Movie Review: Battleship
It’s a board-game movie, so I don’t think anyone has their expectations especially high, though the only other board-game movie I can think of off the top of my head is Clue, and it was fantastic. And Connect Four, but I think that’s a porno. Seriously, we all kind of knew this wasn’t going to be that good.
Anywho, the plot can be deduced from the trailer: Aliens come down and get nasty with the Navy, leading to an all-out aquatic assault. Wedged in between there is a love story involving a plucky, up-and-coming Lieutenant Alex (Taylor Kitsch) and the daughter (Brooklyn Decker) of the fleet Admiral (Liam Neeson). There’s more: Alex’s brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgard) is a Commander aboard the destroyer USS Sampson, while Alex is aboard the USS John Paul Jones. Alex wants to marry his girlfriend but is worried about asking her father. The girlfriend is a physical therapist helping out an amputee.
They’re all stationed in Hawaii when the aliens strike and set up a forcefield that contains their own ships, USS Sampson, and USS John Paul Jones, as well as Japanese destroyer Myoko. Sampson and Myoko are destroyed, and a series of coincidences leads to Alex taking command of John Paul Jones. There’s so much more, and if I keep going on, both of us are going to get pretty bored, and I’m likely to drop some spoilers that will no doubt get me attacked in the comments. There honestly isn’t much to talk about other than summarizing plot development after plot development after plot development after…
I don’t think there’s ever been a movie I’ve reviewed wherein I took so many notes and yet had so little to say. It’s just plotting after plotting and exhausting. After the first 45 minutes, I just wanted to go home.
But I do have to note a few redeeming features. Chief among them is the piling up of coincidences that gets from Point A to Point-We-Need-to-Put-Everything-on-a-Grid-and-Have-the-Ships-Firing-Blindly-at-Each-Other-Because-This-Is-the-Battleship-Movie. And the way they do it is pretty clever, that is, there’s a self-awareness to it that plays up its many contrivances for laughs, particularly the ending, which is so placatingly ridiculous that you can’t help but admire it.
However it can’t sustain the film for beyond an hour, and the love story isn’t engaging. There’s a few compelling action sequences, particularly one moment involving an anchor, but, damn, this thing is 131 minutes, pretty short on action, pretty lackluster in an interesting plot (which goes on for ever and isn’t interesting), and it commits a cardinal sin, because Spoiler, if you’re going to call a film Battleship, you are obligated to have a certain line in that film, and it’s not. And yet “chicken burrito” is. What the Hell?
Battleship is rated PG-13. Directed by Peter Berg. Written by Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber. Starring Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna, and Brooklyn Decker.