Many hours of memories fill my mind when i hear the word, Battleship. Memories of plugging little plastic ships onto a pegboard, plugging away the coordinates of my ships into the massive mainframe built into the futuristic electronic Hasbro wonderland, and finally pitting wits with my arch nemesis’ as we destroy each others fleets.
So when Hasbro announced they were making a movie about the very game that had inspired millions of kids, young and old, into pitched strategic warfare, i thought… Are you mad?
But yet our cinema screens were filled with a visual trailer feast that is Battleship. Apprehension filled the air as everyone skeptically wondered… Just how bad is this going to be? or could it be pure genius!
Right from the outset you can say one thing about Battleship… There is some impressive special effects. You saw them in the trailer, and i am pleased to say they are the tip of the iceberg. It does get better.
Special effects to one side, what is it all about. Well you follow the back story of Alex Hopper, down and out no hoper slow going no where with life and generally getting into trouble at every turn. After one too many bad choices his brother Stone Hopper takes charge and drags his brother into a Naval career. While Alex is a talented leader, his selfish and undisciplined character plays against him and his chance to marry Samantha Shane, the daughter of the Fleet Admiral, played by Hollywood ‘A’ lister Liam Neeson.
So with threads unraveling for Alex Hopper, and others around him, he is thrown into the middle of a battlefield against an alien enemy of unknown origin and seemingly limitless power. Without giving away too much more of the storyline moving forward the scene is set for an epic against the odds battle.
Ok… Lets step back here a little. The writers for this movie had a reasonably limited pallet to draw upon. A game of plastic pegs, ships and a grid of numbers and letters. So it was fairly much open to broad interpretation, and it would be fair to say the plot decided to take a wander off into the distance, beyond the pegboard… searching for that illusive patrol boat (it only takes up two slots).
So is it awful? is it the movie we all feared it could become… No not entirely.. Its actually a superb visual feast of special effects and action. There are many things that were done well, the Aliens being primary among that list. The references back to the board game are subtle, which i think was a clever move and showed great self control by the director and writers (no one ever says “You Sank My Battleship”).
I would have to say that Taylor Kitsch as the leading man, Liam Neeson as the tough as boots Admiral, Rihanna & John Tui (he’s a from here) as crew members all made the acting palatable and entertaining. The rest however did feel a little like they were paid with crackers, cause they really didn’t move me.
Watch out for a cinema inducing chuckle as the battle heads towards its last ditch effort. Actually was quite clever, a nod to the champions of World War II and a little cheeky (if not cheesy).
In terms of movie of the year this is not going to get a nod. The storyline has more than a few awkward plot holes and some of the acting was rough around the edges. It does deliver with massive special effects and action scenes that entice you to engage. If anything, this movie is squarely for the blokes who leave their brains behind.
If you’re looking for a dumb action flick:
If you’re looking for a storyline that makes sense:
Reviewed by: Urbankiwi