BATTLESHIP | FILM REVIEW
by Alan Young
This weekend I took a trip to the cinema to review "Battleship" which is loosely based on the 'Hasbro' board game of the same name. An alternate solar system has been discovered and in this solar system there seems to be a planet similar to Earth in the sense that it is just the right distance away from it's sun to sustain life. Upon it's discovery, a device is built and fired into space in the direction of the planet in an attempt to communicate. Years pass and suddenly mysterious machines, conveniently during a naval gathering, land in the waters nearby. Once again it will be up to a small group of people mainly made up of American Naval operatives to save the world.
As you may be able to tell from my tone, I went in to this expecting a generic, boring, end of the world piece of garbage. Even just now, typing up a short synopsis has lulled my eyes in to shutting over. One of the few things giving me hope was the cast; the ever competent Liam Neeson who I have seen carry average films in the past; and Rihanna. Not that I expect anything special from her, at the very least she would be aesthetically pleasing.
As the film started however I started to believe that this might be more than a 'Transformers' re-hash. The prologue and first 30 minutes do a decent job of setting the scene and I genuinely laughed. Taylor Kitsch had a strong opening playing a fairly similar base character to Riggins in 'Friday Night Lights'. I am genuinely worried for him, both of his feature debuts have been big budget and aren't attracting great praise. Don't let this fool you! He is a talented young actor with a great future. His convincing performance actually puts in to some doubt where his character goes. I mean the Navy aren't known for taking lazy degenerates in to their ranks. As the film goes on and we see the attacking aliens and their space ships if you will, I found myself reverting to the cynical guy that first walked in.
I'm not going to go in to too much detail on the acting performances as they seriously weren't the problem with this film. The directors did a good job with Rihanna it has to be said. Not in a Michael Bay, Megan Fox way, but forcing her to act. The way she was dressed never allowed her to be solely remembered as an object of desire. Now I'm not saying she was fantastic and that this is the beginning of a bright new career, although her performance was solid given that her character could have been lifted out completely with no massive effect on the film. Neeson was solid as always and Jesse Plemons also an FNL graduate put in an acceptable performance.
Overall the film tasted like a bad movie cocktail. Recently released we had 'The Hunger Games' which was really comparable to a lot of other films and worked really well. So it is ok to take ideas from other films and use them but you have to pay homage to them almost and really make the most of them to succeed. 'Battleship' for me was 'Transformers 3' with a 'Top-Gun' mixer and an 'Independence Day' chaser. All in all I'd rather have melted and drank the DVDs on the other hand I can see the appeal for the younger generation. Big explosions a couple of beautiful woman and there is a truly heart-warming side story of a Naval Officer who had lost his legs. There just wasn't enough as a whole to recommend this. I feel they should have been able to achieve more with the acting talent and the alleged $200 million budget that they had to work with. Kids will enjoy, the adults that take them will suffer through this arrogant American pile of cheese. I will give it one thing though. It got me thinking about what board games could be good films . . .