PG-13, 2 hr. 10 min. Directed By: Peter Berg. Release Date: May 18, 2012.,
This is going to be a long post. Battleship created an internal debate the likes of which I haven’t seen in a very long while, and before the movie was over, I felt like those two old guys from the Muppets, which is not a look (or feel) I’d want to keep. It was better than I’d thought it would be, but not as good as I would have liked, and I’m not entirely sure I “liked” the movie, although there were parts I thought were great. I’m going to split this into two mini-reviews: the first my head reaction, the second my gut, because my responses were wildly conflicting, and I feel the need to explain why.
So, without further ado:
If you are a “film snob,” a fan of fine acting, melodrama, well-crafted story lines or plots, have ever served in the United States Navy, or wanted this to actually have something to do with Hasbro game outside of a fifteen minutes of action, then you’ll want to avoid this like they’re giving away the herp free with your ticket purchase.
I’ve coined the term “fawful” using the same hybridization that birthed “fugly,” and fawful is the word to describe the entire cast. Taylor Kitch, Kirshc, Kutcher, whatever his name is very obviously more comfortable with those roles where he can talk about his abs. Rihanna spends the entire movie running and mugging the camera in the same way she does on her album covers. We all know (except possibly for Chris Brown) that she thinks she’s a badass, and it’s already way played out. Even Liam Neeson, who has only a few intermittent minutes of screen time is terrible, barely trying to have an “American” accent. I kept flashing back to that Family Guy cut scene where he uses words like “fortnight” and “meter.”
If you’ve been in the Navy, even if you were (like me) a concrete Sailor, you’ll realize there’s a whole lot about the shipboard operations that was off. You realize that someone like the younger Hopper brother doesn’t get arrested for B&E and end up an officer in a few weeks, no matter what else is in his background. You also realize that he’s looking at something like three to five years of service before he picks up his train tracks. The movie makes it seem like he just appeared as a full lieutenant, which was ultimate fail.
The special effects, both the pyrotechnics and the “alien” tech are pretty awesome. The combat sequences are better than I would have hoped for given the inspiration. The aliens themselves were terrible. They were somehow too human, even though they were only humanoid. I also have to wonder why a people who are photosensitive would be incapable of making technology that didn’t generate so much light. A winning choice was also made to not take this movie so seriously. The first 20 minutes or so are hysterical, and the dialogue helps the cast poke fun at the movie throughout. There was even a "you sank my battleship reference" in addition to the one I shouted out about thirty minutes in.
It was nice to see both the military and the VA painted in a positive light. It’s been a few years since we’ve seen either body portrayed with its successes in mind, rather than its failure. I didn’t love my six years of service, but I do believe in the mission, and I think we get so caught up in bringing out the worst of our fighting men and women that we sometimes forget about the fact that they risk their lives for us when the need arises.
I’m a secret patriot, despite my country’s flaws, I love it. I’ve said that before. This movie shows us at our idealistic best. I got all emotional a couple of times, the first one being when the vets show up. I do LOVE those old guys who can talk about WWII and Korea. I was also pretty happy to see that they didn’t make light of the… “VFW” style of veterans that we see around; the ones who still wear the wedge cap and their old uniforms. I suddenly wish I had enjoyed my time in enough to keep a uniform (I always did like the working dress whites), and I also wish they hadn’t waited until the year after I separated to make cammies the new working uniforms. D’OH!
Battleship has some great moments, but it isn’t a great movie. It might be fun for the kids, but note that there’s a LOT of violence, and a lot of aliens stalking up on humans, determining if they’re going to be killed or not. Use your best judgment.