In the London press conference for Battleship, director Peter Berg said that he wanted to make a “big summer popcorn fun, bad-ass movie” and he has succeeded in making just that. Spectacular visual effects and fighting sequences will shake you to the edge of your seat, and he doesn’t forget the all-important romantic element. However, the depth of storyline in the film is slightly disappointing.
Human beings are notoriously curious creatures, constantly striving to find out more about the universe. However, if we send a signal into outer space in the hopes of receiving a friendly alien response, the response of the little green men might not be as kindly as we’d hoped. An alien ship does indeed come to visit Earth, unfortunately its occupants are not in the mood for a friendly cup of tea and a catch-up. One of the alien ships crash lands in Tokyo, not the way to make a good first-impressions with humanity. The rest crash into the Pacific Ocean, near an international naval fleet that just so happens to have numerous weapons at the ready.
From the start it is clear that the aliens have far more advanced weaponry than the humans, especially their flying wheels that destroy anything in their path. However what the humans have is tactics, and this is where the Battleship board-game element comes in.
Battleship is Barbadian singer Rihanna‘s first venture onto the big-screen and, for us at least, she has succeeded in making the transition. She plays weapons officer Raikes with just the right amount of bad-ass bravery and powerful one-liners. Taylor Kitsch, star of John Carter, plays Alex Hopper who starts out as a long-haired down-and-out who will do anything for love. He is brought into the US Navy by his brother, played by Alexander Skarsgard, and aside from the alien invasion, his character transformation is the focus of the film. His performance is credible enough, and he has the bonus of having perfected a particularly intense and mysterious pout.
Brooklyn Decker, who will be appearing in the upcoming rom-com What to Expect When You’re Expecting, plays his love-interest. Throughout the film she proves that she is not just another pretty face but is willing to get down-and-dirty in order to try and save the world from the aliens. She stars alongside real-life war hero Gregory D. Gatson, who plays Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales. The changing dynamics of their relationship is interesting to watch, as we see their differing personalities find a way to work well together. Her father in the film is played by Liam Neeson, whose Irish lilt shines through the American accents like an Emerald Isle in a true blue sea. However, that is not a problem as he plays Admiral Shane with the perfect mix of gentle comedy and fierce father-in-law protectiveness that terrifies Kitsch’s Hopper to his very soul.
One place that Battleship succeeds, without a doubt, is having a banging soundtrack. Whether it’s the naval officers playing an intense football game or some elderly war heroes bravely stepping up to fight, the music definitely makes you feel ready to rock.
While the storyline appears to have everything packed in, from romance to warfare, it does not delve deep enough into details to make it really worth paying much attention to. The aliens are a bit too similar to humans (if humans dressed up like transformers) to make their journey from a completely different world justifyable, and it would have been nice to see a little more imagination put into their creation. It is a weakness of the film that we don’t learn anything about them, apart from the fact that their weapons are terrifyingly awesome and they are not completely devoid of compassion. If you are expecting a film in which we meet other-worlders, learn more about their world and find out what they want, then you will be disappointed. However, if you watch the film for its special effects alone, and endless action sequences, then you will love it. Battleship is out in the UK now.