Hit? Or miss? That depends. Although I could easily see how Battleship could be a miss, I’m going with hit. What I said a couple days ago regarding The Dictator applies here: in order to enjoy Battleship‘s voyage, you’ve gotta realize early that you’re expected to simply accept whatever’s on screen, no matter how unbelievable or absurd, and (to cite Brooklyn Decker’s previous film) just go with it.
For example, in the prologue we find out that Taylor Kitsch’s slacker character is forced by his older brother to join the Navy. Huh? Um, all right… so where are the aliens?
If you’re expecting an intelligent or profound thought-provoking film, you’ll probably hate Battleship, and it’ll definitely be a miss. But if you go in as I did (something to the tune of seeking a Transformers fix, leaving your thinking cap off, sitting back, and waiting for the noisy light show to begin), it could be a hit.
Most people liked, if not loved, The Avengers. However, a couple of my friends didn’t; one of them described Marvel’s superhero extravaganza a “hot mess.” Well, if that was a hot mess, I dunno what he’d call Battleship, a movie based on a blind-fire spray-and-pray board game that’s minimally dependent on strategy and instead favors luck. They just made a two-hour film out of that, so what’d you expect? A plot? The movie obviously didn’t take itself seriously, so why should I?
Battleship is the best Michael Bay film not directed by Michael Bay. Peter Berg, who’s shown before that he can present spectacular action (The Kingdom), sails Battleship under Hasbro’s Transformers-dominated umbrella. So many things reek of Eau de Michael Bay: contact with aliens, the template characters, the scope, the score (composed by frequent Bay collaborator Steve Jablonsky), the soundtrack, the corniness, the jokes, the robotic loud noises, the kinetic metallic sci-fi, the slow-mo, the shrapnel-heavy explosions, even how Berg posed Brooklyn Decker seductively (hey, no complaints there though). All that was missing was 3D, which undoubtedly would’ve been cool.
Despite the long held similarities with Transformers ever since the first trailer, Battleship separates itself from Hasbro’s most popular film franchise in a valiant but cookie-cutter charge to blaze its own path and series. Anybody who’s played the board game will appreciate Battleship‘s references to its source material. Okay, there are only like half a dozen allusions, but then again, Battleship‘s originally a freaking board game, not an action-figure line with a proven TV series and comic books as Transformers and G.I. Joe were.
It may be another generic alien invasion movie that screams Battle:
Los Angeles Hawaii or Independence Day as it unites former enemies against a common new one, but Battleship is the epitome of a summer blockbuster popcorn flick: no brains, all brawn, all fun. Speaking of which, the seemingly forced stardom of Taylor Kitsch is exemplified in Battleship. It’s kinda like Ryan Gosling last year. If you missed John Carter of Earth’s six pack earlier this year, here it is again in your face, Twilight-style. And in case you miss Battleship, I bet you’ll get another chance in the upcoming Savages. Rihanna makes her cinematic debut with her best Michelle Rodriguez impression, and Liam Neeson just says sh!t in a gruff voice.
But nobody who wants to see Battleship cares who’s shouting the orders or pumping lead into aliens. You board Battleship, an honorable mention on our list of most anticipated movies this year, to watch a symphony of destruction. And if you decide to go, don’t abandon ship as soon as the credits roll. Make sure you stay for the extra scene after the credits for a significant stinger. Battleship gets 3.5 out of 5 stars or B or Good.