Title: Battleship
Year: 2012
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Play time: 2h 11min
Director: Peter Berg
Screenwriters: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson 

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

Seeking in movies meaning and reflection in real-time. On the look out for biography, thriller & drama best pieces.

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