Release Date: 11 April 2012
Running Time: 131 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Director: Peter Berg
Screenplay: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano
Plot: Peter Berg 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.
REVIEW AFTER THE JUMP
Review: Hasbro does it again! This time around, they are now turning this popular board game about sinking opponent’s battleship into another lucrative movie franchise. “Battleship” marks the third entry for the game developer into movie business following the more popular Transformers and G.I. Joe franchises. Just like that alien robot armada does best in giving the ridiculous and mindless joyride – at least that was what the official trailer has shown us about. The only major different is that I hope at least that the concept embedded in “Battleship” should have been fresher considering that there were not any depiction of this in any media form before. With nothing else to compare, will “Battleship” as good as all the hypes I have been heard recently? Helmed by the same director who made Hancock, will Peter Berg guides us into a fair display of alien invasion with a satisfying popcorn ride or a will it ends been a major thud-rubbish movie?
Here comes a douche by the name of Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) who has nothing to offer with his life but all thanks to his much dedicated and sterner older brother, Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgard), he is enlisted as a sailor for the navy. Must be that talent for him to rise faster than anyone else, now holding the lieutenant rank but yet his douche life still surrounds him with arrogance and idiocracy. One day, an international naval fleet exercise in Hawaiian Islands turn into an unexpected outcome when the navy armadas from all around the world engages in a battle they never see before. In 2005 when NASA launched a mission to send signal waves into the deep space to search for other extraterrestrial planet resembling one. Good news is they got one. The bad news however is that they want to conquer us. Confronted by the extraterrestrial force with much more superior weapon, it is up to the naval fleets under the command of Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson) to save the day (sort off).
As expected, Peter Berg officially takes this adaptation of the popular children’s game into an adult-scale of naval war akin to Michael Bay’s Transformers. In fact, Berg makes Bay a better director. While most the movie is pretty much fuelled by a huge dosage of adrenaline, the outcomes are not able to shake-off the same loudness and ridiculous story we have seen from the Transformers. Therefore slapping this as Transformers 4 is somewhat accurate. However, unlike Bay, Berg does not control the movie well enough, resulting in an awkward and mixed feeling about this movie.
Running at 130 minutes, “Battleship” is underwritten in its exposition and mythological aspects. Besides having the alien dubbed as “The Regents”, looks more humanoid from the rest and obviously only sending 5 ‘battleship’ to the Earth, there are not much things we can learned for. For example, the reason of the aliens invading us is anonymous – so I assume that they were asked by the Navy to help them in the ‘exercise’? With so much unexplored subplots and character buildings, it seems that the writers, Jon and Erich Hoeber missed out a lot of opportunities to tie up the story more neatly and more importantly to tell a whole refreshing theme with more originality since this board game is relatively plotless. Instead, they let go everything hanging, hoping for the things to make sense by itself but the clichés keep coming in one right after another.
(SPOILER ALERT BEGINS!) While I have to admit there are plenty of movies nowadays having illogical sciences behaviour where you can completely ignore the effects of inertia etc; never since “Armageddon” I see this amount of worst- science-fallout in years. Not only that, there are some points of the whole alien invasion thingy that do not make any senses at all. Forget about the plot holes; at least it does not bother me so much. For instance; when a huge object (that is the alien spaceship) falls into the ocean, I see no surge or tidal waves hitting that little boat Lt. Hopper is in (Really?). Then aliens come to invade us with five hopping spacecraft (not flying you know!) seems to be a little ambitious is not it? Here is another one, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) jams only the phone but not other forms of device on the battleships (again, really?). The list is endless, just so you know (SPOILERT ALERT ENDS!)
After those fault-searching points, I think it is also good to mention what is worthy about “Battleship”. Maybe some of you can enjoy the plot been illogical and underwritten (which I feel are the biggest sin), but I can still give out small degree of salute I should give for Berg as he makes this movie a passable 2-hour joyride popcorn action flick that does what it should have been doing. While the marketing strategy seems a little dull and underwhelming; “Battleship” still delivers the job for a mindless time-killing and guilty pleasure. It is far from been an action epic that gives war film some honourable justice but then at least it does serve its purposes well. If that flattering comments are not enough, here are another two. One, the effects are decent enough to command some of the action scene into a breathtaking and edge-of-the-seat excitements. Well, I did say some, right? And two, Steve Jablonsky’s score.
Taylor Kitsch, I think his performances in this movie works. Unfortunately, his character is nothing new and I could have easily said that he is a carbon copy of James Tiberius Kirk. Kirk who? Go watch Star Trek! Rihanna’s debut movie is just an okay entry, nothing much to shout about but she looks comfortable with her role. I think with more training, she can be a better Beyonce I hope! Now, the problem is that when you realized how limited the characters carried by Skarsgard, Neeson and the aliens. Pretty much useless offering and contribution to the plot, I can see.
In the end, “Battleship” is a very loud, ridiculous and moronic action-fuelled popcorn movie of the year that has “Transformers” written all over it. The bad news is that this movie just makes “Transformers” sounds and looks better in various degrees. Nevertheless, the good news is that it is better than what I first anticipated.
"BATTLESHIP" opens this week in cinemas nationwide. For ticketing at GSC, please go to this link. This review reflects the personal opinion of the author only.