Battleship Movie Review
F-Zero. You sank my movie script!
This is another one of those movies that I, as reviewer, find so annoying in that it doesn’t fail completely. There are elements of this film that are seaworthy, but rather than sinking to a massive gaping hole in the hull it goes down to a million billion small holes comprised of flat acting, lame story, over reliance on CGI, mediocre casting, and disconnection from reality issues.
Of course all these issues pale to insignificance compared to the major problem with this film: the whole premise is based on THE WORST SOURCE MATERIAL IN CINEMA HISTORY! Battleship? Really? The game I used to cheat at against my sister with the pegs and plastic ships? I might have bought a navel battle against aliens but this is just dumb. I consider it a bad sign when Hasbro starts this movie out with a dramatic Hasbro intro cut scene similar in tone (if not seriousness) to the Marvel and DC intros from their respective movies.
By the way, here are some of the other Hasbro projects that are in production or under consideration: Candy Land starring Adam Sandler (oh God!), Ouiji (actually Universal paid $5 million to get out of the embarrassment of being associated with this project. Good move IMO), Stretch Armstrong, another GI Joe, and worst of all another Tranformers. By the way, check out this trailer for the upcoming Chutes and Ladders movie. Epic.
Speaking of Transformers, you will definitely feel like you are being beaten with the Michel Bey stick while watching this film. Massive slow motion explosions, grey CGI robotic aliens, flat acting, one dimensional characters, dopey worthless sub plots, and a super hot blond girl as out of place in this movie as Al Pacino in a really horrible Sandler film (oh, wait. That happened). The typical Bey pattern is followed in the aliens being unstoppable killing machines at the beginning of the movie and dying to wet farts by the end.
The thing that bugged me the most about this film was how completely disconnected from the realities of the military, navel warfare, ship maintenance, and actual science it really is. So instead of my usual pattern I am going to give a very succinct plot summary followed by the things that bugged me the most. Here we go:
Taylor Kitsch (John Carter, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Friday Night Lights) plays Alex Hopper, a waste of humanity who joins the Navy to be with his brother after stealing a chicken burrito for a super hot girl (Brooklyn Decker-Just Go With It, Exposure: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2011, Spike TV VGA Game Awards). Apparently being a lazy unmotivated impulsive smart mouth who is hated by your commanding officer (Liam Neeson-The Grey, Phantom Menace, Taken) for dating his daughter (the burrito girl) is no inhibitor to your navel career as he managed to rise to the rank of Lieutenant in six years. He and his brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgård-Generation Kill, True Blood, Melencholia) are participating in navel maneuvers off Hawaii when aliens follow a signal sent out by NASA and start attacking. They seem to have a very specialized threat assessment process and are cool with an enemy ship nearby as long as it is not actually shooting at them. Explosive navel hijinks ensues. A semi-clever (there’s a fine line between clever and stupid) plot device is found to reference the actual game it was based on. Rihanna (the Hangover, Just Go With It, 21) apparently has every job on the ship including gunner, Marine, soccer player, and possibly ships cook. All forms of military decorum and chain of command are disregarded. The fate of the planet manages to boil down to a fist fight between an amputee and an alien wearing advanced power armor.
Let’s talk about the many, many breaks from reality that this movie suffers from. First of all, my good friend science (I Atom Science image courtesy of the Vintage T Shirt category). One of the alien ships crashes onto the planet (by the way, they have the technology to travel across light years to find a signal from earth but don’t have enough radar technology to avoid a satellite in orbit around the planet) and scientists determine that it is made of an element not found on Earth. I guess the writers (and everyone else associated with this film) was sick the day they did science in the 8th grade, so I will explain it to them. You see, a periodic table of elements lists each one by a number. That number is the number of protons (and neutrons) in said element. Therefore, if you have an atom with 46 protons in it you inevitably have Palladium regardless of what planet you are on. As the number increases the elements become increasingly heavy and unstable, making most of them only occur in lab experiments for a few moments. Furthermore, the Earth scientists were somehow able to figure this out in about five minutes in this movie.
