“Battleship” – Early Review (NEGATIVE)
What happened to you Pete Berg? I was such a fan of your cult hit 2003 action-comedy “The Rundown”. It had the perfect blend of action, comedy, and character. Berg was well known for other successful films, whether they were critical or commercial; “Friday Night Lights” & “The Kingdom”. However, all that seemed to fly out the window after making that headache induced superhero satire, “Hancock”. It certainly hasn’t helped save his status as a prominent director by making a movie based on a plastic game board that alone should be a sign for desperate career attention.
It’s a two-hour action packed, special effects diarrhea extravaganza of Michael Bay proportions. People will certainly have action-movie hangovers by morning after seeing this mindless alien invasion picture. It’s like “Crimson Tide”, “Independence Day”, and “Transformers 1-3” all rolled together into one mega turd, and the result is what you see in front of you…”Battleship”.
(Sadly) Based on the Hasbro game board, the film focuses on key characters, Lt. Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), a Naval officer assigned to the USS John Paul Jones; Sam Shane (Brooklyn Decker), a physical therapist and Hopper’s fiancée; Hopper’s older brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgård), Commanding Officer of the USS Sampson; Petty Officer Raikes (Rihanna), Hopper’s crewmate and a weapons specialist on the USS John Paul Jones; and Stone’s superior (and Sam’s father), Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson). Together these brave American’s come together to fight off the start of what could be a planet wide extinction when some mean lizard-like aliens invade and plan to take control. Classic alien ploy, am I right people?
With “Marvel’s The Avengers”, the alien invasion in that film had deeper meaning and greater depth; revenge, love for power, and kingship were all key factors to Loki’s grand plan for global take over, there was pathos to that whole villainous plot, even if it’s a plot that’s been done before. Here, all we get are some scummy alien-Halo-suit-wearing-intergalactic jerks who decide to invade our planet all because…well…they just can, and it’s fun to blow shit up. Seriously, don’t expect anything potent out of a movie that’s based on a game board, although I’m still hoping for that “Hungry Hungry Hippos” adaptation.
The characters are all one-noted, seen before protagonists. These yahoos belong in a 1996 Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer action pic. Seriously, if this was made 15 years ago, this would’ve been deemed a classic in it’s own right, but for today’s standard it has set the bar extremely low. With it’s carbon copy characters, cheap humorous dialogue, and predictable ending. You can’t get any hokier than today’s youth of the Navy teaming up with the old school men of the era, and finally resurrecting the famous USS Missouri for a final alien bout. Seriously, I was ready to puke cheese, that sequences was that bad, all it needed was some hardcore AC/DC playing in the background…oh wait…THUNDERSTRUCK!
The visual effects are the one factor that shares it’s somewhat ending success with the “Avengers”. Both films have some of the best visual effects one could ask for in a film, and it’s all thanks to ILM. But, where “The Avengers” succeeds in storytelling, character development, and overall better direction, “Battleship” sinks! SERIOUSLY! How the fuck did this movie not have ANYONE scream out, ‘They sunk our battleship!’ I guess it’s notable to mention that Turtle from “Entourage” and President Obama have cameos, but that doesn’t save the movie. Again, third straight weekend in a row just go see “The Avengers”.