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'Battleship' Movie Review

About.com Rating 1.5 Star Rating


Battleship movie review

Rihanna in a scene from 'Battleship'

© Universal Pictures
The fourth Transformers movie, also known as Battleship, brings us alien invaders so advanced they didn't think about arming themselves with weapons they can carry around and shoot at adversaries before landing on our planet. It brings us aliens who travel to a planet closer than their own to the sun, all the while knowing the one thing that can quickly incapacitate them is sunlight. Battleship also brings us perhaps the most ludicrous plot of all the big-budget action films of 2012, along with some of the worst continuity errors of any major release in years.

Ever so loosely based on the board game of the same name, Battleship sinks itself within its first 30 minutes. Why the decision was made to concentrate on a love story between Brooklyn Decker and Taylor Kitsch (coming off a disastrous turn in John Carter) that doesn't work and on the relationship between brothers (who look nothing alike - Kitsch and Alexander Skarsgard) over the option of getting straight to the aliens and the action is hard to understand. The movie is titled Battleship, the trailers and clips are all about things getting blown up, crashed into, or shot at, so why waste the opening 30-40 minutes with a silly love story? The target audience is action movie fans, but for some unknown reason Battleship tries to play like a romantic comedy - complete with a meet cute - for the first 1/3 of its overly long running time.

And as for why these aliens have come to Earth...well, it's totally our own fault. We've sent out a message to a planet that has atmospheric qualities similar to our own, and the answer comes in the form of five alien ships, one of which collides with a satellite and splits into pieces that wind up destroying Hong Kong (not the aliens' fault; the ship broke up and they couldn't control their entry). Of course, we believe they're here to do us harm - despite the fact we invited them to come visit - and immediately go into war mode.

However, these creatures from space actually only attack us when we pose a threat. Why, over the course of the nine hour running time (yes, I'm exaggerating, but trust me when I say it feels like an eternity when you're watching it), we don't ever attempt to communicate with them isn't ever explained. Our heroes notice almost immediately that when we turn our weapons away, the aliens don't attack. But it never dawns on anyone to try and use the same means of communicating with these visitors we used to get their attention to broker a peace agreement. Didn't these people ever watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind, or any other sci-fi film for that matter?
Logic plays no part in Battleship, nor does attempting to tell a coherent story. Nor does worrying about who's been cast in what role. What does it say when the pop star making her feature film acting debut isn't actually the worst actor in Battleship? It says effects come first, not the human stars despite how much time was spent on attempting to develop the characters in the first hour of the film. And speaking of the effects, the alien ships and battle scenes are good but not anything we haven't seen done better in a Michael Bay film.
Battleship does have a few funny moments (mostly unintentional) and it is definitely as pro-military as you can get, but why - with all the ridiculousness going on - doesn't anyone actually say, "You sunk my battleship!?" Director Peter Berg, working off a script by Jon and Erich Hoeber (Whiteout, Red), incorporates a battle scene reminiscent of the board game, but fails to include the classic line. Just mark that up to another lapse in logic, I guess.


Battleship was directed by Peter Berg and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, action and destruction, and for language.

Theatrical Release: May 18, 2012

This review is based on a screening provided by the studio. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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