Battleship (DVD Review)
This past week I picked up the movie Battleship. I was a bit leery buying a movie sight unseen because I have done that in the past only to regret it later. I had seen the trailers and read the reviews which were mostly negative but nothing in either the trailers or the reviews would suggest I wouldn’t like it. The last time I purchased an alien invasion movie was last years Battle: Los Angeles. I loved the trailer for that movie too. Although I generally do like that movie, it starts off very well but then degrades into a generic war movie, my experience with that film did raise my anxiety level just a bit, fearing I may have made a mistake.
I didn’t make a mistake.
This movie is a pure mindless popcorn movie. It stars Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, and Tadanobu Asano. The film was directed by Peter Berg. In many ways this movie is made in the spirit of Independence Day. It is a film that doesn’t take its subject matter too seriously. In my reviews I don’t like to give a detailed outline of the plot because that gets tedious. I will just talk about the things that I liked and disliked about the movie. I love Liam Neeson and he cuts a good figure as the domineering Admiral Terrance Shane, Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet. He also happens to be the father of Samantha Shane, played by Brooklyn Decker the love interest of the main character, Lieutenant Alex Hopper, played by Taylor Kitsch. Lieutenant Hopper is an under achiever who has to win the approval of Admiral Shane in order to marry his daughter. However, because of his attitude and predilection for fighting Hopper is about to get discharged from the Navy after the military exercises he is taking part in. However, he is saved by an alien invasion where he alone (along with a few other ships) have to save humanity.
What ensues is a special effects extravaganza. As an unapologetic lover of special effects this movie delivers them in spades and with enthusiasm. Some of the complaints aimed towards films like this are that they lack a cohesive story or plot. I don’t think that is a fair criticism. Often when people say that these types of stories lack plot development they generally seem to mean that these stories do not have complex plot twists where things that were unknown are revealed later in the film. While that may be true I do not think that more basic linear story telling concludes that the story itself lacks a plot. Sometimes the plot can simply be the journey of an individuals redemption which I feel is at the heart of this movie.
This movie, like Independence Day before it, celebrates patriotism. Samantha Shane is a physical therapist who is helping a man overcome his loss of both legs to discover he is still a whole person and capable of contributing to life. As our heroes stare death in the face and their ships are all destroyed Hopper turns to the only ship left in the area, the retired and venerable USS Missouri. With the help of aging veterans they rise above the odds to defeat the enemy showing that these elderly vets are also capable of still being relevant and valuable to society.
Those are the things I like most about the movie. There were things I did not care for but there are not too many of them. The first thing that I didn’t like was the design of the aliens. They are too human looking. They have quill like protrusions where a beard should be, their eyes are a bit reptilian and they have funky claw like hands but other than that they are very human looking. I view the design as a little unimaginative. I would have liked the aliens to have been more exotic looking. The other thing I didn’t care for in the movie is part of the soundtrack where the music of AC/DC is used. That got on my nerves in a couple of scenes. That is it. That is all I really didn’t like in this movie.
This movie is based on a board game which is also part of the reason I think people closed their minds to this project in the first place. I think the aspects of the game are woven into the movie in a very creative fashion. One of the weapons used by the aliens look similar to the pushpins that you would push into your battleship on the game board. However, when the aliens lodge these into the ship they are extremely destructive. At one point in the battle with the aliens they are unable to track them on radar so they use a grid on a map to try and find the location of the alien ships.
All in all this is an enjoyable movie. Like all movies such as this it asks you to suspend disbelief. I will admit the events in this movie are implausible. So although this movie does have a message at its heart it really is nothing more than a fast paced action adventure movie of humanity trying to survive an alien attack.
Posted on September 18, 2012, in Captain's Log... and tagged Alexander Skarsgård, Battleship (2012), Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Peter Berg, Rihanna, Tadanobu Asano, Taylor Kitsch. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.