Thursday, June 07, 2012

Battleship (2012)

So Took the family to see Battleship.  By the trailers and the coming attractions it looked like fun.  I know, I know you're thinking why go to a movie that is based on a game of all things.  Well one it was hot, and two I thought the boys would get a big kick out of it.  Plus the director was Peter Berg, and I'm sort of a fan of his.  He's come a long way since being an actor on the TV series Chicago Hope.  I did like the movie The Kingdom, and I thought he was a pretty good action/adventure director.  In Battleship Berg pushes the genre and comes up with a solid action piece.

Is the movie fun?  Yes when it gets going.  It does take a bit for the movie to get going.  In that time we are introduced to the characters.  A lot of them are one dimensional, but we all have seen these character types before so we're all familiar with them.  There are the two brothers.  One a screw up and the other the serious one.  Alex Hopper is played by Taylor Kitsch, and he does a pretty good job at fleshing out his character.  His brother is commander Stone Hopper is played by the handsome and talented actor Alexander Skarsgård.  I would have liked to see Alexander Skarsgård more in this movie, but he becomes the sacrificial lamb in this movie.  What happens to him propel ls our hero Alex to reach deep down and become that hero we need.

Brooklyn Decker plays Alex's love interest and to make matters more interesting she is the daughter of Admiral Shane played by that talented and accomplished thespian Liam Neeson.  Neeson has some good scenes in the movie, and it would have been fun to see him in more, but when he is in a scene he commands the screen.  There are other supporting characters which I liked too.  Rihanna plays petty officer Cora "Weps" Raikes, and she's the gun totting navy grunt we really come to love and root for.  A lot of the actors are actual Navy personnel so Berg draws from this and makes the film feel authentic.

Like "Top Gun" this movie seems to be a recruiting poster for the Navy.  Seeing all the ships and the personnel made you feel that this is a sort of documentary of Navy procedures, and Berg makes good use of the Navy's help.

The story is simple.  Somehow we find this planet orbiting deep space and see that it may contain life, so we begin to broadcasting signals to it via our radio telescopes or dishes based in Hawaii.  Somehow the message is received and the aliens show up, and they seem to be pissed.  They create a force field where most of our ships can't get in, but three do, and on these ships are our characters.  I don't want to give the whole plot away because that's just not cool.  Needless to say we humans put up a good fight, but against a vastly superior foe we take our losses.

Now why the game "Battleship".  Well why not?  In the midst of the movie the aliens and the humans play a sort of real life Battleship.  Coordinates are called out, and to Berg's credit he makes the scene work.  You so want the humans not to get it and it's a turning point in the movie where we draw alien blood.  I'm not a BIG fan of tie ins, but it works here and my boys seemed to get into it.  They were rooting and cheering on the good guys.  In fact so was my wife and I, so you can say we got caught up in the action of the film.

Now comes the particular part of the movie that got me.  The good guys seemed doomed, and all seems lost, but the writers and filmmakers have a surprise for us, and all I'll say is that just because somethings old doesn't mean it can't work.  Berg again uses actual veterans of the old Battleship to fight the aliens, and it's exciting.  Put a lump in my throat as I saw our older veterans manning the guns and fighting the bad old nasty aliens.

So did I like the film?  YES!!!  We all had fun, and were very excited at seeing the action unfold before our eyes.  Is this a perfect movie?  NO!!  There are a lot of holes in the film.  One is why don't the aliens just blast the ships and go for their objective.  There would be no story of course and the humans would be annihilated, so no movie.  Also there seems to be something missing.  Taylor Kitsch character makes contact with one of the aliens and it seems to share his memories or thoughts.  In those thoughts it looked as though the planet where the aliens are coming from is being destroyed.  Taylor Kitsch characters says that he doesn't have a good feeling about the aliens "thinking that it's a planet extinction event".  Well first off the aliens behavior seems to be hostile from the get go, so I think his epiphany of the alien's intent is a bit silly.  Also the aliens don't fire when they are not targeted. and we see their point of view as they do not target ships moving away or not targeting them, so the filmmakers hammer this away at us through the alien POV.  The question I have is why?  If they want humans to die why not just blast them and be damned.  They did in one scene, why not in the other scenes, so you can see the inconsistencies. I think that through editing a piece of the story is lost, and that maybe WE humans are responsible for destroying some of their home world. Maybe its to make the aliens more benevolent and not so cut throat.  Hence the non targeting of ships not targeting the aliens.  Then again I could be wrong, but there seems to be a hole here in the story, and I just thought there was a piece missing to the story

That all aside.  Battleship is a GREAT popcorn movie.  You boo the villain and champion the hero's, and in a movie like Battleship that's all you care about.

Seeing it on the screen is fun, and the explosions and mayhem is cranked up loud as a summer movie should be.  I recommend it and I look forward to Berg's next feature.  He certainly knows how to play the genre well.