“Battleship” hit theatres this weekend, but did the movie sink or swim?
Director: Peter Berg MPAA Rating: PG-13 Studio: Universal
In an apparent attempt to salute its namesake Hasbro board game, the big-screen version of Battleship has been constructed of plastic and cardboard. “Recommended for ages 7-14,” indeed. The movie is also red-blooded, supremely stupid, gargantuan and a laugh-out-loud noise machine that’s a solid bet for early summer silliness at the movies. If you’re into that sort of thing, that is.
The loose plotline (blamed upon RED screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber) has something to do with alien visitors wreaking death and destruction upon our planet while the fate of mankind hinges on the heroics of a short-fused, dimwitted, soulless rebel-without-a-clue naval officer, played with meant-to-be-serious macho frowning by Taylor Kitsch. Directed with sound, fury and, we hope, a sense of parody by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Hancock) this interplanetary alien can of whoop-ass clearly aspires to be a kind of Independence Day or Transformers. Having mayhem and wreckage as the featured specials on the menu (Boom goes Hong Kong! Kaboom goes a whole navy fleet!) leaves little screen time for dialogue (mercifully) or characters (even more mercifully). Alexander Skarsgard wastes his mojo playing Kitsch’s straight-arrow fellow navy man brother, Liam Neeson gets marooned as an admiral who can’t seem to tame his Irish brogue, drop-dead gorgeous Brooklyn Decker looks sensational as Kitsch’s sexy physical therapist and Rihanna, in her movie debut, does just fine as a navy weapons ace. Best of all, though, is Hamish Linklater who plays a nerdy, neurotic scientist with comic know-how.
The whole thing boils down to brave navy personnel lobbing torpedoes at aliens, although nobody on board appears to be taking any of it seriously. At least they give the audience belly laughs, explosions and cheesy aliens. What, you expected more from a movie based on a toy?