Turning a board game into a big-budget summer blockbuster was always
going to be a stretch. But Hasbro the company behind the cinematic
juggernaut Transformers series thought they had locked on to a winning
formula for their adaptation of their best-selling board-game
Battleship…namely ditch Michael Bay for the supremely talented Peter
Berg, add aliens and throw shed-loads of money at the screen. And it
almost works…

The plot such as it is sees Taylor Kitsch play the lovable aimless
reluctant hero. Drafted into the Navy after a drunken stunt to impress
a girl goes awry he soon rises up through the ranks as his natural
ability overshadows his confrontational nature. Meanwhile scientists
have discovered a new planet light-years away that might just contain
intelligent life. Sending a message to this planet they are seemingly
unaware of the potential consequences, that ET might answer and drop
by. Back in Hawaii the Navy is gearing up for a massive military
exercise when our new “friends” decide to pay a visit. What happens
next is man v alien in a spectacular battle of technology and wits for
the control of the planet…

So lets start with Kitsch. The poor boy never can quite get a script
close to that of his breakout TV role in Friday Night Lights. He’s a
likable guy, who does his best with the material and can handle the
action sequences with aplomb. He is however overawed by Alexander
Skarsgard, who manages, in a significantly smaller role, to show why
he’s better equipped for leading man duties than his John Carter
starring cohort. Liam Neeson gives another in his trademark gruff
father figure performances. You never get the feeling that he’s
exerting himself, but that’s okay. Rihanna casts aside her
singer-cum-actress background and manages to give as good as she gets
playing with the boys. Brooklyn Decker never equates to more than
eye-candy and the rest of the actors are all given screen-time but no

As a feat of technical film-making Battleship is a tour-de-force. It’s
visually stunning with obvious state of the art effects and seamless
CGI for the most part. The alien technology is beautifully rendered,
although the aliens themselves leave a lot to be desired. Likewise the
movie slows to a crawl during the misconstrued slow-mo weapon loading
sequences, which serve to remove the audience from the action rather
than immerse them in the spectacle. Aurally the film is amazing, way to
loud, but the sound design itself is full of merit. The soundtrack
works well in places, less so in others. The liberally used rock
classics that magnify the action are well timed, as is the wonderful
interjection of the Pink Panther theme. Sadly it all comes apart when
we get to the script. The story is woeful, with under developed
characters serving only to spout unnecessary exposition and act as the
most needless array of clichés seen in many a year. Even by the
standards of sci-fi films based on board games this is ludicrous. Berg
has a good eye for action but even he can’t help but channel his inner
Michael Bay when it comes to blowing stuff up. Given a couple more
months to develop the script, a good edit job and 40 less decibels and
we’d have a real contender on our hands here.

As it stands Battleship is a completely mental, completely bombastic,
completely stupid summer blockbuster. A missed opportunity perhaps but
maybe just what the doctor ordered if you like your movies loud, crass
and Americatastic.

About The Author

Managing Editor

Founder and Managing Editor of Scannain. Head of Business Affairs at Treasure Entertainment. If found please return to a cinema. Always willing to lend a hand to an Irish film, actor or director in need.

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