Battleship (2012)

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 3.4/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 4/10

BATTLESHIP (2012) - Peter Berg

Before the first World War, there existed a monumental guessing game called "Battleship." It consisted as a pencil and paper game designed for two players. Both players are given five ships total (aircraft carrier, battleship, submarine, destroyer, and patrol boat) and must place them in any random coordinates. The goal of the game is to destroy all of your opponents ships before he/she destroys yours. It is a game of strategy and luck. Years later, this popular 1940s game was converted into a board game involving ship pieces and hit marks. To this day, "Battleship" remains as one of the most classic and compelling games ever. Now let me ask a perfectly legit question: How do you take a board game like "Battleship" and turn it into a movie?

The first curiosity that struck to my head was the storyline. A movie based on a two-player game, then what can the story possibly be about? The answer is the appallingly cliche word that the movie industry today has used countless times to avoid a plausible narrative: Aliens.

Battleship comes forth similar to another Michael Bay film, a thinly written movie with loud explosions and a parade of visual effects. It revolves around Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), a US Navy Tactical Action Officer who bears a horrible reputation for "screwing himself over." Working for the commander of the fleet, Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson), Alex and his crew discover what appears to be alien ships emerging from the water. The film follows the fleet of ships attempting to destroy this incoming alien invasion.

Taylor Kitsch, previously seen in John Carter, is as stiff as a rock here, with one consistent expression throughout the entire movie like another Jason Statham. Though Rihanna delivered a surprisingly decent performance, I still would like to know who came up with the idea of casting her. One sigh of relief is that at least there is no song performed by Rihanna heard in the soundtrack. Good work, Jablonsky. Liam Neeson is middling, not because of his performance, but because of his acts being restricted by horrid screenplay.

For a movie that is designed just for entertainment, would you believe me if I tell you that not one single alien is seen until approximately forty minutes in, not to mention a lame forty minutes? With an elongated running time to develop characterization, Battleship quickly exposes its first flaw: the writing. The dialogue is flat-out sloppy, blunt, direct, and un-sophisticated as if written by a middle school student. With this dreadful attempt to create a story underneath this silliness, Battleship surprisingly takes forever to get going, have its conflict take flight. With a poorly executed screenplay, Battleship already lost my interest within fifteen minutes, let alone forty to introduce the aliens. After hitting the 30-minute mark of interest, one would already grumble, "Just get them out there already and fight the aliens. I don't want to hear this story anymore. It's boring, stock, and uninteresting." The worst thing about Battleship's narrative is that once the aliens actually do appear, one would no longer find it exciting, because the previous forty minutes have already bored them to a stage of weariness and even sleepiness.

The humor is not funny, sporadically placed, and scattered throughout with no connection nor fluency. It is a mishmash of misfires. Everything a narrative can go wrong goes wrong here. Furthermore, if one has seen the trailers, one might have predicted that the aliens were hiding under the sea for years. Looks like Peter Berg gave us the wrong impression, for the aliens show up and crash into the sea in the movie at the present day. One might argue that I am giving out a spoiler, but I am honorably giving this information to, as I call it, "warn people away."

In conclusion, Battleship does not sail for long. There is a spectrum of action-packed flicks that serve no plot, only nonsensical noise. They have only one goal: to throw "cool stuff" at the audience and have them lose a few brain cells willingly. Sometimes they are tolerable, entertaining forms of cacophonies. For a movie like Transformers, at least there is something to "ooh and aah" about. Take away the limping story in Battleship, and the rest of the film stands like one of those flicks. But it does not achieve that goal either. Even at an entertainment foundation, it wobbles back and forth like a rookie circus performer balancing on a tightrope. Even with impressive visual effects and set pieces, they could not save Battleship from its cinematic formula and horrendous dialogue. In terms of a film, from the words of Peter Travers, "It is all noise and crashing metal," and in terms of the original classic game, this film was a complete "misfire."

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