Josh Wilding Reviews: BATTLESHIP
Battleship is released in the US on May 18th and out now in the majority of international territories. So, is it worth checking out? To find out, hit the jump for my thoughts on Peter Berg's sci-fi action flick. [Minor Spoilers Ahead]
Very much like Michael Bay's Transformers trilogy, you will either love or hate Battleship. However, an appalling script makes it far more likely that you'll end up falling into the second category as not even the special effects are enough to save this disaster. The story is your standard alien invasion fare and it's not spoiling much to say that it ends exactly like every other mediocre film of this type inevitably does. From a logical point of view, neither the actions of the characters or several other aspects of the film make a lick of sense (regardless of how hard you try to switch off your brain). The "Hoo-rah" patriotic message also becomes old fast and several scenes leave you feeling as if you're watching an enrolment video from the US Navy. The dialogue is clunky and downright dreadful for the most part. You certainly won't be able to take Battleship seriously and the majority of laughs fall flat. Why? Because you'll be far too preoccupied laughing AT them and the movie as a whole.
The cast do little to save the film, with Taylor Kitsch's second role in a blockbuster this year (the other being John Carter) proving that he simply isn't leading man material. While likeable and charismatic, that's not enough to have an entire film centred around his performance. Rihanna makes her acting debut as Raikes, and although she does a decent enough job, it's hard to remember seeing anyone so thoroughly unconvincing in a role of this type. However, she is "lucky" enough to be given some of the worst dialogue in the entire film. One can only hope that she decides not to give up her day job, because a future in this type of role most certainly doesn't beckon for the singer. Equally as unconvincing is Brooklyn Decker's physical therapist. The model turned actress doesn't do a bad job as such, she's just another member of the cast who feels entirely out of place. Liam Neeson is also wasted and it's hard to imagine why he decided to sign up for such a one dimensional and uninteresting role. The cast is rounded out with unconvincing and generally poor performances from the likes of Jesse Plemons and Hamish Linklater. Alexander Skarsgård and Thor's Tadanobu Asano do a better job than just about everyone else, and while the acting debut of Col. Gregory D. Gadson may be not particularly impressive, the real life trials of the decorated war veteran (who lost both his legs in combat) make it easy to forgive this.
If there's one area in which Battleship does succeed, it's in terms of special effects. The impressive visuals remain strong throughout, although the aliens do have that distinct rubbery look which comes from less than stellar CGI. The ships (both Navy and extra-terrestrial) convince and it can't be denied that the majority of battles are exciting, but far from ground breaking. They do manage to find a clever way of incorporating the board game into the movie and it's a nice touch; just don't expect anyone to utter the "You sunk my battleship" line. Peter Berg does an admirable job of injecting the movie with at least life and visual gags, with at least a handful of memorable moments if nothing else. However, a film such as Battleship should leave you in awe, but it never manages to be anything other than average. There is a real lack of wow factor, and although it would be easy to write it off as being just another popcorn flick, there's no getting around the fact that it is just a bad film and instantly forgettable.
Depending on what you want from a film, there's a good chance you'll have a lot of fun with Battleship. However, it's far more likely that the only way you'll like it is if you also happen to be a fan of bad movies.
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