Hasbro (the company behind the Transformers franchise) have felt it to be a good idea to base a film on a board game called Battleship. Now, you must be thinking ‘hang on, there were no aliens in the game battleship’ and you will be correct in thinking such a thing, but the link between the film and board game is somewhat tenuous. It is clearly a Hasbro film as Battleship looks exactly like Transformers, but on sea and even worse (though granted I have not tortured myself watching the second and third films of the Transformers franchise).
In 2005, NASA discovered a planet, in a galaxy far, far away, that has similar conditions to those on Earth – in other words, it can harbour life. Good old NASA sent a signal to communicate with this planet, hoping to receive some message proving that there is life out there. Meanwhile, slacker Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitcsh) does pretty much F-all with his life and he is forced to join the navy by his brother (played by Alexander Skarsgård). While sailing the seas the message NASA sent six years previously is answered and the planet is under extraterrestrial threat. America (with some help from the Japanese) must protect the seemingly naval lacking world from extinction.
It is not often that a film is compared unfavourably to Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise, but Battleship is one of those films that makes the Transformers franchise seem like a work of art. What is perhaps most irritating is that despite spending more than $200,000,000 on the film (most of it on special effects) the film looks incredibly ugly. It is not that the GCI looks overly fake, but it is the clumsy editing and cinematography that makes Battleship horrible to look at, completely wasting the $200,000,000 spent on making things explode.
Peter Berg, whose last feature film, that he directed, was Hancock (which I actually quite like), seems to be made redundant as soon as the explosions take centre stage as there is no story, no interesting characters. The second and most of the third act (it takes about forty minutes before the aliens spring into action) are big, deafening and boring as explosion after explosion takes place. Apparently, this is called ‘escapist entertainment’, but it’s a rather loose use of the word ‘entertainment’ as a colossal number of explosions will never be enough to make an entertaining film (which I have to say at over two hours in length, you do feel every single minute).
You know what, these films can work, take Independence Day for example, but what films like Battleship need is a main character with charisma (which Independence Day had in the shape of Will Smith). Taylor Kitcsh is completely lacking in the charisma that is needed to make the audience engage and warm to his character. Kitcsh gives his second bland performance in the year 2012 as his performance as John Carter was equally as bad, if not worse, than his performance in Battleship. He is supported by Alexander Skarsgård (can’t be the son of Stellan Skarsgård) and Rihanna who isn’t the film’s biggest problem as the script, the performance of lead man and the fact the film is terribly dull are far more pressing issues. What is perhaps most confusing and ridiculous is the instant change in the personality of the main character. Drivel. The film almost sunk at the Box Office.