Battleship

Ridiculed at every turn for its genesis as an “adaptation” of a Hasbro board game that hardly offers a rich narrative, Battleship is in reality a fantastic summer spectacle: clever, propulsive, and expertly made by off-kilter genre wizard Peter Berg. Hostile aliens invade during some naval exercises off the coast of Oahu, set up an impenetrable dome over the region, and promptly lop the top off the chain of command, leaving a ne’er-do-well lieutenant (Taylor Kitsch) in charge of a couple of warships and the fate of humanity. Meanwhile, on the island, his girlfriend (Brooklyn Decker) and a wounded and depressed Army veteran (real life vet and double-amputee Gregory D. Gadson, perfect in the role) have to take down a satellite bay to prevent E.T. from phoning home.

Supported by an outstanding musical score by Steve Jablonsky, Berg films coherent, engaging slam-bang action — his camera alive enough to lend the set pieces a jagged immediacy, but thoughtful enough not to turn them into an indiscriminate mess of shouts and explosions. He also has a real way with the sort of facile character work that this sort of silliness demands, giving the film a workmanlike emotional backbone without cranking up the cheese factor or wasting a bunch of time. And Battleship even almost kinda works as military sci-fi, giving us the kinds of aliens I’ve long wanted to see from a movie like this. (Suffice it to say that they are not the toothy reptilian beasts we’ve been taught to expect.) Mock the flick all you want, but I had considerably more fun watching Berg destroy Michael Bay at his own game than watching Joss Whedon try to please everyone in the universe with The Avengers.

-- Eugene Novikov

7 Comments

  1. Kayvo says:

    How does this guy have a job as a movie critic? Oh yeah, some guys get paid to review movies but not to tell the truth. Good work if you can live with yourself. What a phoney.

  2. Parik says:

    Totally agree with this review – went in, actually biased against it, but was thoroughly surprised how well they pulled off a fun and clever action flick. I actually cared about the characters as opposed to The Avengers where I actually fell asleep. Battleship was a much better movie than the Avengers which was like superhero soap opera that really didn’t have any heart or barely any.

  3. Uh ... says:

    Parik, are you insane?

  4. Terry Brown says:

    I arrived late for the film I had wanted to see. Battleship was just starting so I jusitfied buying a ticket because Liam Neeson was in it. Given its scant source material, Battleship suceeded nicely for a summer entertainment. Sure, the plot was predictable, but the characters made the best of it knowing that the real star of the film was the CGI. The destruction of Hong Kong updated and surpassed Bay’s Armageddon. Finally, kudos to Gregory T. Gadson, the double amputee true life Army vet who blazes intensity, making me watch him more than Brooklyn Decker. Now that’s an accomplishment!

  5. Boggled says:

    -_- You people are astonishing. Was it fun at times? Sure. Were the explosions and ships cool? Of course! Was it clever? CLEVER? *Boggle*

  6. JZ says:

    I wouldn’t call it clever, but it made for a good popcorn movie. I just thought it was cool that an alien race would use red screens for hostile and green for non hostile. Hmmmmm. I think they could have put a little more thought into this movie. A little more background on the aliens would have been nice as well.

  7. fred says:

    @Parik – ‘Battleship’ a better film than ‘The Avengers’, man what are you and this cracked out critic smokin’ on, dude you both must be high, and i don’t mean marajuana either, haha.

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