Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Tuesday's Overlooked Movie: Battleship

Overlooked? Try critically vilified. Ostracized at the box office. BATTLESHIP was probably the biggest bomb of 2012 when it comes to movies.

So I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "James liked BATTLESHIP? Really?"

Yep. I liked BATTLESHIP. I liked it a lot.

Now, I'll admit that making a movie out of the board game is probably a pretty dumb idea. But the writers charged with this thankless task decided to turn it into an invaders-from-outer-space yarn, and I'm a sucker for those. A few ships taking part in some multinational war games in the Pacific are stuck inside a dome of impenetrable force thrown up by the invaders and have to duke it out with the alien fleet. CGI chaos ensues, along with a few soap operatic elements added to the mix to humanize the characters. It's pretty predictable, but it worked for me.

In fact, about halfway through when I realized what the big payoff of the movie was going to be, I started to grin, and later, in the scene that sets up that big payoff, I grinned even bigger and got a little misty-eyed, as our old buddy Maynard G. Krebs used to say. I really loved that part of the movie, maybe because that's exactly the way I would have written it.

The acting was okay. I like Taylor Kitsch, who was also in 2012's other legendary failure JOHN CARTER, which as most of you know is actually a pretty darned good movie. Real-life soldier Gregory D. Gadson turns in a great performance as a rehabbing veteran who winds up involved in the battle to save the world. In another bit of stunt casting that actually works, singer Rihanna plays a tough sailor and does a fine job. Liam Neeson sort of sleepwalks through his part as an admiral, but hey, he's Liam Neeson. (And did I miss something? Was there a law passed that says Liam Neeson has to be in every movie that's made now? It seems like it.)

BATTLESHIP goes on a little too long, and there are a few plot points I could quibble about (the evil aliens are technologically advanced enough to fly all the way across the galaxy, but they can't avoid a freakin' fender bender with a communications satellite?), but overall I had an absolutely fine time watching this movie.


Jack Badelaire said...

Right there with you. I wrote a fairly lengthy review of this movie when it came out, and overall, I think it did exactly what it set out to do - entertain the hell out you, and damn the torpedoes (or critics, or reality). I actually thought Rhianna handled the role perfectly - there was no "I'm the sexy navy girl, check out my sexiness!" - she was just another sailor, doing her job to the best of her ability.

And I know exactly what you mean by the "ending". When AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" kicked off, I had goosebumps, I was so pumped. The fact that "it" is so utterly impossible does nothing to deflate the fact that it was awesome.

Funny enough, here in Boston we had the Tall Ships Week the week after I saw the movie; a bunch of big sailing vessels and Navy ships from the US and several other countries come into port, and provide tours. I managed to get a very nice tour of a brand new Arleigh Burke class destroyer, the USS Gravely. I was tempted to ask one of the sailors if he'd seen Battleship, but I didn't want to be "that guy"...

Jessica said...

Haha, I think you're right about a law being passed for Liam Neeson. It does seem like he's in every movie, but that's okay because for me he usually does a good job. I actually haven't seen Battleship just yet, but it's refreshing to read you liked it with how many negative comments I've heard from coworkers of mine at DISH. I just need to see it on my own time and decide for myself, so I've added it to the top of my Blockbuster @Home queue. I'll get it in the mail in a couple of days and then decide from there. I like Taylor Kitsch too, so really I'm looking forward to it. :)