Aliens land in the Pacific Ocean as the world naval exercises take place. The Marines investigate these unknown objects in the water, but it soon becomes clear that if they are to save the world from this extra terrestrial threat, they will need all their wits and naval skills about them.
It is hard not to balk at the idea of Battleship; a movie that is based on a board game. We have seen movies based on games before, and some of them – Clue, I am looking at you – were actually pretty damn good. The difference here, however, is that this movie is based on a game with no characters and no story. The story that has been super imposed over the top of this explosive epic is paper thin, but after the last few action filled blockbusters, which tried to cram in too much of a story – Transformers, anyone? – this actually comes as a refreshing change.
Anyone who was looking forward to Liam Neeson’s performance may as well sit down again; the legendary actor gets approximately 20 minutes in total on screen, but he does look very dapper in his naval whites. Carrying the story is left to Taylor Kitsch – Yes, John Carter himself – and while he may not be the greatest actor in the world, he does look pretty and has a suitably impressive, deep voice, which is perfect for shouting orders like ‘Light ‘em up!’, which he does. A lot. Rihanna does not try to stretch herself too much and trades on the whole ‘good girl gone bad’ attitude that she has built up for herself as a pop star. RiRi runs around in her fatigues, shooting things and getting soaking wet. She doesn’t light up the screen, but she doesn’t do the film any harm either.
Battleship is a movie that was made for it’s action sequences, and they are actually quite impressive. The CGI is some of the best seen on screen in a long time – although why the alien ships permanently have water falling off them is still a mystery – and the action is well shot and exciting. That said, the dialogue is simply awful, the ‘battleship’ scene consisting of tsunami buoys and an ocean map is far too obvious a reference to the film’s parent game and the love story is simply not needed. There is also the issue of the crew of the museum ship; it just does not ring true on any level.
Issues aside, however, if you leave your brain at home – the door of the cinema is far too close to the screen, you need distance here – and have a giant bucket of popcorn, then you might actually enjoy the film. The script might be terrible and the plot as thin as the water the ships sail on, but the film is well paced and it looks damn good. There is never any danger that these Marines will fail in their mission of saving the world, and Alexander Skarsgard dies far too soon, but loads of things explode and the set pieces are a lot of fun.
Teenage boys, rejoice! Here is the summer blockbuster for you. Rest of the world… Well, Battleship is big, loud, silly fun, but if you like to be emotionally invested in your action flicks, this might be one that you are best avoiding. It’s fun but it plays on the flag waving patriotism of the US, and the story is rather thin.