4 years after it’s release in 2012, I have finally gotten around to watching Battleship. The film, with its origins in the Hasbro board game, is directed by Peter Berg (who also co-produced it) and was written by Jon and Erich Hoeber (whose previous work include Whiteout, Red and Red 2).
In seeking to discover a planet akin to the conditions of Earth, mankind has launched the Beacon project – a means of sending a transmission deep into space. This seemingly triggers an attack on Earth by an alien life form, in part via a gigantic space ship / sea vessel.
The film sees young navy man Lieutenant Alex Hopper (player by Taylor Kitsch) ending up in this battle taking on the alien lifeform, in a way that feels ever so slightly reminiscent of the old board game of Battleship. In addition, he is joined by the acting debut of Rihanna as a naval officer, his girlfriend Sam Shane (Brooklyn Decker) and Terrance Shane (Liam Neeson).
Yes. It is as bad as it sounds.
For those that ever watched the TV show Friday Night Lights, Taylor Kitsch always seemed like future movie star. In shifting to film, after the TV show finished, he took on two main projects both released in 2012 both in lead roles. One was Disney’s John Carter, and the second was this. Both of them were huge budget (Carter approx $250m and this around $220m) and both of them failed to meet what would have been anywhere close to the hopes of the studios.
These things alone seem to have now set the tone for Kitsch’s future of which studios were clearly so bullish about in 2012, however since has been relegated to much smaller roles. In both of these films, he’s not to blame however both were over inflated and way off the mark.
To this film, it is a perfect example of when a summer popcorn blockbuster has nothing to offer. There is little logic, sense or plan for the film which moves from explosion to explosion attempting to dot humour in between. The dialogue is woeful and however loud the dramatic score is, unfortunately you still head every word of it.
Even when attempting to be humorous, for example the line ‘Lets see if we can’t buy the world another day’ being met with the self aware response of ‘who talks like that?’ – you feel that it’s the team behind the film finding it funny and high fiving each other on just how very witty they are, rather than it being actually witty.
It is a huge CGI display and has its very clear ancestry in the work of Michael Bay.
Clearly what Hasbro Studios (hard to believe its a thing right?) was to create a similar level of success to their previous franchise launch in 2007 of Transformers and the follow ups. They’d already attempted GI Joe by this point with GI Joe : The Rise of Cobra in 2009. However the notion that they could pull off the similar success from the characters of the Transformers, with reference to a board game combined with an alien invasion seems like a bad bet.
I get their logic, they have some hugely known intellectual property, and the desire to ‘monetise’ them in different way makes a lot of business sense. News that they are working on a film version of Monopoly doesnt fill me with confidence either. The 1985 version of Clue (although an amusing take on the game) should be providing them another data point in how difficult it is to make these things transfer.
The film fires a number of shots, but every single one of them misses.