Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber
Based on: the game
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Liam Neeson, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, Peter MacNicol, Hamish Linklater, Tadanobu Asano
Alex (Taylor Kitsch) and his brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgard) are like night and day. Stone is in the navy, responsible and earnest, while Alex is perpetually drunk, chasing women and in trouble. But after a particularly bad incident during which Alex meets Samantha (Brooklyn Decker), he tries to get his life in order and joins the navy as well. A while later Samantha pushes him to ask her father, Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson), for her hand, just as a huge naval war game exercise is about to begin. But then aliens hit the earth right in the middle of the exercise and Alex finds himself not only fighting for his maybe-father-in-law’s recognition, but for the earth itself.
I expected so much of Battleship. I thought it was going to be one of the most entertaining movies of the year. And it does deliver – in everything but the action scenes. But since they comprise most of the film, the whole thing starts to drag a bit.
As long as there’s dialogue, the movie is everything it cracks up to be. It’s dumb, just trying to give you oneliners at the fastest pace it can manage and its incredibly fun. While I’d contest that introducing the hero of the story as a complete fucking idiot – and then leave out the character development where he gets is shit together at least for a little bit (though, seriously, nobody buys that promotion to anything resembling a commanding position) – that scene was brilliance in slapstick and wonderfully set in scene.
But I have to admit that the Transformers aesthetics of the CGI (and the sound design) just didn’t work for me. Whenever it came to the actual action, I got extremely bored. Once I even fell asleep for a couple of minutes, even though those scenes were way too loud. How could they have made alien attacks that unexciting?
And it was also a complete shame that this movie was directed by a man. So the only scene where Alexander Skarsgard isn’t wearing a shirt is shot from behind, far away and through a soccer net. And I really wanted to read Taylor Kitsch’s tattoo but it was practically impossible because we just didn’t get a real leisurely look at his chest. Instead everytime Brooklyn Decker shows up, she gets the “slow sweep across all her curves” move.
It’s not that the movie isn’t entertaining. And I was quite surprised when they almost managed to incorporate “Battleship” in a very small way. But my expectations about its entertainment factor were just way too high.
Summarising: There is fun to be had, but it could have been so much more.