In spite of some decent special effects and the glory of seeing the Mighty Mo pressed back into action, this film reeks of "been there, seen that". All the characters being in the right place at the right (or wrong, depending on your point of view) time - the obvious attempt at establishing a rivalry that of course ends up being a plot device where the two just have to get along for the good of the planet - the hackneyed love affair ... all are attempts to give this film more weight - and frankly, the film would have been just as good (and I use that term lightly) without them.
At the center of the film are those pretty cool aliens and their uber cool starships. Add to it the race against time as said aliens attempt to call in reinforcements, and you've got a nice action film that, for my money, does a much better and concise job of giving you that action than the Transformer films.
That the aliens have a weakness and that the weakness isn't something you want to think too hard about is typical - but when it keeps getting thrown in your face, over and over, makes it hard to ignore. You also try to ignore that the aliens have a device like the ultimate saws-all that can repeatedly cut through anything without ever dulling - and yet for some reason they didn't arm their ships with the same metal, making it easy to destroy them with regular (non nuke) firepower (although it is hilarious to see the US Navy shooting at these high tech battlewagons with machine guns - yeah, like that's gonna hurt em!). Then try to ignore that, as the alien ships are cruising through space, they somehow don't have the guidance capabilities to avoid hitting a satellite (hmm, they traveled across how many million parsecs of space and missed all kinds of meteors and other space garbage only to crash into a satellite when coming down the home stretch???)
I haven't mentioned the acting here, and really there is no need to - they all play their part, regurgitate the lines they are given without seeming too wooden, in spite of the cartoonish nature of the characters they are playing. But really, this film is about the alien ships and how the navy combats them. Nicely done in most regards and make this worth a watch if you just want to be entertained by mindless action.
I also want to mention that the synopsis for the film that came up on DirecTV mentioned that this film is based on the Hasbro game of the same name. I looked twice and said, "WTF" - no way... but yes, it's true - there is a segment of the film that is like playing the children's game Battleship. Wow - wonder how much Hasbro donated to make that happen.
but it's still enjoyable with the navy style and the good effects.
So without talking too much about the classic boardgame from my childhood this is BATTLESHIP!
Aliens come to earth and land in the sea near some US battleships, they are unfriendly, the ships engage in sea warfare and the humans win (check..the Americans save the world). Is that a spoiler? no no no no no, well yes but I think I can safely say everyone should realise this.
So 'Independence Day' at sea you say? well your pretty darn right mateys, this is indeed a complete rip of that errr classic alien invasion flick. The film is VERY by the numbers in every department, unbelievably cliched to the hilt and really very stupid. Oh and I forgot in this film they don't get the President to muck in oh no, they get all the old age ex-sailor pensioners to get stuck in haha ave it!
Is it good? hmmm well sort of, you know what will happen every bloody inch of the way no question, Taylor Kitsch's character is utterly predictable with his rebellious ways at first, then drafted into the Navy (this doesn't feel right), still a bit of a 'Jack the lad' in service, but turns into a leader of men when the shit hits the fan, grrrr leader of MEN!.
Casting Rihanna really didn't help this film one bit, right from the get go it gave the film a bad vibe of tacky sci-fi, she is also in damn near every fudging shot! plus she isn't that pretty looking without her usual swathes of makeup. Neeson is the other big name...why? dunno, lets move on.
OK so the effects are average really, the cgi on show isn't much, it doesn't look as nice as previous alien invasion films in my view. Does the job but overall the alien ships are uninspired and look like a cross between 'Transformer' toys and 'Zoids' toys (yep that's an 80's thing), didn't wanna mention Transformers but I had to .
The aliens themselves look a bit poor to be honest, humanoid with dumb facial expressions and these daft looking goatees on their chins that look like a patch of sea anemones. Their suits are better and made me think of 'Halo' somewhat, some nice futuristic spacesuit designs going on with 'Predator' vision inside their visors.
