Move over sequels, reboots, remakes and movies based on books – Hollywood's taking its inspiration from its dusty shelf of children's games now. What could possibly go wrong?
The answer, for those of you who don't like rhetoric, is something more than "a lot" and just short of "everything." This shiny waste of theater screen real estate stars Taylor Kitsch as Lieutenant Alex Hopper, a plays-by-his-own-rules naval officer who gets tasked with saving the world after a high-tech alien force barricades Hawaii and its surrounding water space in a forcefield dome.
That premise would be more than enough to hold over a normal big-budget B-movie, but "Battleship" isn't content to simply cruise through charted action waters. It'd rather detour through a dragging introduction about Hopper, his girlfriend and his brother, a move that does absolutely nothing to forward the plot or develop the movie's oppressively one-dimensional characters. "Battleship" wasted a whole half hour explaining just how much of a screw-up Hopper was in dialogue when five minutes of subsequent action conveyed the same.
Just when the action starts up and it seems the film's "Screenplays for Dummies" approach is finally about to pay off, the hyper-explanations stop. The audience learns early on that scientists have beamed some kind of communication beacon in the direction of a potentially life-sustaining planet, but is left hanging on why the aliens answered it. Eventually the aliens' objectives get worked out, but it comes far too late and completely ignores their original motives for showing up in the first place (Scouting mission? World domination? Meh, let's just shoot 'em.).
Instead, viewers are supposed to be placated with fancy CGI of the aqua-Transformers ships, which resemble a cross between a waterbug and a souped-up robo-Bowser from Super Mario. The aliens themselves are also a let-down. Coming from an Earth-like planet I guess the designers can get away with making them humanoid, but they're so unimpressive I spent more time trying to place the resemblance than I did watching the movie (They look like Goro from Mortal Kombat, for the record.).
The only bright spot in this whole disorganized nightmare, ironically, is when they actually get to the parts based on Battleship the game. What I expected to be the corniest, least-thought-out part of the movie turned out to be the most engaging. Add that to the final battle against the boss ship and you get a solid 20 minutes of good movie.
Sadly, that 20 minutes is followed by another 20 of mediocre and preceded by a whole hell of a lot of godawful. The pacing is a mess. The storyline is garbage. Even the music is on life support – the actual songs are mixed in with all the subtlety of a freight train, and I'm pretty sure the score borrowed from "Inception."
"Battleship" is too far gone to be salvaged, and it took two hours of my life down with it. Save your money and head for calmer waters.
Theaters and showtimes for Battleship
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