I view myself as being a fairly intelligent person. I am well-read, I understand artsier films when I see them, I have traveled the world and seen a great many things. So why, oh why, did I like Battleship so much?
The premise for this action blockbuster is complete insane. It is a film based off of a board game, after all. Anyone expecting more than that is more nuts than the idea to make Battleship. If you decide to suspend your disbelief for the entire 2 hours plus running time, then you may enjoy yourself as you watch this movie on Netflix.
Humans have decided to beam a signal to a distant planet that they feel meets the Goldilocks standards of Earth, where it may be able to sustain life and water. Okay, fair enough. We’ll ignore the fact that they are able to send this signal light years away in a matter of moments. Surprisingly though, they get a response some time later, in the form of an alien invasion. Oh no, that is not good.
The human side of the story focuses on Taylor Kitsch, who plays Alex Hopper, a down on his luck guy with infinite potential who continually wastes it away. At the urging of his brother, he joins the Navy, and before you know it, he is a Lieutenant on an impressive Destroyer ship, and on the verge of marrying the girl of his dreams (Brooklyn Decker). I’ve always liked Kitsch, because he was just so good on Friday Night Lights. Since then, he has done nothing particularly memorable, and has never been able to trade his small screen success for big screen hits. Aside from essentially being not great, and pretty cheesy, in Battleship, he is pretty fun. He has some humorous moments, even managing to elicit a giggle now and then, with his goofy antics and being smart, but not really that smart. He sort of has a Maverick-style attitude, and his character growth is based on him being able to think before he acts. Pretty simple, really, but this film is not based on characterization.
It is based on the idea that one remaining ship must fight off this alien invasion before they are able to summon their home planet and, presumably, bring all of their alien friends down to earth. One thing that I found curious about this film, and it is never really mentioned, is that the aliens never attack first. They scan their targets, and when a human does not pose a threat (such as having a weapon on them, or actively attacking an alien), they leave them alone. The same goes for the ships. They never fire until fired upon. Is director Peter Berg trying to sneak in a message into Battleship about the overt aggression of our nation’s military? I don’t know. But I noticed something there.
There are some other name actors in here, who have minimal roles, and try their best with a pretty wooden script. This is especially noticeable with Alexander Skarsgard, who tends to monopolize most of the lame lines in the film. He is definitely not as cool as he is in True Blood. Liam Neeson makes an appearance, because it seems like Liam Neeson now shows up in every action movie that is released. Which is fine by me. He is bad ass. He doesn’t get a major role, but gets to give a couple of speeches as a high ranking Navy officer, and Brooklyn Decker’s father.
Brooklyn Decker might be one of the bigger surprises in the film. Despite her plot line being pretty preposterous (she and a Navy vet are on a hike, and end up trying to take down all of the alien communications on their own), she doesn’t ruin the scenes she’s in. Let’s be honest, she has been getting film roles because the majority of her talent rests in her bra, but she is respectable in Battleship. Don’t get respectable confused with good, but she’s getting there. She may be developing as an actress, and I could see her continuing to get smaller roles in action films or romantic comedies, as she has done so far.
I won’t say much about Rihanna and her acting skills, because there really are none. She may be the worst actor in the entire film.
There are some cool scenes, and some pretty decent battles in the movie. There are big explosions, and lots of cool missiles and guns fired. There is plenty of alien destruction, and they beat up on parts of Earth pretty well, too.
And I’ll admit, that the lamest/most awesome part of this film is when Kitsch and gang are running out of options, they turn to the museum that is the USS Missouri, the greatest warship in American history, to try and defeat the enemies. Who is going to help him run this ship? Why, they veterans of the Second World War, of course. It is completely ridiculous plot-wise, but it was fun. Seeing the ship magically get ready in one quick montage set to “Thunderstruck,” and an out-of-commission ship that hasn’t sailed in decades is ready to take on the greatest threat to humanity. Of course it is. But I loved it. I’ll also give credit to the part of the film where it is like playing the board game. Well played, Peter Berg, well played.
I thought that Battleship was going to be a complete waste of time, and I would simply have it on in the background while I did other things with my life. But this was not the case, as I was taken in by the cheese, and really kind of loved it. Don’t go into this film expecting to see an intelligent action blockbuster like Terminator 2. Because you won’t get it. But if you’re putting Battleship in a similar range as the Transformers movies, then you are on the right track. Except unlike Transformers, this movie is pretty fun to watch, and you can actually tell what is happening on the screen.
If you are in the mood for a fun dose of cheese, you can do worse than Battleship.