Again the weaponry the aliens use was uninspired and dull, their ships fire these boring shaped canister things that hit their targets but do nothing, after a few seconds they then explode...like wow! I since found out they are suppose to be shaped like the pegs in the boardgame of which this is based, yeah kinda stupid idea right there. They also fire 'Sonic the Hedgehog' type mechanical metallic 'fury ball/disc' things that seem to have a mind of their own and zip all over the show seemingly blowing things up when they make contact. In short I'm sure the aliens could of destroyed all the humans very quickly if they really wanted to.
I can see what they have tried to do here and I don't blame them with the aliens/alien invasion obsession doing the rounds but its just come along too late. Completely zilch originality so don't go expecting anything new and cool looking but it is reasonably pretty looking at times. The football (soccer) game at the start is hilariously bad (all football wise UK viewers I'm sure will agree) and stay till after the end credits for an extra scene (sequel much?).
Nice try for a cash in on the current bandwagon but these things don't always work do they (-_-), strike two for Kitsch (who is this guy?) and will Hollywood ever learn? stupid question that really. This battleship has well n truly sunk...zing!
Off the Hawaiian Islands, the Navy is conducting an annual series of international war games in the Pacific. Oh but little did they expect to have to combat intergalactic foes. Alien spaceships crash land to Earth, emerging from the Pacific and creating a force field barrier. Along for the high seas action are the stoic Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgard), his screw-up little brother Alex (Taylor Kitsch), a Japanese captain (Tadanobu Asano), and a mess of other Navy personnel, including pop star Rihanna. On the other side of that force field is Alex's girlfriend, Samantha (Brooklyn Decker), a naval physical therapist who finds herself in the middle of the aliens communications plans. The handful of Navy ships, some American and some Japanese, must figure out a way to topple the aliens before they get their communications up and running to broadcast that Earth is ripe for the taking.
For some, Battleship will be the symbol of everything wrong with big-budget Hollywood film making, a perceived slapdash effort meant to appeal to as many mass markets as possible, combining clichés and empty action sequences into a cacophony of noise deigned entertainment. And for most of those charges, I cannot defend Battleship. It has its fair share of clichés, gaps in logic, and some especially corny moments (WWII geezers save the day!). And yet, I found myself becoming entranced by Berg's siren song, laughing at the comic relief, enjoying the stock characters enough to root for their triumphs, and having a total gas with the action sequences. I was shocked at how much fun I was having with Battleship. Perhaps that means that from a mechanical standpoint it knows all the pinpoints of the summer blockbuster model and knows how to craft a satisfying crowd-pleaser of an action movie. Or perhaps it just means I have lost my mind. Or maybe this is Berg's expertly crafted satire of the Michael Bay School of filmmaking, brilliantly capturing the beautiful bombast and cheery jingoism of Bay's career, especially when those salty WWII vets get to strut in slow motion. A movie based upon the board game Battleship is clearly not meant to be taken seriously, and Berg's nautical adventure wants nothing more than to entertain the masses. Whatever the case may be, Battleship, weirdly enough works, and for some significant stretches, it works really well in the mold of summer spectacle.
I'm relieved that Berg has left behind his rigid docu-drama cinema verite approach he's patterned after working on 2004's Friday Night Lights. Berg's verite style felt completely mismatched with 2008's Hancock, an inexplicable global hit. With Battleship, Berg's cameras settle down and give you plenty of action to soak up. Berg's first foray into action, 2003's The Rundown, was like the announcement of a great new talent and the herald of The Rock's ascent in action. I've been waiting for Berg to return to that style he displayed with The Rundown, a slick, highly stylized flair, brimming with robust energy that popped at all the right moments. Thankfully, with his biggest budget yet, it's like the return of the old Berg. Perhaps it's just a reaction against the overindulgence of the "shaky cam" action style popularized by the Paul Greengrass Bourne films, but it's nice to be able to actually follow what is happening. Berg's cameras find different and exciting ways to frame the action. I enjoyed the speedy zoom outs to illustrate the size of the field of battle. The visuals really do feel like Berg is parlaying Bay's shooting style, the tawny glow of people's skin, especially women, a.k.a. sex objects, the fetishized ogling of giant toys/military hardware, the soaring camera. But unlike most of Bay's pedigree, it's spectacle on a mass scale without turning into a glorified video game.
