If you want to know what a $210million non-3D event movie looks like, then look no further than ‘Battleship’.
Based, ever so loosely, on the Milton Bradley game that’s been knocking around since the 1930′s, this tent-pole spectacle has aliens from ‘Planet G’ (I kid you not) reply to a message we sent out to the farthest reaches of space by sending it’s own ships across the cosmos and landing them in the waters of Hawaii (they have an eye for the picturesque, these aliens). When it turns out they are hostiles (aren’t they always?) it’s up to Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) and his Navy crew to put the hurting’ on the UFO’s and prevent the destruction of the entire human race.
Of course it is.
To tell you that ‘Battleship’ is brought to you by Hasboro, the same guys behind the ‘Transformers’ trilogy, should be pretty much all one needs to say for you to get the picture.
The conundrum is that, unlike the aforementioned gaint-robots-smash-em-up, ‘Battleship’ is directed by Peter Berg, the helmsman of credible flicks like ‘Friday Night Lights’ and ‘The Kingdom’. Indeed, so promising are his talents that Michael Mann has taken the director under his wing.
So, then, what gives?
Let us not forget that Berg also gave us the bombastic (and arguably The Rock’s best filmic venture) ‘Welcome To The Jungle’, and here, with ‘Battleship’, he’s treading the same ground. Big. Dumb. Fun. Albeit, with a budget ten times bigger than WTTJ. Here he seems to be having the time of his life playing with destroyers and aliens and big things that go Boom.
Taylor Kitsch, clawing his way up the popularity ladder, has a less embarrassing turn here than he did with John Carter, levelling Hopper out with just enough carisma to keep us caring…just. Rihanna does a surprisingly credible job, rasping out her dozen or so lines like a smoker of 65yrs and Liam Neeson pops in for what is ultimately an extended cameo.
There are some real ‘what-the-hell?!’ moments (like a ridiculous sequence where we see a replication of the board-game the film is based on played out on the open ocean…not to mention Brooklyn Decker’s bra size), but in the end ‘Battleship’ over-stays it’s welcome by 20mins or so and barely has the smarts to chug along for that long.
Passable, but just by the skin of it’s alien hide.