Directed by Peter Berg (Hancock, 2008) and co written by Eric and John Hoeber (Red, 2011), the movie is apparently based on the Hasbro’s children’s game Battleship, indeed that would explain a certain plot twist. Is this the greatest movie ever made? No, nor is it the worst. It has been scoring a solid set of 4/10 – 6/10 from the critics. You will have to wait until the end to see my score. It is actually a reasonably entertaining movie. Ever since Independence Day (Roland Emmerich, 1996) I have resisted going too technical on movies which are designed only to entertain; indeed the technical deficiencies of some movies still provide far more entertainment value than the movies themselves. With this in mind I parked my brain at the theatre door and proceeded to watch what was served up to me, gone were all thought of geo-politics, coordinated military responses etc. I sat down to see how our stars saved the world.
Staring Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood 2008+) as the older brother who drags his y feckless irresponsible undisciplined younger brother (Taylor Kitsch, John Carter, 2012) in to the navy (where as a lieutenant is the TAC on the USS John Paul Jones); I’m not going to ask how a young man with such obvious personality flaws got to such a position. The older brother who as a Commander is the master of his own ship and is sailing along side his kinsman in the naval war games programmed off Hawaii is so positioned to be one of the three vessels to investigate our alien visitors when they arrive.
The afore mentioned alien visitors only dropped in to Earth as a result of NASA sending a focused radio message out to space. The message was heard and the invading aliens rush straight to Earth. The only problem is that the aliens manage to crash into the only satellite they will be able to use to “phone home”. As a result they also need to take over the radio observatory from which the Earth signals were being broadcast. As only can happen in the movies, Brooklyn Decker, who plays the girlfriend of Kitsch’s character, is walking up the side of the mountain the observatory is on to help an army colonel who is a double amputee and is learning to walk again. It does not help that she is also the admiral’s daughter (no point for guessing which one of the brothers the admiral does not get on with).
Long story short, by land and sea the combined forces of our stars fight by various ways to defeat the enemy. Despite the budget this is a B movie, this is not necessarily a bad thing (just think of the classic offerings from the 1950’s and 1960’s. This is a movie that knows its place.
You may have noticed I have not gone in to the plot too much – it is obvious and so I won’t take away from the fun…Everything said, I could not but feel there was a message being sent out with the movie; the time for our old quarrels is over, there is a new stronger enemy which requires that we put aside old enmities, prejudices and assumtions and come together to defeat it. This may just be me being over philosophical in a movie which generally requires no brain power, but that’s me; who the new enemy is, that is for you to decide. I mentioned this was a B-movie, its predecessors from 50 years ago also had similar messages and then the targets were obvious…If I have a significant issue it is in the use of a certain naval vessel which is now a museum; there was a lot of live armament on a very old vessel, not in active service; I’m going to stop now.
Rating = 5/10 it will keep you entertained, some good one-liners and it is easy to follow. Some interesting cameo appearances also.