Genre: Sci-Fi Action
Premise: A fleet of Navy ships must confront and battle a lethal alien invasion at sea.
Behind-the-Scenes: Based on Hasbro’s popular board game – always a questionable basis for a film. Cost over $200 to make, and stars Taylor Kitsch – his second such project of the year after John Carter. Peter Berg (Hancock, Friday Night Lights) directs.
The Good: Delivers dumb escapist summer fare for undemanding audiences. The big budget shows on screen with some epic action set pieces. Berg keeps the pacing taut and knows his way around a studio-engineered film designed for ultimate mass appeal. It’s a better option than Dark Shadows or The Dictator.
The Bad: This is studio product, pure and simple. It’s not artistic or ambitious, and it wastes the talents of its cast and crew, making Berg look like a Michael Bay wannabe. Battleship basically plays like a parody of a summer blockbuster, only for real and not for laughs. You can sense the story beats well in advance and the movie’s script is easily broken down as follows: 1/2 hour for half-assed character introductions, 1/2 hour for first big action sequence; 1/2 hour for developing the “story” and explaining the aliens; and 1/2 hour for the big action finale. Berg honors the veterans and real-life Navy heroes, but did he have to cast some of them in key roles? There are not one, but two moments in the film when one character says something to the effect of, “Take this Motherf…” followed quickly by an explosion that cuts off the swear word.
Should You See It?: Only if you have a soft spot for big dumb blockbusters and don’t mind Hollywood taking your intelligence for granted.
Rating: **1/2 out of 5 stars.