The action in Battleship is huge but never dull. The scale of the demolition does not get out of hand because the movie works in shifts, focusing on pockets of action before ramping up to something even bigger and better. The alien tech, particularly the spheroids that munch through metal like the Langoliers (please, somebody tell me they remember that Stephen King TV movie), is impressively powerful without feeling completely over matched. Being totally obliterated in the movies has its own thrill, but seeing a slug fest between man and alien is more compelling. Watching the Navy go blow-for-blow and eventually triumph through ingenuity in the face of adverse odds makes for some pretty satisfying action. The Navy is learning through trial and, much, error about how to combat these alien antagonists. I enjoyed the tactile nature of the battles. I must say I found the film to be weirdly informative about the attack features of naval war vessels. I don't know if its genius or absurd that the movie finds a way to organically squeeze in the actual Battleship game play (the alien bombs also look like pegs from the board game). The aliens are something of a mystery and kept that way. When we do see them minus their Halo helmets, you wish they kept those helmets on. They have some unexplained moral code, as we cut to alien POVs that scan for threats, choosing to spare innocent lives in other circumstances. When the alien spacecraft fist appear, they take up position in a row and wait for their Earthly challengers to strike. It reminded me of the fighting sequences in turn-based RPG video games. These aliens are more sporting than your typical interstellar advanced civilization just interested in conquest. These aliens are into turn-based RPGs. These aliens are nerds.
With all that surprising praise now established, Battleship the movie is still chock full of ridiculous moments and a rather leaky plot. The subplot involving a double-amputee veteran getting back his groove via alien invasion never feels well grafted to the major storyline. It feels like it was crowbarred in after the producers or Berg saw real-life double-amputee Gregory D. Gadson and declared, "This man needs to be in a movie." He's likeable enough but over the course of 130 minutes you realize likeable isn't the same as being a skilled actor. This entire subplot involving Gadson, Samantha, and a computer techie (the amusing Hamish Linklater) strains credulity even for a dumb action movie. The fact that three easily overmatched people can take out a load of well-armed aliens with little more than a Jeep and a briefcase mitigates the life-and-death stakes at sea. If these alien bad guys can lose so stupidly, then what's the hold up? Also, the movie inserts a lot of bizarre tension between Japan and the U.S., like it's trying to iron out the last unresolved conflict from the Second World War. The term "inelegant" cannot come close to describing the nativsm conflict and its dopey resolution. And then there's the fact that the movie is long giant recruitment ad for the U.S. Navy. I suppose after the Marines had their own alien-fighting flick/recruitment ad last year (Battle: Los Angeles), the other branches of the armed services felt left out. I pray no one ever enlists over something this silly. No major life decisions should be made over the big screen adaptation of Battleship, people.
There's a paucity of solid characters here. We get the bad boy younger brother who will discover his mettle and leadership by the end (by the by: having characters keep talking about how much "potential" somebody has is the annoying non-fantasy equivalent of talking about a prophecy being fulfilled). Kitsch comes off better than he did in Disney's costly flop John Carter, but he seems too stiff and sullen for a leading man. If Battleship sinks, expect his leading man status to get dry-docked (okay, I'll lay off the puns). Decker (Just Go with It) is still working out the kinks of transitioning from model to actress. Her romance with Kitsch is about as contrived as these things get in big action movies, a pathetic bone thrown to a deflated female audience who would rather see Decker in What to Expect When You're Expecting. The additional seamen, including Rihanna's acting debut (insert your "S.O.S." joke here), are given one-note to play for over two hours. And as far as Ms. Umbrella-ella-ella is concerned, it's certainly not the worst acting debut by a pop star (see: Crossroads, or better yet, don't). Most disappointing is Neeson (Taken) who spends the far, far majority of the movie on the wrong side of the force field. I want this guy kicking ass and not barking impotently into a phone.
