April 20, 2012

Battleship : Online movie review

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Directed byPeter Berg
Produced byPeter Berg
Brian Goldner
Duncan Henderson
Bennett Schneir
Scott Stuber
Written byJon Hoeber
Erich Hoeber
StarringTaylor Kitsch
Alexander Skarsgård
Brooklyn Decker
Liam Neeson
Tadanobu Asano
Music bySteve Jablonsky[1]
CinematographyTobias A. Schliessler
Editing byColby Parker Jr.
Billy Rich
Bluegrass Films
Film 44
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date(s)April 11, 2012(International)
May 18, 2012(United States,Canada)
Running time131 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$200 million

When I originally heard about Battleship, a film based upon the naval destruction game that predates World War I; I was less than impressed. Further fuel was added to my indifference when hip-hop star Rihanna announced she was to make her acting debut, staring alongside Liam Neeson. Honestly; it sounded like a complete recipe for disaster. Directed by Peter Berg, who also produced Battleship along side Brian Goldner, the current CEO of Hasbro (the company behind the game), I truthfully didn’t know how this idea would work. Familiar with the game, and indeed quite a fan of it when I was younger, I didn’t know how it would transfer onto the big screen. It also screamed “Transformers franchise” at me. Despite my sincere doubts, I still gave it a go. 

Battleship is an action packed adventure movie that takes place in American naval waters, as maritime forces fight to protect the planet from an alien invasion. Taylor Kitsch (John Carter) stars as Lt. Alex Hopper, a former loser who has had his life transformed for the better after signing up following his brother’s, Commanding Officer Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgård), advice. Young and prone to making questionable decisions, Hopper often finds himself under fire from his superior Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson); who just so happens to be the father of his girlfriend, Sam (Brooklyn Decker). Not only does Hopper have an alien invasion on his hands, more importantly, he has to pluck up the courage to face and ask for his superior for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

For director Peter Berg (The Kingdom, Hancock) to compare a marriage proposal to total annihilation of the human race in Battleship is really quite a feat. My biggest problem with this film wasn’t the endless product placement; it wasn’t that it is looks, sounds and feels like another Transformers film, no. Never mind the countless factual inaccuracies or plot holes, what bugged me the most was that the army and air-force just sat this one out. Perhaps I’m being too harsh; the radios aren’t working so maybe two of America’s greatest defences would let Rihanna (whose appearance seemed pretty pointless, except when she exclaimed “boom!”) sort this.

A perfect film for an eight year old boy, Battleship is less likely to impress other members of the family. Normally a harsh critic of Neeson’s appearances, I looked forward to and relished the time he was on screen. If you can bear to wait out the 2 hours 11 minutes until the end of the credits, you will find a little treat that will no doubt restore all hope in Hasbro: there is the possibility of a sequel on the cards.

Midway through Battleship, Taylor Kitsch’s Alex Hopper references a certain sci-fi franchise by telling a fellow officer that he has a bad feeling. When asked how bad, the response is, “like we’re gonna need a new planet kinda bad feeling.” It’s an unintentional moment of weird irony, for it hasn’t been that long since some of us actually saw Kitsch on another planet, one that left Disney with a bad feeling.

Universal has some pretty risky product out this year, including a “Grimm” Snow White blockbuster, a Bourne sequel without Matt Damon and a foul mouthed comedic Ted. Their biggest and most expensive is Battleship, a film based on Hasbro’s board game. The use of Hasbro’s name in the marketing seems to have resulted in comparisons to Transformers, but apart from massive machine like structures, I don’t really see the similarity. If anything, Battleship is essentially Independence Day at sea. Aliens come; humans take them out. A reference to The Art of War tries to make it look cleverer than it actually is, when really it’s as simple as sour sweets.

The film opens with a bunch of scientist types having set up The Beacon Project, which involves sending a signal to some distant planet (which they’ve named Planet G), believing that its atmosphere could house intelligent life. The signal was probably a very rude word in disguise, because Earth soon gets a response in the shape of big massive alien things that crash land off the coast of Hawaii. Naval ships taking part in an annual exercise are soon forced into action. After a force-field blocks off incoming assistance, the only one left in charge to issue orders is the rash, laid back, new-planet-wanting whipping boy Lieutenant Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), leading the attack with his destroyer, the USS John Paul Jones. 


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