May 21, 2012

Battleship Review

I'm going to be honest. Galvin let everyone down and completely failed at his duties. He has been flogged severely for his lapse and I've taken it upon myself to remedy the situation.  Does Battleship sink or is it all cannons blazing fun?

Battleship, based off of the Hasbro board game of the same name. The Navy fights against invading aliens. Silly premise? You bet. Fun movie? Overwhelmingly.

Now if you've ever been on the internet then you'll know that many people are cynical, mean, hateful, and all around pathetic examples of humanity (I'm not good at sugar coating my opinions). A prime example of this is people's opinions on movies. Now we've all seen the legions of folks that despise certain movies with a passion burning greater than three suns combined (i.e., Anything by Michael Bay). Battleship has been constantly compared to Transformers (which is a very apt comparison to make), and as such has been doubly despised by the general internet. A silly premise that has nothing to do with the source material (if you can even call it that) and it looks mightily like a certain movie series that people love to not love; poor Battleship has already got the deck stacked against it.

So how is the story? In my opinion it's decent. There weren't any plot twists or anything particularly amazing, and yes, there are several plot holes. The biggest hole for me was why the alien ships were even in the water. They traveled here from space, showed flight capabilities, and they even had ships that could fly around. Also, the aliens seem to follow a Predator style of not killing people that aren't hostile.  They quite literally see the world in black and white (although it's green and red), if it's red kill it, if it's green go find something red and kill that.  I guess they're more towards enslaving humanity, rather than destroying it or something along those lines.  Do we ever learn why the aliens are hostile? Nope, they just are. The story follows exactly what the trailers sell you. Guy joins Navy, becomes Captain, gets trapped in bubble with aliens, uses ships to fight aliens, blows stuff up. There's very little city destruction, you've pretty much seen most of it in the trailers (save for some highway related mayhem), so for the most part, the movie takes place at sea and at a tropical mountain satellite array. There are also a lot of down right silly moments scattered throughout (turns out senior citizens can throw away their walkers and pick back up working on a Navy vessel at a moment's notice).

The special effects are top par. Think Transformers, but easier to make out what's going on. Also be prepared for a lot of light effects. If something can glow, you better believe it will. The aliens have armor straight out of Halo, and a disappointingly human-like appearance. Porcupine beards, lizard eyes, and big ass fingers are about the only differences. They look fine, I was just hoping for something a bit more exotic.

So how about that acting? After all, Rhianna's in it. Well, I was born without the gland that allows you to detect bad acting. Unless someone is over the top, screaming bloody murder, “I suck at acting!”, I usually don't notice and/or give a flying feather. No one seemed to be painfully horrible, but at the same time no one jumped out at me as being overly Oscar worthy.

Here's the million dollar question. Is Battleship worth your time? I personally really enjoyed it. Yes, it was pretty much what I expected, and yes, it's what you'd call a dumb popcorn summer move, and yes, it's a lot like Transformers (by the by I happen to love the “Bayformers” movies). If you like the Transformers movies, see it. If you like Naval warfare and the whole large ships firing large cannons, see it. If you like special effects and action, see it. A complaint that people like to toss around for movies of this type is that they are all spectacle and no heart. Honestly, I'm A-okay with my movies having lots and lots of spectacle. If I'm paying to see something I can't see in real life, it gosh darn better be something spectacular. Yes, you can have both a movie that is deep and has awesome action/special effects, but just because a movie is “dumb fun” doesn't mean it is inherently bad. Every movie doesn't need to make me change my world view or be a gall dern spiritual experience like some people seem to have with so called “good” movies. A movie should entertain, and that is exactly what Battleship does.

Most people are fresh off of the Avengers, and many people are still going and seeing Avengers. Is Battleship as good as the Avengers? No. Does that mean you shouldn't even see it? If you were to follow that logic then half the population would never go to the movie theater ever again.

Score: 7.9 explosions out of 10. (Although in my heart it's an 8.)

Final thoughts.
-Friendship is actually a fairly large part of the movie. American guy and Japanese guy have to put their differences aside and so on and so forth.

-Liam Neeson isn't in it much, so don't go if you're only looking for him.

-They do make several references to the board game. The missiles that are lobbed at the humans look suspiciously like pegs and they bring up a grid system later on in the movie.

-I was incredibly surprised that “You sunk my Battleship!” or a fitting variation on the slogan was never actually said in the movie.

-Old people and handicapped people are awesome.

-Alright Hasbro, I'm ready for the MLP:FIM movie now. Nightmare Moon invades Equestria with an army of aliens. Twilight Sparkle is a down-on-her-luck drunk that has to rise up and lead a small band of rebels against the threat. Rarity is Twilight's love interest, Rainbow Dash is the comedic relief/black stereotype, Applejack sacrifices herself for no real reason other than for dramatic effect at some point, Pinkie Pie is actually working for Nightmare Moon and betrays them but eventually turns good at the movie's climax, and Fluttershy is heartrendingly killed off for the sole reason of screwing with the fans (and just after she had found the courage to get over her tragic past). Celestia flies into Nightmare's moon base, where the evil alicorn has been building a portal to allow for her army's invasion, and detonates herself in a magical atom bomb, killing herself, but saving the world. Twilight takes over as princess and the movie ends with a shot of Twilight making love to Rarity, while slowly panning out, revealing the Canterlot city scape silhouetted by the moon (now with a giant hole blown clean through it's center.), a hearty Discord laugh echoes across the land, setting up the plot for the sequel, roll credits. Throw in Lyra in a human mech at some point and Trixie being Nightmare Moon's apprentice (yes, Trixie and Twilight will duel) and then you've got yourself a grade A blockbuster. “To defeat great evil, it will take little ponies.”

-This review was aggravatingly hard.  I had to keep deleting stuff because I kept getting on angry tangents about the internet.

Feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments, it'll only make me harder. ;)


  1. *proceeds to complain about Bayformers again* XD

    But seriously, there's no way I could make the same complaints about this movie that I did for the Transformers films. Sure, the plot of this movie seems totally wacko and over-the-top, but it's not like the board game had any real characters that they could ruin. XD Anyway, I was actually planning on checking this out eventually, and I'm somewhat reassured by your statement that the action and special effects don't make things impossible to keep track of.

    Also, I have very mixed feelings about that pitch for an MLP movie... mostly because I can imagine it actually happening. XD

    Regardless of my own opinions, I have to congratulate you for an absolutely superb review. Ya know, I think it's pretty great that we have differing views on some matters like this. It makes for interesting discussion.

  2. Amusingly this movie is a lot more tolerable if you have the appropriate mindset. This exact plot was once a game. No, not that game that's in the title. This is almost the premise of Naval Ops, Warship Gunner. A modern-age destroyer gets flung into an alternate universe during the world war where seafaring aliens masquerading as imperial japanese leadership have taken over nearly half the world with increasingly X-comish battleships. Towards the end of the game battleships have traded 16-20 inch guns for macross-style plasmoid missile launchers and wave motion cannons.
    This movie is basically the end of the first act of that game, right before you (humanity) begin unlocking reverse-engineered armaments, but after the aliens have initially decided it's time to drop the subtlety and kick your ass in the open.
    Yeah, Japan loves shoving aliens into that war as much as Harry Turtledove does. ;Þ