Friday, 20 April 2012

Battleship (Film Review)

This is what happens when someone tries to mimic Michael Bay’s films and does it badly. No really, the repeated use of slow motion, the love for military equipment, generic stereotypes, mass destruction, slow motion and glorification of the American military is all there. It’s just that director Peter Berg manages to do it all much worse.

Allegedly based upon the tactical guessing game with pegs, Battleship very vaguely resembles its toy franchise. Okay, not even that, it has one scene in which it sort of resembles it for a couple of minutes. The plot of the film is that a scout force for a hostile alien race lands on earth during a joint naval exercise between Japan and America’s navies. Upon reaching the alien ships and activating them, a small destroyer group ends up trapped inside an energy field created by the invaders and its radar equipment being jammed. Now, as dumb as it might sound this idea might have still made a good film had they taken it in one of two routes:

One – Make it into a tense guessing game of tracking, pot shots and genuine intelligence with occasional bursts of combat. Something we’ve not seen since the days of Red October and Wrath of Khan.

Two – Turn it into a full blown action set piece, focusing entirely upon big explosions with Liam Neeson on a heavily damaged flagship firing a heavy machine gun at the aliens and yelling “You sunk my battleship!

It failed to do either. What we end up with is a film which makes Green Lantern look like a masterpiece, limits Neeson to a glorified cameo and feels more like a product put together in a factory than it does a directed film. Every modern gimmick is on display here from speed-up-slow-down action scenes, which half the film seems to consist of, to almost bland stereotyped characters – most notably a cliché storm of a computer geek. Bay’s films might be filled with insulting ethnic caricatures which leave the audience in a rage, but at least they’re creating some sort of solid emotional core in the film. These ones give you no connection to them, no desire to see them survive or get killed, and in all honesty this leaves you feeling bored.

Even the big explosive set pieces don’t stand out that well, with the aliens only using one of three weapons. Sure the car sized razorballs of death might be somewhat impressive at first, and the explosive “pegs” they fire might get a laugh initially, but they’re used so often they get old very quickly. There’s no real wow moments to the constant barrage of action, occasionally you’ll get something which makes you think “that one was pretty good” but it just starts to become repetitive due to the lack of variety.

With much better films like the Avengers coming very soon there’s absolutely no reason to see this one. If you want mindless action just go watch one of Roland Emmerich’s better films like Universal Soldier. If you want to see a good alien invasion film, track down a copy of the War of the Worlds remake. If you want to see Liam Neeson or Taylor Kitsch in explosive, fun films re-watch A-Team or wait for John Carter to come out on DVD. Just don’t waste your money on this soulless mess.


Battleship and all related characters and media are owned by Universal Pictures.


  1. yeah.. it is nice~ i liked this movie too~ =D

    Regards, (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

  2. Good gravy you are such a whiny wanna-be intellectual. By "No real wow moments" it's obvious you mean "no half-hour massive battlescenes with showers of arrows/bullets/etc and huge armies." Wars aren't even like that anymore.

    They had to tone down a lot of the military complications so us landlubbers could understand it. And as for 'repetitive', in the board game you don't really have a lot of tactics.

    I bet you didn't even smile at the scene where the brave old veterans of the "Mighty Mo" - whose shoes you aren't worthy to shine - were brought back to action along with their ship...One...Last...Time. Or the ingenuity of using tidal wave buoys to track the alien fighter-ships since radar was now useless.

    Stick to reviewing Xbox shooter games, that's more your capacity.

    1. Thank you for at least leaving expletives out of your response. It's refreshing to have criticism which I do not have to censor for reasons of decency.

      Now onto your statements.

      The film unfortunately did not have any wow moments as nothing stood out from previous battles. Despite your comment, was nothing but one huge battle scene with showers of bullets, and that was a huge flaw. It blew its load very early on and never escalated towards anything, there was no build-up towards a bigger fights or even a real climax of sorts. It started with a big battle and never got bigger, as a result that ended up robbing events of tension. The lack of any downtime between engagements hardly helped in this respect either.
      Think of action films you've seen, any ones will do. Almost all of them start small and end with something big so the audience keeps being wowed when the film excels beyond what was previously shown. This is something Battleship lacked and suffered as a result. Meaning moments which individually could have stood out and been fantastic just ended up blurring with everything else. This repetitiveness within the film has nothing to do with the tactics on display simply the progression of events. However this and your other comment does highlight another flaw – Battleship didn’t know what it wanted to be.

      For every few scenes where the film was trying to be an over the top action fest there were ones trying to get the audience to take things completely seriously. Much to its detriment, as each ends up completely undermining the other when it is introduced. The only reason I ended up smirking at the scenes you mentioned was when I realised “Oh lord, they want us to take this seriously in a film where aliens are shooting exploding pegs at people.” Worse still there was no semblance of self awareness to this fact, making the flaw all the more apparent.

      Please understand that I have no problem with people enjoying this film in any respect. If you think it’s fun and enjoyable, then fine that’s your opinion and I’m not going to object to it. I probably have listed liking a number of things on here which were enjoyable which you’d call wastes of money and talent. At the same time however, you need to at least acknowledge the flaws present in such a thing otherwise it leads to arrogance or the sort of rampant fanboying seen in die-hard supporters of films like Avatar.

  3. A sheer entertainment and huge no brainer thrills.