I wasn’t sure how they could possibly turn a board game into a movie, and now that I’ve seen “Battleship” I’m convinced that it can’t be done—very well, at least. What’s next, Jenga: This Time It’s Personal? Two-plus hours of soulless claptrap and joyless cacophony of twisted metal, AC/DC songs and angry aliens does not a movie make. I’d like to suggest a new title, “Shock and Awful.”
Based on the Hasbro board game Battleship, the movie begins when scientists discover a nearby planet with an atmosphere similar to Earth. When they make contact, instead of a hi-how-are-ya they are greeted with a full-on alien invasion. The only person standing between them and is Lieutenant Alex Hopper
(Taylor Kitsch), an undisciplined officer unwillingly thrust into power.
“Battleship” is one of those alien invasion movies in which you hope the aliens win. It takes forty minutes or so to get to the attack, and by then you are so tired of the Hopper Brothers (Kitsch and Alexander Skarsgård), the stoic admiral (Liam “Paycheque” Neeson) and his daughter Sam (Brooklyn Decker) that you pray the aliens (big lizard-eyed creatures in Iron Man drag) will make short work of the bunch of them so you can leave the theatre and do something productive with your time. Like watch paint dry. Or cut and apple in half and watch it turn brown. Both are more fun than “Battleship.”
The actors aren’t exactly to blame, however. Even though Taylor Kitsch blands it up and Rhianna continues the grand tradition of singers-turned-actors-who-should-stick-to-music, they aren’t helped by a script that plays like a greatest hits of every action movie script that came before.
Cliché Chart Toppers? “I didn’t sign up for this!” (That’s the action movie equivalent of the old guy line, “I’m too old for this…”) “I got a bad feeling about this!” (Kitsch says this after the aliens have destroyed much of Hawaii, so either he’s the King of Understatement or this is the worst written movie of the year.)
Also, can we call a moratorium on electric beams that shoot into the sky, opening portals to other planets? We’ve seen that in almost every sci fi movie in recent memory and it is an effect way past its expiration date.
“Battleship” is exactly what is wrong with summer movies. It’s unnecessarily long, unnecessarily loud, unnecessarily bombastic… just unnecessary. Like the alien attack in the movie, you don’t just watch this movie, you endure, hoping to survive another day.
You know who sunk this battleship? Director Peter Berg, that’s who.