This one's worth skipping.

Taylor Kitsch and for some reason Rihanna in 'Battleship'.

Preposterous; tends to annoy

I must admit that basically making a film based on a board game and inexplicably throw in aliens, is such a uniquely preposterous idea that it almost, in a way, turns around and becomes a clever way of getting people to attend your movie. I mean, if you heard that someone was seriously making Chess: The Movie – Invasion of the Daleks, would you go see it? Hell yeah you would.

But there exists merely one scene in Peter Berg‘s Battleship that is actually going to remind you of the similarly named board game and you may or may not think it is a clever little twist. The rest of the film, though? How is it? Let us examine.

The plot – after NASA sends a powerful signal via a deep space sattelite to what appears to be a very Earth-like new world, the mysterious planet responds by sending six crafts containg warriors on an attack mission, for reasons I don’t think the film elaborates on very well. Taylor Kitsch is our protagonist Alex Hopper, idiot brother of naval Officer Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgård) who makes him join the navy in order to make something of himself. Stone forces his brother do this after the latter flirts with a psycho therapist named Samantha (Brooklyn Decker), who happens to be the daughter of Vice Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson).

In the navy, the still bumbling and undisciplined Alex makes some new friends, including Petty Officer Rakes (Rihanna), Ordy and Beast (Jesse Plemons and John Tui) and later Captain Nagata (Tadanobu Asano), a Japanese Commander who starts off as a rival of Alex’. Eventually it turns out that Alex joined the navy just in time for the alien attack and after the extra-terrestrials commence unleashing Hell upon mankind, costing the life of many, Stone included, fate decides that it is the moronic Alex who has to command a small crew stuck on a destroyer to victory over the non-human enemy.

Aliens attack - because just adapting the game into a straightforward 'Crimson Tide'-esque war film was a no-no.

A bit of side-story involves Samantha and one of her patients, the leg-less Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales (Gregory D. Gadson, a real life amputee), climbing to the observatory on Hawaii, where the aliens have established a base. They meet an eccentric astronomer named Cal (Hamish Linklater), who helps them infiltrate the observatory to stop the hostile visitors from sending another signal to their homeworld.

The aliens look like cave trolls encased in Halo-armor. They’re not the bombastic monster-looking aliens we see in Super 8 and Cowboys & Aliens, nor are they these really intelligent, mysterious aliens who show up in films such as The Abyss. I’m never quite happy when we see aliens who clearly have advanced technology and all sorts of intelligently designed machines, whilst the creatures themselves are either monsters or, as in Battleship‘s case, somewhat Hulk-ish.

Battleship, though not as horridly bad as it could’ve been, is annoying, repetitive and at times illogically written. The uncomofrtably Michael Bay-ish action scenes are fun for a while until they become hard to sit through, the inexplicable overuse of lense flare is hard on the eyes and, as usual, we don’t get to know the aliens or their backstory so much. Now, the performances. Kitsch’s character may have more depth and backstory here than in John Carter, although he was cooler in that film. Liam Neeson is enjoyable but not used enough. Rihanna is alright, despite little to work with. I suppose the acting can be fairly referred to as “okay”.

Something that is geniunely good about Battleship is its genuine suspense. Towards the film’s climax, in spite of its annoyances, I was invested and felt actual excitment. In that sense, it is nicely written. It has surprisingly good humour too. All in all, though, Battleship is nothing special. Again, not as dreadful as it had potential to be, but it will induce a few headaches and unpleasant Transformers 3-flashbacks.

A post credit scene indicates the possibility of a sequel. When it comes out, I’m hoping to learn more about the aliens.

2.5/5 whatever

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