Movie Review: “Battleship”- It S(t)unk

Written by David Greenberg June 01, 2012

As I took my seat in the theater awaiting “Battleship” to begin, I must admit, I was not expecting to enjoy the film. The notion of a film based on a Hasbro board game was not appealing to me.  When the lights came back on in the theater, my premonition about “Battleship” was not disproved, however, my respect for the sneaky ability of corporate Hollywood to grasp the minds of seemingly educated film viewers increased tenfold. Here’s why:

This again…

The story of “Battleship” is a recycled version of the new wave of 2012 apocalyptic flicks that have taken the screen by storm.  I can swear that I have heard the phrase “this is an extinction level event” used at least ten times this past year.  Where has the creativity gone?! “War of the Worlds” was a great film because of its originality and its origins in literature. Yes, Steven Spielberg added his over-the-top effects, but the story itself was truly spectacular.  Director of “Battleship,” Peter Berg, uses explosions and destruction to reel in the audience, however there is neither a compelling story nor good acting in sight.

Sexy but empty

In “Battleship”, the United States in Peter Berg’s fictive universe discovers an Earth-like planet and sets up a communication system to make contact with this planet.  The operation turns horribly wrong and the communication system ends up being an invitation for aliens to invade and wreak havoc on earth.  When the alien mother ship lands in the middle of the ocean it is up to Lieutenant Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) of the United States Navy along with members of and international naval organization to destroy the ship and save Earth.  Along with Kitsch, Rihanna and Liam Neeson grace the screen with their beauty but lack in almost all other departments.  Rihanna plays a tough talking weapons engineer and Liam Neeson plays the Admiral of the American fleet whose tough demeanor intimidates Kitsch’s character who wishes to ask permission to marry the Admiral’s daughter. Can anyone say cliché?

Can anyone say cliché?

“Battleship” is mired in cliché. It’s attempt at humor including but not limited to the quest for a chicken burrito and the use of predictable one-liners, shows how Hollywood producers can use humor to mask the fact that a film lacks creativity and can fix this by having the audience laugh at the characters’ expense.  To be honest, sometimes I wasn’t sure if I was laughing at the right jokes; I could have also been laughing at clichés that were not intended to be funny.  Erich and Jon Hoeber’s characters, although strikingly beautiful, lack depth and development. I could not tell at what point in the film Kitsch’s character turned from lazy jerk to admirable leader.  In the end, I could have really cared less if the humans won or the Earth got blown to bits.  There is something terribly wrong with that.

Forgettable

Although the effects were good, the whole aliens destroying earth trope is way overdone. I didn’t know aliens had navies in the first place!  I must say, however, that I particularly enjoyed when the old Navy veterans helped the heroes at the end of the film. However, it did not cover the fact that “Battleship” seriously missed the mark. No pun intended.  “Battleship” capitalizes on the human desire to see good (and gorgeous) people defeat evil.  Furthermore, it includes explosions and lots of metal.  Go any further and you have a film full of cliché, undeveloped characters, and a forgettable story.

My Rating: 3.5/10

 

 

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