May 23, 2012

Movie Review: Battleship

When I first heard they were making a movie based on Battleship, I could do nothing but chuckle. Of course, I had the same reaction when Disney decided to make a movie based on an amusement park attraction and that turned out to be the surprisingly awesome Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. With that in mind there was a slim hope this would be a good movie. Well, don't hold your breath. Battleship is not a good movie. Perhaps, when they choose to make them, Hungry Hungry Hippos and Connect 4 will be better. Still, I wouldn't hold my breath.

While Battleship is nowhere near being a good movie, it is also not worthless. It is exactly what it needs to be, a big, loud, dumb summer movie that will make you smile at is ridiculousness while not taxing your brain all that much. I think there is a fallacy amongst the cinema elite that movies have to always be groundbreaking or pushing boundaries or speaking to the nature of humanity or some other lofty ideals. This is wrong, no matter how you look at it. Thee is nothing wrong with a movie whose sole goal is to entertain.

Battleship is as simple as they come. We send a signal into space, targeting a newly discovered planet that could be able to support life. Time passes and then some alien ships arrive, a response to the sent signal. They crash down in the Pacific where there just happens to be some Navy war games going on. A force field is generated by the alien ship cutting a few ships off from the fleet and the games begin. Can the crew of inexperienced seamen manage to hold their own and survive in the face of overwhelming odds? If you think the will lose, you have not seen many summer lock buster types of movies.

With the big picture in place, you have a couple of other threads with the main characters. The main character is Alex Hopper, played by Taylor Kitsch, and we meet him as an out of work goof trying to impress a girl by stealing a burrito for her. Well, his older brother Navy man, Alexander Skarsgard, is having it no more and gives his brother an ultimatum, join the Navy or else. Can you guess who is in charge of one of me ships later?

Alex's girlfriend is Sam (Brooklyn Decker), daughter of the admiral and physical therapist for wounded soldiers. He story follows her as she tries to help a vet who has lost his legs. They go for a walk and stubble across he aliens setting up communications to call for back up. It is up to this duo to stop the aliens plans.

There is nothing surprising or shocking and at times it does not make a lot of sense. The movie never stops to ask questions. What if the aliens had benevolent intentions? What was he purpose of the force field? How come the military personnel do not appear to have ever been around actual military? There are plenty of others you can probably think of.

What makes the movie work is its constant forward motion, the sheer goofiness of everything is just kind of fun. It is all silly and overdone that it is hard not to smile at it. This is a movie to have fun with and not think about it much. It even does a pretty good job of trying to replicate the game experience.

On a side note, there is something that struck me while watching it. The thought was rat my Papa would have loved it. Perhaps not the alien stuff, but he was a WWII veteran, a Navy SeaBee, and I think the inclusion of the old Navy veterans in the movie and the integral role the play would have touched him. It is a movie that is respectful of our veterans and I won't lie, it did have an effect on me.

In the end, it is a fun movie. It is not something you will remember for a long time but it is a fun summer distraction.

Mildly Recommend.


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