Having seen all three of the “Transformers” movies and enjoyed them as the summer movies they were (meaning little plot, lots of explosions), seeing the trailers for “Battleship” made me a little skeptical. They had the same sound effects and big metal aliens reminiscent of the other Hasbro film products, minus the loveable Bumblebee and Josh Duhamel.
Taylor Kitsch, coming off the box office bomb that was “John Carter,” sought redemption with the action oriented summer flick. Had it not opened against the might that is “The Avengers,” he might have succeeded. The movie had great reception overseas, already having $200 million in revenue before even hitting the States. But it was not to be, and “Battleship” opened to a lackluster $20 million weekend.
The movie follows Alex Hopper (Kitsch), who, after an embarrassing debacle concerning a burrito and the Admirals daughter (Brooklyn Decker), is brought into the Navy by his tight laced older brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgard). He is now dating said Admirals daughter, and is looking to chalk up the courage to ask the Admiral (Liam Neeson) for permission to marry his daughter. After failing to do so, the Navy departs on their annual naval exercises with Japan.
During all this, scientists have discovered a planet that is capable of sustaining life similar to our own, and have developed the technology to attempt to contact it. One of the lead scientists expresses his discomfort via analogy, comparing humans and aliens to Columbus and the Indians, with humans as the Indians, and facing a potential threat.
The scientists receive the desired result, although not in the form they imagined. Contact being made, the alien planet has sent ships to Earth and, after making a mess of Hong Kong, encounter the Navy in the Pacific Ocean. After creating a massive force field that cuts off three ships from the rest of the group, the action begins.
When a casualty causes Alex to take a good look at himself, humility suddenly dawns upon the sailor. With a lackluster plot, something can still be taken from this movie.
The third act is clearly defined, and when members of the older generation must step up and serve their country once more, it begins the end for our unlucky visitors.
Singer Rihanna makes her feature film debut here with a multitude of one liners, and I was definitely entertained by Seaman Jimmy Ord, played by Jesse Plimmons, a costar of Kitsch’s from ‘Friday Night Lights.”
The movie is a little over 2 hours, and while the alien invasion premise is getting a bit overused, the humanoid look of the aliens is a fresh take. Never once did they say the famous phrase from the commercials (You sunk my battleship!) although they did try and incorporate something like it into the movie.
Had this been released later in the year, perhaps it would have done better, but facing off against Earths Mightiest Heroes and their brand of alien butt kicking, let’s just say… they sank the Battleship.