STARRING: Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker,
Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna, Asano Tadanobu, Liam Neeson
2012, 131 Minutes, Directed by:
the record, no one in Battleship ever actually says the line immortalized
in the TV commercials, “You sank my battleship!”
It’s about the only thing
missing in this movie which takes a game that started with pencil and paper
prior to World War I and turns into an alien invasion story. It makes absolutely
no sense so director Peter Berg and screenwriters Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber
decided to make the most absurd summer blockbuster movie they could.
In fact, it seems to be several
movies going on at once, as if this was a variation of the storytelling game
where you advance the plot you’ve been handed and leave things a complete mess
for the next person.
It starts out as a science
fiction movie with scientists discovering an Earthlike planet around another
star and sending them a signal. We then move to a comedy about two brothers.
Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgård) is a naval officer while his brother Alex
(Taylor Kitsch, recently not seen as the lead in John
Carter) is full of wasted potential. He proceeds to prove this by trying to
impress the beautiful Sam (Brooklyn Decker) by breaking into a convenience store
to get her a chicken burrito.
We then get a service film
where the American and Japanese navies are on maneuvers in the Pacific, and
Alex, who has joined up, is heading for a less than honorable discharge. Oh, and
he and Sam are now in love, but Sam’s father (Liam Neeson), is the commander of
"The characters aren't quite as developed as the plastic pegs in
the board game . . ."
Then the science fiction movie
returns when aliens – apparently with faster than light drives for their
spaceships – are coming to Earth to attack. Why? Why do they create a force
field around part of the fleet? Why do they cause mass destruction and death and
yet spare the lives of individuals? Who knows? Who cares? Certainly not the
filmmakers. They are simply the enemy.
This leads to lots of CGI
destruction and lots of dead people (only one of whom we in the audience are
invited to care about) and more plot churning including scenes where the humans
attempt to take out the moving alien ships using a grid just like the one in the
Since logic has long since been
tossed out, there are numerous other characters who pop up for no particular
reason from the Secretary of Defense (Peter MacNichol) to pop star Rihanna as a
naval officer whose chief job seems to be to run through the ship when ordered
to do so by Alex. Let’s not forget the plot twist that gets a bunch of World War
II and Korean War veterans into action when the old USS Missouri is pressed back
In short the movie makes lacks
any narrative coherence whatsoever.
Plot strands are tied up though
a scene after the closing credits promises – or threatens – a sequel. However
but since the characters aren’t quite as developed as the plastic pegs in the
board game, we’re never really engaged. If the movie works at all it is as a
gigantic goof on the elements that make up contemporary blockbusters. There are
scenes that echo Transformers,
Space Cowboys, Terminator,
and other movies, but don’t lead to any kind of coherent storytelling.
Battleship will get a
lot of negative reviews and deservedly so, but my suggestion is that people
lighten up. It’s a movie based on a game. Why did you expect anything more?