Battleship – 2012
Director Peter Berg
Starring Liam Neeson, Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna, Tadanobu Asano, Peter MacNicol, Adam Godley, Hamish Linklater, Gregory D. Gadson
Screenplay John and Erich Hoeber
Early on in Battleship, there is a moment when a very large vessel is raised out of the water. The ship, recently landed on Earth is jutting out of the water hundreds of feet high. Over 5 minutes or so, we see three Naval warships creep up on it. As one small boat gets close enough to board, we look up with the camera to see a massive amount of water falling down off of its sides.
“Where is all of that water coming from?” my wife asked.
As if on cue, we see the camera pans up its length and we water coming out of…nowhere. Through out the rest of the film no matter when or where we see the ships, there is always a large amount of water falling down all of its sides from nowhere. It must have looked great in 3 dimensions, though.
There’s not a lot that makes sense in Battleship. Little rolling chain saws are sent throughout the Hawaiian mainland destroying everything that may be a threat, but then the aliens decide to send their men to a ship looking for dangerous parts to destroy. Why not destroy the ship in its entirety, like they did the other two that were with it? To ask such a question is to waste one’s time. These aren’t the same existential questions that graced the screen for Prometheus. Quite the opposite, in fact.
In this movie, the geek (Linklater) is disheveled, cynical, cowardly but with several tidbits of information that are helpful when the plot demands it. The foolish leading scientist guy (Godley) is arrogant and has a British accent. The arrogant younger brother (Kitsch) is foolish and “just crazy enough” to make it work. Whatever “it” is. His hot Admiral’s daughter (Decker) is a physical therapist for an overlooked segment of the military. His brother (Skarsgård) follows rules. He’s not much use here. The Admiral is Liam Neeson. He does what Liam Neeson would do in a film like this.
There is some funny, touching and cool looking stuff in Battleship. It is surrounded by cliché and testosterone, just like any Bruckheimer or Bay film. The idea that they could tie such an action beefcake fest to a bloodless game of strategy is more than a bit of a stretch, but by the time they got to that part it no longer mattered much. Lots of loud noises, plenty of flashes and explosions and a plethora of buddies helping one another to steer clear of wreckage.
The best thing about Battleship is the idea of no one and nothing being past it’s time of usefulness. To share more would ruin what little surprise that anyone who hasn’t started the film. What I can say, is the AC-DC Thunderstruck part of the film is the best part of the film. Not just because that song kicks ass, either. Forget that none of it is possible. In the movies, anything is possible so long as you have the right song playing and enough special effects.
(*** out of *****)