Saturday, May 26, 2012


Prepare yourselves, as I'm armed and ready to defend Battleship. First things first, I am not a fan of the movie Independence Day, and if you think that bit of information alludes to the fact that I'm going to be using that movie as a basis for comparison, then the concept of foreshadowing is one that is not lost on you, congrats. Battleship set sail on theaters a little while back, armed to the teeth with special effects, aliens, and explosions, yet was met with the unfortunate momentum of the summer movie juggernaut that is the Avengers, and thusly sat dead in the water after the weekend ticket sales numbers came in. Being the morbidly curious individual that I am, I had to see for myself if it was just because of the Avengers, or if Battleship was indeed as awful as the numbers indicated. At first, I feared the worst and thought maybe everybody had been right about this one, but then the aliens surfaced, and I couldn't help myself, I turned off my brain, strapped in, and went for the ride.

This will likely be the absolute shortest synopsis for a movie plot that I have ever written, which as you may have surmised is why I'm padding this second paragraph with this fluff about how short it will be. When scientists discover a distant planet, approximately the same distance from it's sun as we are from ours, they made contact in the hopes of discovering life. They succeeded, and unfortunately for Earth, the other planet answered back.

As I reported, Battleship stumbles a bit out of the gate. The first 30 minutes or so are almost painful to watch, with cliche after cliche, some bad acting, bad dialog, and very little to actually like. It was enough to make me think I had made a horrible mistake, and made me fearful for the next 90 minutes, thinking the trailers had shown me all I needed to see after all. But when the alien shit finally does hit the Earth-fan, Battleship starts living up to it's potential in spades. Once the action starts, there's maybe 10 minutes of total downtime in the remainder of the movie. It's non-stop, good old alien on human violence, and it's absolutely gorgeous. Most of the budget went to the special effects, and they are jaw droppingly amazing. The aliens look awesome, the ships look awesome, and there's enough shit exploding to give Michael Bay a boner that even Viagra would be proud of.

As to why Battleship will likely be viewed as a failure in the long run, as I mentioned before right now the theaters are being absolutely owned by the Avengers, and rightfully so. It's going to take a combination of both time, and probably something just as big like The Dark Knight Rises to finally dethrone Marvel's monster hit. But that can't be the only reason Battleship hasn't performed as expected, and I can't help but feel like maybe if this movie had been called ANYTHING other than Battleship it would've done better for itself. There's automatically going to be a bit of a sense of hokines expected when you tell people your movie is based on a boardgame they played when they were kids. It works for other things, like video games, and might even work with more exciting premises like Dungeons and Dragons or the like. But Battleship? The game with the ships, and you call out number/letter combos hoping you hit your friends hidden ship? Lame. I wonder how many people completely disregard this movie for that reason alone? I'm willing to bet more than a few. The thing is, Battleship is actually entertaining, and is every bit as good as Independence Day which took over the world when it hit theaters, which honestly I've never understood anyway as I've said since the very first time I saw it that Independence Day is one of the most over-rated films I've ever seen. They're essentially the same movie in almost every way, except Battleship mainly takes place in the water, and most of Indy's action was in the air. Oh, and Will Smith, but if his being in a movie is the control you use to judge whether a movie is worthy of your attention or not, please feel free to never visit my blog again. The other difference is that Battleship has all the benefits of using present day technology, and therefore really brings it visually. It's light years ahead of Independence Day in this regard, and yet Independence Day is likely going to be viewed as a superior film when all is said and done. Bah.

Apologies for the Independence Day mini-rant, I just really don't like that movie. Battleship is one of those movies that comes around every summer, big budget, big action, big effects, and not much more. All that's required to enjoy these movies is some popcorn and your ability to turn your brain off for a couple of hours and feast your eyes upon the retinal porn on display. That's right, Battleship is like porn for your eyes. When all was said and done, and the credits began to roll, Battleship had been a success, at least in my eyes. It did exactly what I had hoped it would do, it entertained me for a couple of hours. It has all the trappings of your typical summer popcorner, it's as paint-by-numbers as you can get, but when the paint is as pretty as Battleship's, sometimes that's ok. Do not dismiss this movie just because of the name, if action flicks are your thing, this is definitely worth checking out.

1 comment:

Maynard Morrissey said...

finally a decent review! I already thought me and CineMarvellous are completely nuts LOL
It may be stupid, it may be pointless - but I don't care. I had sooo much fun in the theater. All the CGI, the explosions, the one-liners, the AC/DC tunes etc. Hell, I loved this movie! :)