Saturday, September 29, 2012
Remember that board game called Battleship you used to play? Chances are you still have it in the closet or basement. Remember how long and strategic the game was, to the annoying and famous phrase "I sunk your Battleship!" and that sense of accomplishment when you sink an aircraft carrier? Now imagine a movie based on it. Looks like Hollywood or Hasbro for that matter is desperate for ideas that they're grabbing a board game with no plot behind it whatsoever. Instead of being a smart military action movie, it has a light-hearted tone and tries to be 'fun' like Independence Day or the Transformers movies. Now take a step back and think, what could be the antagonist for this movie? An opposing battleship? Apparently someone thought otherwise. Apparently someone thought....aliens. ETs would make the perfect antagonist for a realistic board game called Battleship. Instead of it being a realistic military sea movie, it's a science fiction story, because hey, when you think of Battleship, you think of aliens. This review is for one of the biggest bombs of the year, it didn't help that it was released around two weeks after Marvel's The Avengers, a much, much superior film. I read a 0 star review for this film in the newspaper a few months back. After watching it last night, I can definitely say this film is one that should be avoided. If you're thinking of watching it, there are tons better in the genre.
Making a story from a game with no backstory is no easy undertaking...or is it? Since it's pretty up-in-the-air you can do almost anything with it. Key word here is almost. Aliens does not go with Battleship. It would be like adding gremlins to the inevitable Parcheesi movie. They could have made it work with a much better script and a more serious tone, but it didn't go that way. With that said, the interesting story revolves around a battleship that comes in contact with unidentified object. Soon the world is in panic when China is struck by some objects, and not long after this whole thing becomes an 'extinction level event.'
So how about the opening act? You know what I like about it? It's a good thing to look at when wondering what not to do. This may be just the worst opening part I've ever seen in a movie. Words cannot describe how awful, cringe-worthy, and a slap in the face to the people who paid $12 to see it. Basically, it's the main character's (Alex Hopper, portrayed by Taylor Kitsch) birthday and he and his brother (Stone Hopper, portrayed by Alexander Skarsgard) are at a bar when what the film considers to be the 'hot girl' walks in. Naturally Alex goes to her and finds out she wants a chicken burrito but the kitchen is closed. So our pal Alex rushes to the food store across the street. He then comes to the horrifying realization that the store is closed. Then what follows is some of the worst comic relief I've seen in a film. He breaks into the store, albeit falling several times and looking incredibly silly. Then he runs out holding two chicken burritos with the police after him. He gets tasered...but keeps on going while saying things you would find in a SyFy channel original movie. Then he gets tasered a second time. I can understand if at the moment people walked out of the theater feeling ripped off. So...how about those battleships?
If it's one good thing that can be said about this film, it's the amazing special effects. There are some truly outstanding effect sequences, such as the alien attack on China. Lots of explosions in this film. (This is basically a Michael Bay film, minus the more questionable humor...for the most part.) The only effects scene I had fault with was the cars on the bridge, you can tell they were all CGI. Regarding the aliens, a lot of the 'hype' was on them. In the trailer it looked like they would have a pretty cool design. The armor itself is pretty awesome, but take off the helmet, not so much. Also add to the fact that apparently these guys aren't truly hostile. It's hinted at, but the film does a poor job of explaining it. There seems to be a deeper reason of why they're here, but by the end, nothing is explained. We're left with yet another alien species with no backstory or is even that tough. After Skyline, Battle: Los Angeles, and The Avengers, it's getting a little tiring seeing such canon fodder creatures. If you somehow stay after the credits, you'll find a scene that's an obvious cliffhanger for a sequel. (And since the film did so badly, you can say farewell to that.)
Overall, I'm usually very open when it comes to science fiction movies, I'll watch them all with an open mind. Even if they're poorly made films, (have to bring up Godzilla vs. Megalon) if they're fun, then they're watchable. Sadly for Battleship, it doesn't quite have that ridiculous fun factor, it's just a bad movie all around. The acting is bad, not even funny bad, just bad. The special effects are fantastic, this very well could deserve best special effects of 2012. There are some pretty dramatic scenes in the middle attack, with the attack on China being an incredible scene. Sadly the aliens are unexplored in their motives. It works for a film like Battle Los Angeles, but here the film goes out of its way to hint that these guys aren't truly hostile Xeonmorphs. But in the end, nothing is explained. Thinking of watching Battleship? Skip it and go watch a much better film in the genre, such as War of the Worlds, Independence Day, or even Battle L.A. Maybe the Candy Land movie will be good.