Today's subject is Battleship, a movie coming out in 2012 from Universal. If the title makes you think of the game, congratulations. Hasbro wanted to see a lot of its properties get the movie treatment after the success of the first Transformers movie. It has worked (My Little Pony--Friendship Is Magic), it has misfired (Transformers 2), and it's been okay at best (G.I. Joe). Hasbro decided to move ahead with board games such as Payday and Battleship, and here's out first.
Let's first take a look at the papers for this puppy. The movie is directed and co-written by Peter Berg, who gave us The Rundown, Friday Night Lights, and Hancock. It's written by Erich Hoeber and Joe Hoeber, who gave us Red (which I rather enjoyed) and Whiteout (uh-oh). It stars Alexander Skarsgard, Liam Neeson, and Brooklyn Decker. $250 mil budget. Two trailers are out, the most recent coming out today, and we have a poster.
The plot suggested by the movie seems to not only be paint by numbers, but also brings back memories of the underrated Wing Commander movie. There's an alien presence hiding under the ocean, and a US Naval fleet in the middle of war games stumbles across it. Our Hero, the second in command of the flagship, is in love with his CO's daughter, but his boss doesn't think he's good enough. Then the aliens emerge and enclose the fleet in some sort of force field bubble, confining the area. They take out the commander of the flagship, leaving Our Hero in charge to repel the alien threat. There's also a scene where one of the aliens, dressed like X-O Manowar, actually gets on one of the ships. What plot information revealed says the movie shows things from both the humans' and the aliens' points of view, and neither knows where the others' ships are.
The trailers are selling this as Transformers 2.0. The giant robotic things, the sound effects as they move, a rolling mine that spouts a tail to take out a helicopter that lifts off over it. The characters aren't exactly characters so much as plot devices (as soon as Our Hero asks who's in charge, I knew someone would say, "You are" and how they'd say it, and I was right). As for Brooklyn Decker? Well...it's a good thing she has tits, because she can't act worth a shit in the trailer. A scene of her glowering at Our Hero as he goes out to sea looks pouty instead of whatever conflicting emotions are going through her. Then again, considering the first trailer shows as its first image her stretching out on top of Our Hero on the beach as he tells her how he's going to ask her dad if he can marry her...well, like I said, she has tits.
It looks like more noise and special effects. I'm hoping for at least some of the humor that made Red an enjoyable popcorn flick, but do the writers even have a consistent outline to follow, or are they making it up on the fly as the producers come back with data from research groups? A movie based on the Battleship board game could work if it was done in the style of, say, Sink The Bismark! But I don't think that's the approach they are going for. I mean, transforming aliens, and they can't locate the ships of an American fleet in their own containment area?
It looks like typical of your modern summer movies, where the plot is only there to hang a bunch of action sequences on. If I see this, I might bring earplugs, since I suspect this is going to get really really loud. But it doesn't look like anything I haven't seen before.