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Battleship (2012)

A movie directed by Peter Berg

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Hey! Where's the "You Sank My Battleship!" Line?

  • May 19, 2012
Star Rating:

Peter Berg’s Battleship is better than the Transformers trilogy in the same way that having a cold is better than having the flu. And yet it’s very much cut from the same cloth as Transformers, not just because both feature outer space robots but also because both are noisy, thoughtlessly inundated with action and special effects, and generally free from any semblance of plot, character development, or theme. I guess one should expect nothing less when the basis of an ad campaign is not, “From the director of....” or, “From the writer of....” or even, “From the producer of....” but rather, “From Hasboro, the company that brought you Transformers.” I’d mockingly call this movie Transformers 4, except that Michael Bay is already at work on it. You have no idea how excited I am right now.
Beginning as a two-player pencil-and-paper guessing game in the early twentieth century, Battleship was eventually acquired by Milton Bradley and updated to feature plastic grids and pegs. The object of the game was to deduce where on the grid the enemy ships lie and sink them by firing missiles – which is to say, by calling out a grid location and marking it with either an X or a peg. After several decades and variations, and even after Milton Bradley was taken over by Hasboro in 1984, the one constant was that the game had nothing to do with space aliens. The only conceivable reason the film features aliens invading Earth in big, clunky machines is because Transformers and its sequels feature the same thing, and they have all been tremendous box office hits. If there’s one thing nobody likes, it’s a ripoff. If there’s one thing I personally can’t stand, it’s a ripoff of a franchise so unendurably awful that just thinking about it makes my blood boil.

Battleship, like most big-budget special effects extravaganzas about invaders from outer space, opens with trite, meaningless scenes establishing character – or, more accurately, caricature. Taking place in Hawaii, we meet brothers Alex and Stone Hopper (Taylor Kitsch and Alexander Skarsgård), the former a reckless and unmotivated slacker, the latter an officer in the United States Navy. Alex tries to impress the girl of his dreams, Samantha Shane (Brooklyn Decker), by breaking into a convenience store for a chicken burrito. This results in him getting tasered and arrested. Although this does adequately get Samantha’s attention (the two immediately fall in love), it lands him in hot water with his fed-up brother, who forces him to enlist in the Navy under the command of Samantha’s father, Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson). Alex has talent, and yet he continually wastes it with his antiauthoritarian behavior.
As this is being established, we learn that NASA has discovered a planet beyond our solar system with a climate virtually identical to Earth’s. Believing it could contain intelligent life, a communications array capable of sending a signal up towards an orbiting satellite is set up on one of the Hawaiian islands. One of the scientists, who factors into the story later on, remains pessimistic: “It’ll be just like Columbus and the Indians. And we’re the Indians.” Sure enough, five alien ships arrive in response to NASA’s signal. One crash lands in Hong Kong, causing glorious destruction. The other four land in the waters just off the coast of Hawaii, where RIMPAC naval exercises are underway. One of the ships, a monstrous robot entity, encapsulates the entire state of Hawaii and several battleships under a dome-like force field. Admiral Shane is trapped outside, whereas Alex and Stone are trapped within.

And so begins scene after scene of relentless alien attacks and human resistance. I won’t describe the bountiful displays of extraterrestrial technology. The ads have done a pretty good job of that already. For the first time, Alex must be in command. Part of this involves learning to get along with a rival Japanese officer (Tadanobu Asano), who eventually comes up with the idea of tracking the alien vessels’ movements with strategically placed tsunami buoys. Meanwhile, on mainland, we learn that Samantha is a physical therapist for wounded soldiers. Her newest patient, an embittered amputee with prosthetic legs (real-life amputee and Army veteran Gregory D. Gadson), are hiking on a hill on Oahu when the invasion begins; they team up with the aforementioned scientist and try to stop the aliens from reaching the communications array. The aliens themselves are tall, bipedal beings with catlike eyes and pale skin.
All will eventually depend on the museum ship USS Missouri and a mighty band of retired Navy veterans who, despite being geriatric, are still patriots through and through. This is depicted in an inappropriately humorous light, as if having served your country was something to be mocked instead of revered. Indeed, the story is a bit too dependent on comedy relief. We have, for example, Rihanna as the badass weapons expert, who contributes nothing apart from military posturing. We also have a subplot involving Alex being afraid to ask Admiral Shane for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, yes, a couple of battleships do in fact founder. No, at no point does anyone shout, “You sank my battleship!” Considering the game Battleship is based on, that was one detail the filmmakers probably shouldn’t have omitted.


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May 19, 2012
I had to give this some props for doing something out of nothing. It sure wasn't good, but it could've been a lot worst. This was really thin in characters and story. Nice explosions but no content behind it all.
May 19, 2012
I think we're completely in agreement here.
More Battleship (2012) reviews
review by . May 19, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
All Hands on
Let’s get some things straight. A movie based on a board game sounds theoretically stupid and honestly, I have to wonder what the filmmakers behind the 2012 film “Battleship” were thinking when they decided to make a film out of the concept of a board game. Ok, the game was fun in its own way, but obviously this movie was meant as a marketing ploy to sell a new video game or maybe re-launch the Hasbro board game. So if you are expecting something special and creative, then it would …
review by . May 16, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
         By Joan Alperin Schwartz   'Battleship' directed by Peter Berg (Hancock) has a poorly constructed script, ridiculous dialogue, cardboard charcters and it's really, really loud.        It does have bad ass aliens and some exciting visual effects, but that is not enough to save this $200,000,000 fiasco.      When the film opens, we find out that a group of …
review by . May 18, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
No doubt when people heard they were coming out with a movie based on the board game Battleship there were a lot of eye rolls and heavy sighs. Director Peter Berg of Friday Night Lights fame and the writing team of Jon and Erich Hoeber, who also wrote the Bruce Willis movie Red, heard the heavy sighs and decided to roll with it. If people are already going into this movie thinking it is going to be ridiculous then why not just go full tilt. Battleship is an overly computer …
review by . May 18, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
There is More Entertainment Playing the Game Than in Watching the Movie
Basing a movie off of a videogame is often a risky proposition. For every “Resident Evil”, there at least a dozen others that are out and out disasters, “Mario Brothers”, “Wing Commander”, and “Double Dragon” are a few examples of how not to do it. While Hollywood shows no signs of stopping videogame adaptations anytime soon, game development companies are becoming more savvy with allowing their products to become movies and are requiring uality …
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Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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Battleship is an upcoming 2012 Fantasy, naval war film based on the Hasbro game of the same name. The film is being directed by Peter Berg and will be released by Universal Pictures. Starring in the film are Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna and Liam Neeson.
The film was originally planned to be released in 2011, but rescheduled to May 18, 2012

A story of an international Navy fleet engaged in a very dynamic and intense battle against an alien race known as "The Regents". The aliens come to planet Earth, on a mission to build a power source in the ocean. Upon their visit, they come in contact with a navy fleet. The film is also purported to show both sides of the story, from the aliens' perspective, as well as the humans' so the audience knows exactly where the opponent's ships are.

The estimated US$200 million project was to begin filming in Australia's Gold Coast in 2010, but the production company changed locale due to a lack of Australian government tax incentives.

Filming is taking place in the United States on the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Oahu, as well as in Sherman Oaks, California to do a few apartment scenes and in Playa del Rey, California where they will film a driving scene along with a shootout.[10] Battleship will also be filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States. The Science & Entertainment Exchange provided science consultation for the film.[

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Director: Peter Berg
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, War
Release Date: 18 May 2012 (USA)
Screen Writer: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
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