2012 already racked up a few blockbuster box office disasters. Many times the failure to bring in the audiences and money studios expected is warranted. Other times it’s a lack of promotion and unexpected disinterest in the project. One of the films I was hard on before I saw it was “Battleship.” I’m glad I got another chance to see it on Blu-ray now that it’s coming out through Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
It appeared Hasbro and Universal were just trying to cash in on the success of the “Transformers” and G.I. Joe” movies. Could lightning strike three times and another one of their other popular lines garner as much attention? The dismal domestic box office numbers answered that question with a loud, “Not in America!” The negative response to the film gave a whole new meaning to the famous phrase, “You sank my Battleship!”
Naval officer Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is assigned to the USS John Paul Jones after being forced to join the military by his older brother who also serves. When the Earth is attacked by alien forces, a fleet of battleships are sent to engage them. They must also thwart the aliens’ plans to send a message to their home planet seeking reinforcements.
Writers Jon and Erich Hoeber and director Peter Berg should be commended for at least attempting to give “Battleship” a story the audience could identify with. A couple of the characters are developed enough to where we care what happens to them. Unfortunately, most of the supporting cast is just warm bodies propped up for looks or to fire guns or push buttons.
The visual effects and CGI in the movie look good. One of the most impressive scenes is when one of the battleships goes down. It’s reminiscent of the sinking of the Titanic in James Cameron’s hit; just with way more explosions. The aliens aren’t the usual lizard-like type we’ve been seeing lately. They are humanoid and uniquely creepy.
I feel sorry for Taylor Kitsch after seeing this movie. The guy can act and did his best in both “Battleship” and “John Carter.” The movies definitely didn’t fail at the box office because of his performances. Liam Neeson is completely wasted in the film. He is onscreen a total of 15 minutes. He goes between looking like he cares and appearing indifferent. I’m not sure why Rihanna is in the movie. Why go to all the trouble to get a famous singer in your movie and then waste her character? She has hardly any lines and just blows stuff up while looking tough.
The main problem with “Battleship” is it gets tedious. The excitement of ships shooting at each other in the water only lasts so long. A feeling of repetition hit me about an hour into the film.
One thing I’ll give the writers is credit for coming up with ingenious ways to use the different concepts from the game. The red pegs were utilized in the film as alien missiles. The crew also had to guess where the ships were in the water through eliminating areas on a visual computer graph.
The high definition transfer of the movie is excellent. The picture is clear and the colors are vibrant. The 5.1 surround sound throws explosions and sound effects at you from all directions. They’re excellently mixed with the dialogue and musical score. There are plenty of special features to get consumers excited.
They include featurettes like “Preparing for Battle,” “All Hands on Deck: The Cast,” “Engage in Battle: Shooting at Sea” “All aboard the Fleet,” “The Visual Effects of ‘Battleship’,” “USS Missouri VIP Tour,” and “Commander Pete.” An alternate ending previsualization is also included. We get all access with Peter Berg as well.
Maybe the release of “Battleship” on Blu-ray and DVD will garner the attention of people who didn’t want to fork over the cash to see the movie in theaters. Hopefully, they’ll give it a chance in the comfort of their own home. Now that I’ve seen it, I realize what a spectacle I missed on the big screen and how unfair I was to judge a game by its box (I know, that was cheesy).
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
DVD Review: “American Warships”
‘Battleship’ Sinks Itself with First Trailer
Hit Anime Series ‘Star Blazers’ Goes Live Action in New Movie