Friday, December 28, 2012

You gonna die, I'm gonna die, we all gonna die. Just not today...

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will

I often wonder how some movies get green-lit in Hollywood nowadays. I can understand wanting to adapt a novel, a video game or a comic into a film because it comes with an inherent fan base that will want to see their favorite characters put onto the screen. Sometimes it works (The Dark Knight) and sometimes it doesn't (The Spirit), but it will make money no matter what. Then there's Battleship, based on the best-selling board game that has graced our kitchen tables for over 40 years. Who thought this would be a good idea? Board games don't really come jam-packed with stories or characters and have rarely ever seemed like a good idea for films. The 1980s classic Clue worked because it had something to go on, but Battleship is just two people trying to guess where the other person's boats are. But Hasbro, Universal and Peter Berg obviously saw something since here we are with a Battleship movie.

The story follows Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), a Navy Weapons Officer with a bad reputation who happens to be dating the Admiral's (Liam Neeson) daughter (Brooklyn Decker). His brother (Alexander Skarsgard) is a decorated Commander who got Alex into the Navy after a brush-in with the law a few years back. During the biennial RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific Exercise), Alex gets into a scuffle with one of the other officers and is threatened with being discharged from the Navy. After getting himself sorted, he and his crew head out, but before things can really get going, aliens attack and devastate most of the ships. With nobody from the outside able to assist, it's up to Alex to stop these aliens once and for all.

Battleship is a film that, once you get past the stupidity of the concept, could theoretically work on paper but fails completely in the execution. Countless plot holes, cheesy dialogue delivered without a hint of wit or humor and jokes that, when they are made, fall flat on their face. Jon and Erich Hoeber are competent writers who have done a good job with films like Whiteout or Red, but it seems like they really phoned it in with this film. Maybe it's the source material and Hasbro giving them nothing to work with. Maybe it was Peter Berg insisting that bigger is better. Who knows really? At the end of the day, the screenplay is laughable, bloated and lazy. By the end I found myself laughing at the fact that I paid to sit through it.
The acting works for the most part, but being a competent actor in an abysmal film isn't much to be proud of.  Kitsch does a good job making Alex likable and gives him a youthful intensity that actually helps the film. Bad film or no, he's trying his best to win back audiences, and for the most part he succeeds. Rihanna (how is she in this film by the way?), Neeson, Decker and Skarsgard on the other hand are all given very little to do in the movie and their performances are passable, if not totally unremarkable. The best actors in the film are definitely the aliens though, since they never have much to say. You know you're film is in trouble when CGI is outdoing the real people.

Overall Battleship is a bloated, badly written, poorly directed joke of a film that people should stay far, far, away from. Even as a "so bad it's good" it barely works, as there is little joy to be had from this film.



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