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Battleship Review
By Darrin Jones / May 18

Ingredients: If liked special effects of Transformers, the plot of Battle: Los Angeles, and the gung-ho attitude of Independence Day, you will like this movie.

When I saw Battleship, I was still coming off The Avengers’ movie so my spirits were flying pretty high. Thank goodness Battleship was available to sober me up before I went to long thinking that any other summer blockbuster would rise to Avengers’ example. So lets just get Battleship out of the way so I can maybe re-watch The Avengers a few more times. After Earth scientists start sending direct signals to an Earth-like planet in the deep recesses of space in hopes of communicating with a possible alien species, their reply is less then stellar. A small group of spaceships invade with the intent of conquest but fortunately Lieutenant Alex Hopper (as played by Taylor Kitsch still sporting his John Carter haircut) is standing in their way. When the rest of the U.S. Navy is trapped outside an alien produced forcefield, only a handful of ships remain to stop the alien scourge in their tracks.

There’s so much bad in this movie that I don’t know where to start. Again we have an impromptu alien invasion scheme without knowing anything at all about the aliens or what they hope to accomplish; and to punctuate how lazily the aliens are depicted in Battleship, within the first 2 minutes of the film there is actually a naysaying scientist that  warns that any contact with an alien race would be “like Christopher Columbus and the indians, and we’re the indians.” I can’t explain how unlikable the Alex Hopper character is. Maybe it’s just Kitsch’s portrayal of the man but he really had no significant character arc. He starts of brash, reckless, stubborn and kind of crazy and he stays that way save for a few moments here and there.

The action scenes are pretty impressive but of course it would be, that was what the movie was built around; well, action scenes and selling board games. As you might’ve guessed, Battleship is a 2 hour advertisement for Hasbro’s Battleship board game, so much so that the alien sea craft actually shoot explosives that look like the Battleship pegs and there was a painfully long part were a room full of people were just looking over a computer screen trading little blinky missiles with their alien foes. The things that kept my interest in the movie were few and far between. Every scene with Liam Neeson barking out naval orders did give it some gravitas and there was something gratifying about someone shouting “Mahalo motherfucker” before blasting an alien in the face with a ship’s cannon.

My biggest warning for potential viewers is be aware that this movie plays cheerleader for the navy pretty damn hard. After all the navy ships that were trapped inside the forcefield bubble are destroyed -- it was all in the trailers already folks -- the crew have to startup a conveniently nearby decommissioned battleship with the aid of some retired naval-men. I’m sure it was suppose to be a touching and respectful scene but it was so out of nowhere and so forced that I couldn’t help rolling my eyes at the big screen’s idea of “genuine patriotism.” Think I’m being a little unfair? Well did I mention there’s a scene where an ex-military paraplegic who was still getting use to his prosthetic legs no more then 8 hours ago actually fights one of the aliens hand-to-hand, and wins. I get what they were going for and what they were trying to accomplish and I do respect their intentions but the execution was just too manipulative. Some people might’ve heard that Battleship was a movie being made about the old Battleship board game and thought to themselves, “How do you make a movie about that?” Well they didn’t, not really. Battleship, deep down, was designed to do for the navy what Transformers did for the army. On the upside, no petty teenage angst, no racist depictions, and no annoying comic-relief characters. So at least it’s a step in the right direction, even if it’s a shaky step.  

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