Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Battleship [2012]


Background:
Release Date: 12 April 2012 (Malaysia), 18 May 2012 (USA)
Directed By: Peter Berg
Written By: Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, Tadanobu Asano, Gregory D. Gadson, Hamish Linklater
Duration: 131 minutes
In A Nutshell:
Inspired by the classic Hasbro board game, Battleship starts-off with Alex Hopper (played by Taylor Kitsch) trying to impress a girl at a bar, Samantha (played by Brooklyn Decker). One thing leads to another and ends-up with his brother, Stone (played by Alexander Skarsgard) enlisting him in the US Navy. Fast forward a few years and we find that Alex is now a lieutenant while Samantha's father (played by Liam Neeson) is the Admiral. Meanwhile alien crafts land in the pacific ocean and it is up to Alex and his crew to save the planet.
Thumbs Up:
+ A somewhat interesting action set-piece where they basically mimic playing the actual "Battleship board game
+ Cute involvement of war veterans and the use of "old-school" technology near the end
Thumbs Down:
- The attempt at humour doesn't work and feels forced
- Silly storyline with plot-holes and clichés galore
- Overall, the action sequences doesn't excites, feels like WATCHING someone playing an action video game with cool graphics
- Corny and awful dialogue
- Some unconvincing acting (Rihanna shouldn't quit her singing career anytime soon)
The Verdict Is In:
I wouldn't bother delving into the story or about character development too much here because quite frankly there isn't much of it going on. But then again I don't think many people were expecting any in the first place. Other than the foregone conclusion of CGI overload, get ready for bucket loads of clichés and bad dialogue. After a while you just knew a character would shout out: "I didn't sign-up for this". I also didn't know either to cringe or laugh after seeing Alex Hopper battle aliens and their massive destruction for half and hour or so, only then hearing him saying: "I've got a bad feeling about this". And they claim throughout the movie that he was one of the brightest and full of potential Navy there was. I fear for the planet.


Despite what some of my friends tell me, I actually can very well enjoy these "turn-off-your-brain-and-just-enjoy-the-action" type of movies. The most recent example was last year's Fast Five [2011]. The story and characters there didn't matter but I still thought the film was a lot of fun. The action sequences for that film had structure and actually told a story. Not just an explosion here, there, and everywhere like in this one. Except for a piece were they mimicked the board game, the action in Battleship just failed to excite me. It provided little adrenalin rush, suspense, or emotional connection. Despite impressive CGI, it was messy and felt flat. It was like watching someone playing an action video game with cool graphics. Playing might be fun, but definitely not watching someone else play.

If people want proof that a great action-packed and big-budget blockbuster about aliens can actually be made, I suggest they go watch James Cameron's Aliens [1986]. That movie was totally different than its predecessor, the slow-building and visceral thriller by Ridley Scott, Alien [1979], but still managed to hit all the right notes. The last two alien movies that I watched, this one and The Darkest Hour [2011] left me disappointed. So it makes me even more anticipated to see what Ridley Scott has in store for us with his next alien flick, Prometheus [2012]. Bring it on!
Rating:
5.5 out of 10

6 comments:

  1. I had less interest in this than I was with John Carter, but the difference w/ that one is that I probably won't change my mind. I don't even know I want to rent it, looks so much like a Michael Bay movie.

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  2. Woah that looks like an awful movie. I wonder why Liam Neeson is wasting his time on films like that one.

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  3. i kinda like this one
    but rihanna .... "boom" bwahahah left me laughing...she got the look but I would prefer her not to say anything..

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  4. @Ruth: Totally like a Michael Bay film. His fans would definitely love this..

    @Sati: Liam Neeson is just a peripheral character too. Seems they used his name on the poster just to sell tickets..

    @Reza: Different people have different preferences, I'm okay with that..

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  5. Think I'm going to wait for Blu-ray for this though I'm sure it's probably a bit better in the cinema. Definitely would rather re-watch Aliens or even just the Prometheus marketing than this.

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  6. To be fair this film is slightly better than Bay's Revenge Of The Fallen... but that's not really very hard in my opinion...

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