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Battleship: review

“Battleship” (2012)
Directed by Peter Berg
Starring Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson
Running Time 131 Minutes, Rated PG-13
1.5 Mitch’s out of 5
Mitch Hansch/ movieswithmitch.com

You’ve sunk my perfectly good afternoon.

Do cliches float?  The answer is a big wet no.  From the Hasbro board game you loved as a child comes the film adaptation that nobody asked for.  Propelled by models and rappers posing as actors who spout out some truly gaudy dialogue. Hasbro and Universal shelled out 209 million to make the film, but you'll have more fun spending the 15 bucks on the board game.  

Taylor Kitsch, who’s no stranger to 2012 big budget duds (John Carter), stars as Alex Hopper, the usual slacker with loads of unused potential.  After a chicken burrito incident that gets him a would-be-felony and a girl, played by a would-be-actress Brooklyn Decker, he’s yelled into the Navy from his older straight-edged brother, cringingly played by Alexander Skarsgård.  Next thing we see, Alex is somehow far advanced in the Navy but still a troublesome manchild, whose girl wouldn’t you know is the daughter of the Navy’s top Admiral Shane, played by one of the top tough guys Liam Neeson, who has less than 15 minutes of screentime but I’m sure collected a hefty check.  

Then, just like the board game, aliens invade our seas and it’s up to our Navy’s best...kind of... to save humanity. Director Peter Berg keeps things fast and explosive, but at an incredibly bloated running time and cornball drama. Many of Bergs set pieces are played like Martin and Lewis antics, trying to get yucks but run amok.  

Maybe this makes me a bad person, but Bergs decision to cast actual disabled vet Gregory D. Gadson, who has no previous acting experience as disabled vet Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales and who has more screen time than Neeson, was a very poor move.  Intended, I’m sure, to give respect to the brave individuals who risk their lives for our freedom (which did register with me, but only for a moment) I was consumed by how bad of an actor Gadson is, not to his fault since Berg set him out, but bad nonetheless.  Berg’s patriotism is admirable but doesn’t come off with the motive intended, proved in a later painful-to-watch sequence as obvious real life vets are used for a sequence to get the long retired Battleship “Missouri” back running.      

It’s often thought that these kind of escapist films are only as good as its villain.  In that case, “Battleship” is dumb, very very dumb.  An alien race that has far superior technology and wages war on planet Earth, but has the military prowess of a caveman.  Their weapons, including a massive Sonic-like destructor ball could easily wipe out all in it’s path, but the visitors have no method to their madness by opening strike against some vessels and leaving others alone, only, of course for that to come and bite them in their alien behinds.  

The aliens war strategy is kind of like if it were me versus my mortal enemy. Let’s say he has 1000 knives at his disposal, but he put them in the hands of a 1000 angry babies to defeat me.  I’d like to think I would win, but there are so many questions right?  Why would my mortal enemy trust in angry babies to kill me, and why are these babies so angry, and who did I piss off enough to send knife wielding infants my way, but that’s my point here.  Director Peter Berg and writers Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber use that kind of reasoning in their protagonists.

“Battleship” is everything a summer popcorn movie shouldn’t be.  You like popcorn, that’s great, so do I, so do yourself a favor and go see The Avenger’s for a third or fourth time.  By the end of the film I was smacking my ear, trying to get the water out.

By the end of the film I was smacking my “this”, trying to get the water out.


Deuteronomy 31:6

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Reader Comments (1)

You're not a bad person. While hiring a real army man makes more sense than hiring models and singers, directors have to make sure they know how to use their experiences to emote. I'm guessing ACT OF VALOR has worse acting.

August 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVits

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