Next, let’s talk about battleship maintenance and mothball museum ships. This movie seemed to think all you need to do is cut some chains and a ship that had not even fired up it’s engine in ten years would be sea worthy. Also that a ship that had been a museum for decades would have both fuel and live ammunition on board, or that a battleship could even operate with a crew of about 20.
It is laughable that anyone would think that a ship the size of the U.S.S. Missouri (45,000 tons) would come to a screeching halt when moving at flank speed and a single anchor is dropped, causing the ship to whip around it’s anchor point. At best the anchor should have torn up a bunch of sea bed, but the inertia generated is amazing.
As for military protocol, there is no way the commander of a ship would be running around with an assault rifle hunting for aliens when he has seamen who could do it for him. This was just dumb.
The list goes on and on. It’s almost like they purposefully said how dumb can we make this movie before the American public finally vomits it back out (based on box office receipts they blew past the limit on this one). Stuff like an interplanetary signal being visible in space, aliens who can only see stuff that is actually dangerous, senior officers brawling like barroom drunkards, and so on just hurt the whole thing. You see, science fiction movies start off with a serious break from reality, which essentially means in order to be taken seriously you have to try to remain true to reality as you possibly can. That’s why movies like Aliens or TV shows like Stargate SG1 work; they are dealing with unreality but they keep everything remotely human as real as possible.
Anyway, the stars. If you don’t care about reality or are just really, really, really ignorant and possibly dumb the movie can be fun. One star. I do like big navel ships. One star. Alien invasion films. One star. I’m going to award a star to this film for having the best excuse for alien invasion as of late in the form of none at all. Stealing all our water, power, or brains is just dumb. It’s OK for aliens to just be imperialistic jerks. Some of the action was kind of fun. One star. Total: five stars.
The black holes. Dumb, dumb, dumb premise. Two black holes. Insulting my intelligence by disregarding a ton of fairly basic science and military protocol. Three black holes. Must every alien invader have a weakness? One black hole. A bonus black hole for getting a floating museum and steaming it out to fight with about two hours of work (also I would like to note that they talk about the shells being 1,ooo pounds as they try to manhandle one down a long corridor. In fact they weighed 2,700 pounds. Also, it was established that the Missouri was the last Battleship decommissioned. Where the hell did they find 16 inch shells? Do we even make them any more?). One black hole. Aliens who are ultimate bad asses at the beginning turning into paper dolls by the end. One black hole. The fact that advanced aliens with interplanetary ships apparently are cool using trebuchet-like targeting systems on their ships. They don’t believe in any kind of guidance? One black hole. Crow barring in the game pegs into this movie. One black hole. Sub plots that made me wish movies had never been invented. One black hole. Having the fate of the planet come down to a fist fight. One black hole. Flat acting and one dimensional characters. One black hole. Total: thirteen black holes.
A grand total of eight black holes. Pretty miserable. Worth seeing? Maybe, if all you want is Transformers style action and a lot of explosions. It certainly is brainless fun, so if you can shut you brain down (or are just brainless to start) you might enjoy it. Date movie? Hell no. Not only will she not be interested but all the stupidity surrounding this movie will infect her perception of you. Bathroom break? I can honestly say that there is not a critical moment in this film that missing would cause you to lose something from the experience. Most of the most worthless footage seems to be in the first 30 minutes, but any of the scenes involving the girl, the handicapped vet, and the wimpy scientist are an excellent chance for you to use the restroom, check your email, smoke a cigarette, and possible leave the theater entirely to go home and take a little nap. God knows I wanted to.
Thanks for reading. What to Expect When You Are Expecting is later today, and believe me I am dreading it. I hope you all appreciated the sacrifices I make to keep you entertained. Follow me on Twiiter @Nerdkungfu. Post any comments on this movie here. If you have any questions or suggestions on other topics feel free to email me at email@example.com. Talk to you soon.