Battleship

  • Year:2012
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Peter Berg
  • Cast:Brooklyn Decker, Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Rihanna, Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd
  • Release Date:April 12, 2012
  • Distributor:Universal
  • Running time:132 minutes
  • Film Worth:$10.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Proudly proclaims itself as big, brash and brainless entertainment - and doesn't try any harder.

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With Hollywood constantly on the search for a new franchise, it seems that a growing numbers of filmmakers behind expensive blockbusters are content - almost proud - to push the fact that they're simply making a brainless slice of entertainment, as if helming a popcorn flick is a justification in and of itself for producing a movie devoid of smarts or soul. But in many cases, this line of thinking simply equates to lazy filmmaking. Blockbusters like last year's Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes or some of the better superhero films of late have proven that movies can be huge in scope and commercially successful without sacrificing characters or storyline, or telling audiences to leave their brain at the door. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Battleship falls into the former category of films - one ready to coast on its status as a mindless popcorn flick.

Drawing inspiration from the Hasbro board game (a premise which sadly reeks of the new lengths Hollywood will go to for a quick grab-for-cash), the thrust of the storyline revolves around some type of mysterious alien craft, which anchors itself in the waters of Hawaii after a group of scientists beam a signal into space. Preventing the aliens from launching an all-out invasion is novice navy captain, Alex Hopper (John Carter's Taylor Kitsch), but that's a little troubling considering the first third of the movie is dedicated to revealing what a hopeless case he is. That's evidenced by his stern older brother (Alexander Skarsgard) who enlists him in the navy to instil discipline in him, and the Admiral and father (Liam Neeson) of Hopper's girlfriend (Brooklyn Decker), who can't figure out what his daughter sees in the rebellious young gun.

Chiefly concerned with effects and explosions (and they're relentless), Battleship is a film completely purged of any hint of nuance whether that be in terms of character development, the clunky screenplay or the woeful dialogue (which includes such gems as, "Let's see if we can buy the world another day!" or Hopper's reflection, "I've got a bad feeling about this," - a thought he shares after the majority of navy vessels have been annihilated by alien forces). That said, somehow director Peter Berg (Hancock, The Kingdom) manages to keep the film's head above water and that's largely due to the spunk of his cast. Kitsch never plays Hopper too earnestly, keeping the character's knockabout charm intact throughout. Likewise, Decker and Rihanna (though the latter's never really called on to seriously act) both bring sass to their girl power roles.

With its undeniably preposterous premise, there's a silliness that underlies close to every scene of Battleship (a scene replicating the board game will incite laughs and groans in equal measure). However, it's in the film's climatic moments that Berg seems to outright embrace the absurdity and goes for broke - and it's ironically this that gives the film its best moments. If he's going to make entertainment of the shamelessly mindless kind, at least he has the sense to do it with humour.   

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