Mr. Berg, you sank my battleship. While audiences were lucky to get a smartly-balanced flick in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers to kick start the summer, Peter Berg’s floating nightmare, Battleship, reminds audiences that not every summer movie will be worth its price in popcorn. Derivative in almost every way (even down to its song selection), Battleship’s armor is riddled with lame clichés and its well-worn alien invasion scenario is about as played out as Vanilla Ice’s comeback, but that won’t stop this film from blasting its way into an unsightly cinematic mess.
Written by Jon and Erich Hoeber (who apparently stopped watching science fiction films in the 70’s and switched to soap operas), Battleship can only be described as Independence Day for NASA while there’s an Armageddon at sea. Make no mistake, I half expected to see Bill Pullman give a speech as the President of the United States and a space-suited Bruce Willis to arrive ready for battle. Cue the Aerosmith. No, well, how about some ZZ Top?
Chicken burrito stealing slacker Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is forced to join the United States Navy and finds the strength to ask Samantha Shane (Brooklyn Decker), daughter of United States Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson), for her hand in marriage after battling a fleet of alien ships onboard a museum naval vessel, the USS Missouri. Complete with silly nods to the Milton Bradley game it is based off, Battleship brings new meaning to the “you sank my battleship” phrase with a spiraling downward plot and its “Hell yes, America!” attitude.
The weak script and super lame dialogue asks so very little from its actors – a cast that includes True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgård and pop singer Rihanna – that one can barely comment on their skills. I can only scratch my head and wonder what the hell Neeson, who hardly needs the dough, is doing even appearing in this beast. Call it a cameo appearance because acting is not what he’s about here. After Wrath of the Titans, this is yet another in a long line of modern day misfires for him.
Then there are the veterans of the USS Missouri. In what has to be the goofiest of plot angles, the fate of the free world rests with the aged veterans of an old battleship; men who probably played the original Battleship game (back when it was paper and pencil). Nothing wrong with honoring our vets, mind you but this is just … ludicrous. "I've got a bad feeling about this," Kitsch says in the movie (an obvious homage to George Lucas) and I couldn’t agree more.
Yes, but what about the special effects? It is the beginning of summer after all. Are there any surprises there? The special effects – including Dekker in bikini tops and the shortest of jean shorts – are all good eye candy, but can’t quite scramble the brainwaves enough to make you forget that you actually paid money to see this watery grave. The alien-killing score - by Steve Jablonsky, with producer Rick Rubin and guitarist Tom Morello – penalizes ears and noggins with an overly loud sonic vibe that screams long after the film has ended. The ringing in your ears is not the sweet bell of victory. It's just annoying.
It’s all mindless distraction from the bigger picture: this aliens-versus-humanity blockbuster just got a bit staler. I can remember more about what I have done in the hours that passed since seeing Peter Berg’s Battleship then I can about the film itself. That should tell you all you need to know about this tale of alien encounters by way of a classic board game.
Battleship is that forgettable.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, action and destruction, and for language.
Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber
Cast: Taylor Kitsch; Alexander Skarsgard; Rihanna; Brooklyn Decker; Liam Neeson
Genre: Action | Adventure | Thriller
Tagline: The Battle for Earth Begins at Sea.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Just fished him right out of the water."
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Official Site: www.battleshipmovie.com
Release Date: May 18, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details yet available
Synopsis: Peter Berg (Hancock) produces and directs Battleship, an epic-scaled action-adventure that unfolds across the seas, in the skies and over land as our planet fights for survival against a superior force. Inspired by Hasbro's classic naval combat game, Battleship stars Taylor Kitsch as Lt. Alex Hopper, a Naval officer assigned to the USS John Paul Jones; Brooklyn Decker as Sam Shane, a physical therapist and Hopper's fiancée; Alexander Skarsgård as Hopper's older brother, Stone, Commanding Officer of the USS Sampson; Rihanna as Petty Officer Raikes, Hopper's crewmate and a weapons specialist on the USS John Paul Jones; and international superstar Liam Neeson as Hopper and Stone's superior (and Sam's father), Admiral Shane. Berg directs this epic action-adventure also produced by Scott Stuber (Couples Retreat), Sarah Aubrey (The Kingdom), Brian Goldner and Bennett Schneir of Hasbro (the Transformers franchise), along with Duncan Henderson (Master and Commander) and Jeffrey Silver (300). The film is written by Jon Hoeber & Erich Hoeber (Red). The battle for Earth begins at sea..
No details yet available.