The human imagination is a very powerful thing and when used effectively it can conjure up a school for wizards, dream machines and get rich quick pyramid schemes. So what happens when someone dumps the board game Battleship in front of you and tells you to “let your imagination run wild” for a Hollywood film? Most people would reach straight for hallucinogenic drugs but director Peter Berg and Co have milked those little plastic game pieces for all their worth in the ridiculous but sometimes fun ‘Battleship’.
An international fleet of naval ships competing in friendly war game exercises off the coast of Hawaii encounter a mysterious alien armada and must work together to battle the invaders.
The most entertaining part of ‘Battleship’ is the action and the explosions are big and everything is over the top. Berg puts you right at the trigger of every canon and explosive shell while highlighting the strategic element of a war at sea.
The plot is absurd and you can tick off the alien invasion/disaster film clichés as they pop up: people around the world watching the events unfold on big screens, a boardroom of military people at the pentagon yelling at each other and aliens who have the technology to travel across the universe but forget how to use their advanced technology when they arrive on Earth.
Taylor Kitsch is good as the lead and gets the mix of moron and tough guy right. He’s helped out by fellow ‘Friday Night Lights’ alumni Jesse Plemons who appears in a small but memorable role. The rest of the cast are reduced to over the top reactions and yelling the line “What the hell was that?” It’s so frequent that there is definitely a ‘Battleship’ style drinking game that could be developed off this simple dialogue (RIP liver).
There is a also a lot of American patriotism on show in ‘Battleship’ that is a beautiful thing to behold, but it might become a bit grating for people who don’t have a US passport.
There is also an entire subliminal message of joining the navy that bursts from every scene. The pro navy messages work in the same way that ‘Top Gun’ has people signing up to the air force in the 80s, and the film tries hard to undo all the damage done to the US navy by The Village People.
‘Battleship’ is fun when in action mode but the rest is a mess. Full credit to the filmmakers for actually creating something out of a simple board game and reminding the world that Brooklyn Decker still has breasts.
‘Battleship’ is released:
11 April UK
12 April Australia
18 May US
The Popcorn Junkie