Did you actually know there was a movie version of the classic board game Battleship? The movie was in and out of American movie theaters so fast in 2012 I wouldn’t be surprised if all you’d heard were whispers on the wind and rumors in the dark of night. But let me assure you Boils and Ghouls there is a Battleship movie, it is a horrible cinematic venture, and I have seen it… several times.
I remember, more or less, when and where I was when I learned they were making a Battleship movie. It was 2010 and I was working at Bethany Village back when the job was still a good one as opposed to feeling like a modern day share cropper—figuratively speaking of course… I ain’t no farmer. Anyway I was listening to Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman on their podcast Hollywood Babylon when they announced the development of the movie. I was completely gob smacked. Hollywood was bereft of new ideas or even clever reimagining’s of older products that in 2009 and 2010 they started licensing board games older than I am.
Let’s think about this for a second shall we?
With all the available television, written fiction, and comic book properties available to be licensed someone actually thought Battleship was the way to go. Seriously… they thought Battleship would be the next big hit. Don’t believe me? The movie had a budget of over 200 million dollars! Seriously I can’t get a mother fucking Dark Tower movie and Battleship had a budget of over 200 million dollars!?!
Okay, sorry about that, I just needed to blow off some steam.
So I didn’t see Battleship in the theater, I’m no fool – sorta - and I knew the movie would suck. Apparently I wasn’t the only one either because it made less than 8 million dollars during its American opening weekend. But I didn’t download it either. I’m not a fan of piracy and have very rarely illegally downloaded movies, television, or music… I never would have if Sherlock had been released to the American market in a timely fashion either. Nope I bought the DVD the week it was released.
In some ways it was the best $14.99 I ever spent. I slipped the disc into my computer when I was supposed to be working and let the horrible glory of Battleship wash over me. From frame one to the painful and predictable post credit sequence I was entertained and flabbergasted by what I saw.
The awfulness was glorious.
The film was directed by Peter Berg, and stars Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna, John Tui, Brooklyn Decker, and Tadanobu Asano. The movie was distributed by Universal Pictures. Battleship grossed 300+ million worldwide on a budget of over 200 million. So I guess that technically makes it a success?
Here is the premise of the movie. In 2005 scientist somehow discover an alien planet they name Planet G. Personally, I would have named it planet Ali G but that’s just me… nope fuck it I’m calling it Planet Ali G from here on out. The scientists determine Ali G is earth like. I have no idea how they did that back then since we can’t actually do it now but whatever. They wait a year and then for some reason decide to send a signal back to Planet Ali G. While this is happening in another movie our hero Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) gets arrested while being a jackass of frat boy proportions to get in the pants of Sam Shane (Brooklyn Decker). She’s the daughter of Admiral Terrance Shane (Liam Neeson). Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgard) Alex’s brother and a devastatingly sexy naval officer gets him out of the clink and shames him into joining the Navy.
Then we are thrust six years into the future, or as we called it then present day.
Apparently in the six years Alex has become an officer, although he’s still a massive tool, and has been assigned to the American destroyer USS John Paul Jones. It was right here where I wanted to know where my battleship was. His brother is in command of another destroyer, both ships are part of a joint naval exercise, and the two brothers are butting heads because Alex is on the verge of being discharged from the Navy.
I question any military organization, which would have this punk as a member.
But before the brothers can fight or kiss (there’s some serious homoeroticism there) five alien spacecraft arrive. You see that message NASA sent to Ali G was received and the people there decided our world looked nicer than theirs, that might be true since we NEVER get a motivation, and come to take it from us. Long story short they seriously fuck up the world and hand the human race our collective asses. A bunch of ships are sunk. Alexander Skarsgard is killed (and don’t doubt I screamed obscenities at the screen when that happened), and the Mothership projects a force field over the area trapping some ships inside and some outside of it.
For some reason on the big island of Hawaii the aliens have taken over the observatory where the signal was sent from and killed the grad students there. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?! Anyway there is a whole B story on the island where Sam and a retired Army dude have to take the facility back and stop them broadcasting or some such shit. Actually the aliens attacking earth are a scouting force and they are attempting to make contact with their main invasion force. I have no idea why they don’t have an appropriate transmitter on them but there you go. I have to be honest I don’t care about this, all I want to see is fighting and as I’ve asked before WHERE IS MY BATTLESHIP??? So yeah I won’t be returning to the B-Team story, but suffice it say the movie keeps cutting back to them to its detriment.
On the water there’s more fighting, dipshit Alex captures one of the Ali G-Oids. More fighting, Rihanna tries to act, there are a lot useless attempts at pathos, we get a butt load of dues ex machina about sonar buoys tracking the aliens, and we actually get some cool visuals from the dumbass Ali G ships.
Let’s take a second to talk about the alien ships and technology.
The Ali G-oids crossed interstellar space with a battle fleet. They laid waste to the world from above. They are clearly several centuries ahead of us in technology. Yet they land their ships in the water and sit there to play patty cake with a fleet of primitive human ships. This would be like a nuclear aircraft carrier fighting the entire Union Fleet from the civil war, yeah they might have a one in a million chance of taking the aircraft carrier out but it’s not likely.
So the John Paul Jones takes out the remaining alien escort vessels only to be completely slagged by the Mothership. Luckily this all happens when a ceremony to honor the USS Missouri and her retired crew was going on and they are on hand to bring the old girl back online. I know the idea that they could un-mothball the ship in a few hours and get her fighting is ridiculous on the level of a turtleneck over the nose protecting Jeremy Renner from nerve gas, fuck you 28 Weeks Later, but I don’t care. I finally have my other fucking battleship!
What follows next I immagine is the most contrived and wonderful battle sequence where the USS Missouri hands the alien Mothership its ass. Okay not really, it actually damages it enough to bring down that force field and the fleet outside finishes it off but damnit the battleship pulls off some impossible and amazing manures! The Japanese officer Alex has been feuding with, yeah it was horrible C-storyline, comes through for the little prick and Admiral Liam Neeson lowers the hammer on those Ali G sons of bitches!
After the battle Alex is promoted, he has his “moment” with Liam Neeson where he asks for Sam’s hand in marriage, and all is right in the world until the post-credits scene. Three teenagers and a handyman in Scotland discover a crashed alien pod. When they open it, an alien hand reaches out, and they run off in terror.
DUN DUN DUN!!!
This movie is god-awful. It is in fact one of the worst films I’ve ever willingly sat through. And yet I love every awful second. The movie looks good, not 200 million good, but still it’s a pretty flick, and director Peter Berg knows how to make a good looking flick. Taylor Kitsch sells his role as Alex, I think he really put everything into his performance and almost makes the idiotic character believable.
As for the other characters, well Brooklyn Decker puts in a solid performance and I wouldn’t say no seeing her in more things preferably with a better script. Liam Neeson and Alexander Skarsgard are collecting a check and it’s painfully obvious. They both seem incredibly bored and I expected them to turn to the screen at any moment and ask us why the fuck they were there. Still, in the end they were not the worst thing.
Let’s finish this with Rihanna.
There needs to be a law in cinema. Every script must have a role written for Rihanna, it can be cut but the scenes must be filmed under threat of torture. She may be the worst actress I’ve ever had the joy to experience. What makes her so bad is I truly believe she thinks she’s at the least a competent actress, if not a good one. Watching Rihanna under act and over act in the same scenes is one of the greatest spectacles in movies… she needs more work.
And that’s it for this one. Next time we’ll tackle another bad movie I love. I won’t tell you the title but I will say there will be a lot of dancing… so much dancing.
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