I’m not proud that I’m about to defend Battleship. This is, after all, a science-fiction film built around the old board game of the title that indulges in the worst kinds of noisy, overstuffed popcorn flick tendencies. We’re strictly in the vein of Michael Bay’s god awful Transformers movies here, thanks a good bit to the fine people at Hasbro Toys. But Battleship understands that it’s noisy and overstuffed, never giving off that arrogant Bay air of being worthwhile filmmaking. Yeah, it’s formulaic and silly and often outright dumb, but it does this in a way that isn’t insulting. What it comes down to is that people who like alien invasion flicks centered on classic board games, full of gratuitous explosions and one-liners, will enjoy Battleship. The movie revolves around a very straightforward plot involving some aliens landing in the Pacific, wreaking all kinds of havoc, and the small group of Naval officers — and their ship — that must stop them from whatever it is they’re here to do (in one of the movie’s odder choices, it’s never clear what the aliens want). This proceeds via summer movie basic, following our protagonist Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), who’s thrust into the role of captain after a lifetime of being a general screw-up. This matters little, since the film’s true purpose in life is to blow up all manner of things. This happens a lot, but the film has enough good ideas, a quick enough pace, and is occasionally sufficiently aware of its own absurdity that it still works.
Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber
Producer: Sarah Aubrey, Peter Berg, Brian Goldner, Bennett Schneir, Jeffrey Silver and Scott Stuber
Cast: Liam Neeson, Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Peter MacNicol, Jesse Plemons, Josh Pence, Tadanobu Asano and Gary Grubbs