Recent summer blockbusters lit up the silver screen with superheroes from Batman and Spiderman to the Green Hornet. But 2012 brings us a new type of action flick: “Battleship,” based on the popular board game of the same name.
While many of these superhero films succeeded with both moviegoers and the critics, “Battleship” strikes out with a clichéd script and an awful storyline. Director Peter Berg, who is best known for “Hancock” and the TV series “Friday Night Lights,” takes viewers on a predictable ride through an alien takeover, filled with one-sided acting and mind-boggling visual effects.
The movie begins with a scene straight out of a corny commercial, in which Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) robs a convenience store to impress an attractive girl he meets in a bar (Brooklyn Decker). During the scene after his arrest, he’s with the girl and suddenly has a legitimate job in the Navy, with no explanation of how he suddenly succeeded.
The movie becomes a conventional action flick with the unsung hero, Hopper, attempting to save his ship (and the world!) from aliens by confronting multiple ridiculous tasks like coming up with a way to track the aliens’ vessel without a functional radar.
Despite previews suggesting Liam Neeson and co-star Rihanna play the lead roles, they both had minor roles compared to young gun Kitsch. Neeson’s role as the stern and demanding father of Decker is almost laughable, as he seems to be trying too hard to fulfill the role.
The alien conflict that threatens a “near extinction event” doesn’t even hit the screen for close to an hour, and when it does, the overly dramatic Navy officers never seem to figure out what to do to stop the aliens.
The movie does, however, find a way to show off an overload of special effects like flying, automated missile-launching alien ships and rolling spheres that destroy everything in their path. Though the half-billion dollar budget allows for eye-popping visual effects, the effects often compromise the integrity of the movie.
The end of the movie leaves the viewer wondering what the connection is between the live-action movie and the classic board game. The only obvious similarity is a two-minute sequence with a similar looking grid of the ocean, which makes no sense to anyone except those who enjoy overly dramatic alien invasion movies.
Berg could have taken the timeless strategy game and created a true action spin-off. Instead, the movie follows the course of all conventional sci-fi’s and leaves viewers laughing at the absurd plot twists. It’s not exactly what Berg hoped for, but it will still make millions in the box office as a below-average, over-the-top summer action movie.