first heard they were making a live adaptation of the infamous Parker Bros. (now owned by Hasbro since 1991) game, Battleship, I thought oh my, what a huge naval epic it could be. The possibilities were endless, in my opinion. A grand scale naval adventure hasn’t seen success on the silver screen in many years now. So bring it on! But wait! Two things instantly ruined my anticipation of this onscreen adaptation. First there was the inclusion of Rihanna. Really? Come on! Why not include Brittany Spears and maybe even someone old school like Tiffany too? And then…there was this reveal of the film’s plot…ALIENS! Really?! I don’t exactly remember saying watch out for that alien ship when I sunk my dad’s battleship on A5. I only have one word to describe my feelings about all this…W-H-A-T-E-V-E-R.
But instead of bashing a movie I have never seen before, like I ask my staff to refrain from all the time (BURLESQUE), I decided to act professional like any movie critic should and attack this with an open mind, granted an open mind totally blown away free of any and all expectations. LOL. So let’s do this thang!
As I mentioned above, for those new to our planet, Battleship is loosely based on the legendary board game of the same name. The film was directed by Peter Berg and stars Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, and wolf slayer Liam Neeson. You probably noticed that I did not include Rihanna as a star? Hater!
The film was originally supposed to be released in 2011, but 2011 came and went with no sign of it. Oh darn! It has actually been out for over a month now overseas and has already made back its 200 million dollar budget. As Darth Vader would say in his best scuba diving mask voice…”Impressive!”
So let’s skip the entire string of proverbial lingo I’m so famous for watering my reviews down with (even I can make fun of myself and have a good time doing it) and ask the million-dollar question. What did you think, Brian? A million people shout “tell, tell!” And my immediate response to that question is really quite juvenile. On our dedicated Why So Blu text chat line I typed “LOL” after the movie’s final scene (BTW…there is a scene after the credits). Gerard Iribe immediately jumped all over me for saying that, but I’m used to that by now. The honest to God truth is that I had fun with this one. I never thought I would be saying that, but I’m never afraid to admit when I am wrong and…I was wrong here. Now I’m not saying by any stretch of the imagination that this was a good film, quite the opposite, but I am saying that I sat there giddy as a school boy because…I had fun. And that’s all that it was. It was SIMPLE, STUPID, FUN, nothing else, and nothing more.
So let me see if I can break this down and get it over in a paragraph or two for you all. The year is 2005 and NASA discovers another planet in another galaxy far, far away that they believe could be hospitable to sustaining life due to its approximate Earth-like distance from their sun star. So what do they do? They try to communicate. And successful they are! But wait! There’s character development, or at least a humorous attempt at it as the brothers, Alex (Kitsch) and Stone Hopper (Skarsgard), are introduced to us. Let the blundering moments begin. Yep, I can pretty much sum the whole movie up by saying that any scene that involves Kitsch is a blundering moment, but I mean that with nothing but love. Why did people like John Carter? It was because although it was completely over-the-top and utterly ridiculous, Kitsch still managed to make it fun. The same principle, in my opinion, applies here.
So where were we? Oh yes! The aliens! They are coming, and like the ones in Independence Day, War of the Worlds, etc…, they are hell bent on destroying our world. It’s an extinction event! So we’re led to believe. I kind of sat there confused the whole time as to why the aliens basically chose to destroy physical structures rather than humans, but that’s a whole separate topic I never intended this review to cover, so for brevity’s sake, like David Freedman loves to say at bad films, “Skip It!.” And we’re kind of at the point in the story where there is really nothing new to see or report on here. There’s a romance (Kitsch and Decker), a convenient naval practice assembly that just so happens to be in the right place and time to ward off any alien attacks and of course, the all mighty quest to find the aliens’ weakness. In actuality, there’s really nothing left to the imagination other than to just sit back, throw down some popcorn, Sour Patch Kids, an Icee and have a good time (if possible for you) with what we have to work with.
I will say the following. There are moments of extreme patriotism here. Now whether you like that or not, I could not help the lump that formed in the back of my throat when all the retired naval officers (older than time itself) lent a helping hand in saving the Earth from its sure doom. And…there was team building. Rival countries and cultures had to learn how to work and fight alongside each other. That’s important, in my opinion. So while I wouldn’t say throw down all your hard earned cash on this one and take the whole family to see it at night, I wouldn’t feel bad recommending a matinee visit as long as you are comfortable with nonsensical spectaculars like John Carter or Battle: LA. In other words, Gerard Iribe will probably hate it, but I think people like Aaron and I will appreciate Battleship for the “cheese” it is. And there’s Liam Neeson! While his screen time is almost non-existent, he still manages to seize every scene he is in just like the bad a$$ he always is. The killer of wolves! And oh yeah, before I forget, you’ll get my Iron Man title reference during the naval preparation for the final battle. No spoilers from me, boys and girls! Enjoy Battleship for what it is. Eat Michael Bay and cheese!