Movie Guyd: “Battleship”: Does It Sink or Swim?

Jay Catterson
Authored by
Jay Catterson

May 23, 2012
6:47 a.m.

Okay, now whose bright idea was it to turn the classic, coordinate-based Naval combat game Battleship into a full-on action flick? Seriously? Well, someone did, and Hollywood responded, bringing this simple Hasbro board game to the big screen. So what’s it about? A young guy without a clear direction in life (Taylor Kitsch from John Carter) gets a wake-up call from his big brother, hotshot Naval commander (Alexander Skarsgard from True Blood) to join the Navy, only to face the onslaught of an invading alien armada. So what’s a Naval lieutenant gotta do? Save the world using battleships, of course! But is it worth taking a big-budget, sci-fi laden trip on the high seas, or does this feel like more of a bomb? Read on!

The Good: Hollywood spared no expense in the special effects department. Wow. This film really pops! It’s definitely a testosterone-laden blow-em-up type popcorn movie. Huge fiery explosions? Got those. Big techy robots, spacecraft and aliens? Yup, got those too. The effects are definitely outstanding, and the Hawaiian scenery provides a picturesque backdrop for all the mayhem. But that’s probably about it for the good.

The Gay: Taylor Kitsch and Alexander Skarsgard. So hot! Yes, these sexy men light up the screen like no other. And Kitsch cleans up good with a haircut and those Navy digs. Plus, there’s a soccer scene that showcases these hot lads in full-on football kits. Yummy! And, of course, the requisite jersey swap at the end of the soccer match provides a fleeting glance at Skarsgard’s chiseled torso.

Rihanna makes her motion picture debut in Battleship, too. The Pon De Replay popstar channels G.I. Jane, appearing all smoldering in a baseball cap and Naval garb. I kinda wish she’d busted out into a full-on dance number with hunky Navy SEALs gyrating around her. Alas, no booty poppin’ from Rihanna. Sigh.

The Bad: Where to begin: The whole thing is a hot mess. The way they try to incorporate familiar elements from the board game could’ve been clever, but with a plot that seems to be pulled out of thin air, these quirks fall flat. Tons of plot holes as well. Lots of recycled shots too. It wasn’t hard to draw comparisons to big-budget predecessors like Pearl Harbor, Titanic, and Armageddon. Major rehash here, folks. And don’t get me started on the acting. Major groans and eye rolls all around. (Why Liam Neeson signed on to do this movie, I have no idea. I know times are tough, but is he really hurting for cash?)

The Fugly: Those aliens look like douchebag beefcake lizard hybrids with porcupine-esque facial hair problems and spacesuits stolen from Halo. And that screenplay! Yikes! Is Hollywood really hurting for original ideas? I really want to know how much drugs and alcohol were involved in the creative process of developing this “script.”

Sail the seven seas, or sink my Battleship?: This movie was dead on arrival. Big time bomb. Admit defeat now and don’t even take a turn playing this Hollywood version of Battleship, because you’ll lose on many levels: money, time, dignity, you name it. Thank goodness The Avengers is still going strong at the box office. That movie is definitely the one to sink every last destroyer and dinghy of this sci-fi shipwreck.

Grade: D


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