Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Studio: Battleship Delta Productions
MPAA Rating: PG 13
Director: Peter Berg
Review Rating: 7
During a rare joint exercise and training mission between the American and Japanese navy and military in Hawaii, alien technology attacks and Earth is forced to defend itself!
The film is done in a very Michael Bay style, replete with explosions and twisty metal bits that shift in midflight awesomely everywhere, and sadly we end up watching the film in a very Bay fashion too. That is, like Transformers 3 for example, half the movie is spent in superfluous dubious humanity, where the hero of the film is screwing up and we’re supposed to care, all the while waiting for the mind boggling alien tech and the BOOMS! we just know are coming. They better be, since we’re sitting through this tearjerker stuff tacked onto a movie based on a Hasbro military strategy game, ok?
So in an unprecedented move, the navies and militaries of America and Japan decided to have joint wargames and whatnot, here in Hawaii. There’s a lot of hoo-hah about Pearl Harbor, that sort of thing. And sure, there’s more or less friendly competition between all involved, which of course leads to strife between our American protag Alex Hopper (did anyone else get shades of Hot Shots with that name?) and his Japanese counterpart Yugi Nagata, acted by Taylor Kitsch and Tadanobu Asano, respectively. All that is completely forgotten when, in the midst of games and training going on amongst the navies, some alien tech falls out of the sky and, I kid you not, sets up the playing field so noone can escape, and then proceeds to play Battleship with, well, everyone.
These are the moments that make the movie worth watching, despite knowing what it’s based on. Not Liam Neeson barking orders as Admiral Shane, despite my love for the man. Not singer Rihanna either, I hadn’t even known that until I saw it in the credits. Not Alexander Skarsgard as Commander Hopper either, he’s still yummy anyway. No, when the alien tech proceeds to split apart into four separate water units, each one striped with a different neon color, OMG just like the boardgame, that’s what we want! Or like when the alien tech proceeds to start firing on the earth forces, these giant pegs that dig into our ships hulls and explode mightily soon thereafter – they’re shaped like giant versions of the pegs one uses to “sink my Battleship” in the board game, ha! The rolling spikey balls of alien tech doom are a bit much, as are the flying planes, since neither one has a thing to do with the boardgame, but hey, they had to keep the audience’s attention somehow. And while I did enjoy the revamp and use of the retired floating museum, being piloted by the rather old war veterans who’re the only ones who remember how, I find it a bit hard to believe that all that badass alien tech could be destroyed like that. However, we’re so far beyond reality with this movie, just sit back and laugh – don’t pick it apart or expect it to be realistic in any way.
And yes, sorry to disappoint those of you expecting it – very little about the alien tech that caused these games in the first place, is revealed at the end of the movie. We’ve won the game, here’s a ceremony for all the men and women who get approbations and such for defeating the alien tech, annnnnd the movie’s over. Aw. For the most part, I actually enjoyed the film, one just needs to remember not to think of it as any kind of dramatic cinema, but rather a romp through Berg’s twisted imagination that made a boardgame into a movie!