I don't know if I can look myself in the mirror and declare, with solemn dignity, that Battleship is a good movie by the normal standards of objective excellence. Screw it, I had far too much fun with this film to stand back and pretend the movie's flaws are too overpowering. Berg has slapped together what may be the most formulaic, pinpointed Big Summer Movie I've witnessed in some time, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't win me over. They may be pushing buttons but Berg and company pushes them so well. Plus, I'm still uncertain whether or not the entire bloated affair is really the most expensive, subversive swipe at Michael Bay ever attempted. This is probably just wishful thinking from a critic looking to justify liking this movie. It's got plenty of action, though doled out into bite-sized portions before the ACDC "Thunderstruck" montage ramps up the finale. Every now and then, you need a movie that gives you the right kind of stupid, and Battleship is the right kind of stupid for the summer movie season.
Nate's Grade: B
Excellent Movie!!! Battleship delivered a bonafided block buster, that will not be forgotten for some time to come. This movie is a well paced combination of old and new, big and small. The old fashioned style sea battle with co-ordinates and missiles is well blended with modern technology, aliens and photography. The action sequences combine big naval battles and destruction scenes in Hong Kong and Hawaii with smaller scale hand to hand confrontations with aliens.All in all, it is definitely a guilty pleasure. You know you shouldn't enjoy it as much as you do, but you cant help it, it's funny, loads of thrills and stuff blowing up, has a real charm to it and is played very well with what could have been quite clunky dialogue. I had a great time watching this movie and would recommend it to anyone.
Alex Hopper is a talented but undisciplined slacker. His brother Stone, a naval Commander, forces Hopper to join the Navy. Hopper becomes a lieutenant on the USS John Paul Jones DDG-53, sister-ship to his brother's command, the USS Sampson DDG-102. Hopper also falls in love with Admiral Shane's daughter, Samantha, and wants to marry her, but is afraid of asking her father's permission, as he doesn't like Hopper. During the RIMPAC opening ceremony, Hopper gets into a brawl with Captain Nagata of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, in charge of JDS Myoko DDG-175. Hopper soon learns that he is to be kicked out of the Navy at the end of RIMPAC. Meanwhile, Samantha accompanies Army veteran and amputee Mick Canales on a hike on Oahu in order to help him adapt to his prosthetic legs.
A small fleet of alien ships arrives in response to the NASA signal. One ship collides with an orbital satellite and crashes in Hong Kong, while five others land in the waters near Hawaii. The aliens erect a massive forcefield around the islands, trapping a number of American, Japanese and other sovereignty's warships, including Hopper's ship. The aliens attack, destroying Nagata and Stone's ships. Hopper's superiors are killed, leaving him in command of the John Paul Jones. Captain Nagata and some of his crew members are rescued from the waters and assists the Americans in setting up a discreet way to track the aliens using wave-detection buoys. During a night-time battle, the aliens and the Americans exchange pot shots, but Hopper manages to sink two alien ships. They rescue an alien from the water. They discover the aliens are very sensitive to sun light and have to wear filters during the day. Using this knowledge, Hopper attacks another alien ship at dawn, using a sniper rifle with Nagata to breach their cockpit window and blind them with sunlight. Both ships are destroyed in the battle.
A group of alien footsoldiers and scientists lands on Oahu and attack the NASA communications array. Samantha and Mick narrowly avoid their detection, and run into a fleeing NASA scientist. Because the aliens' communications ship crashed in Hong Kong, the aliens plan to use the NASA array to signal their home planet to invade Earth. Realizing that a larger invasion might be imminent, Samantha manages to get a radio and warns Hopper of the threat.
Having no better options, the surviving crew of the John Paul Jones return to harbor and board the USS Missouri BB-63, a 70-year old decommissioned battleship that has been converted into a museum. With the aid of the museum staff, all elderly war veterans, Hopper manages to put the Missouri out to sea again. With some clever maneuvers, the Missouri destroys the last alien ship and shells the communications array, destroying the aliens and ending the threat of invasion.
Back on shore, the crew and Mick all get medals, including a posthumous one to Stone, after the ceremony, Adm. Shane leads Hopper off to discuss his 'Terms of Surrender' over a meal.