Movie Review: Battleship

As a child I can not count all the times I would play Battleship with my dad, a game in which you had to guess on where to hit the ship that the person you were against was using with little pegs marking where you missed or hit the ship.  They even came out with Electronic Battleship.  What fun the games were and remain some of my fond memories in my childhood. When I heard there was a movie called “Battleship” all I could think of was the game, but how could the game be in a movie?  Then I saw a brief interview on the TV with people from the film saying how they did keep the game in mind when making the movie, which had me even more confused with the film.  So when I got tickets to see the film, I was wondering if I should be excited or not, with friends warning us not to see it.  We took the chance to see our childhood game appear on the big screen.

The movie is mainly about Alex, a man who wants to enjoy life.  It follows him on a mission in which he has to take responsibility if he wants to or not.  Alex is being told off by his older brother, Stone, who wants Alex to get a job.  It’s Alex’s birthday and they’re at a bar.  An attractive girl comes in to order a burrito though the bartender says “kitchen’s closed”.  To impress the lady, Alex goes off to get her a burrito and does so in a very amusing way.  Stone is not amused with this and tells Alex that he is joining the Navy with him.

Now it seems to be sometime later, Stone and Alex are both in the Navy.  Though Alex is still a goofball, who doesn’t use his skills the way they want him to.  They are doing this international thing in Hawaii that has them going out for games and training.  Though Alex gets into a fight with one of the Japanese officers because of something that happened in the game.  He’s warned that once they get into port from this he’s going to be let go.  Though the Navy does not get this chance.

NASA has been sending a signal to space from Hawaii.  This messages gets a reply as some alien ships come to Earth.  These ship show up during this training and send out a shield around Hawaii, trapping only so many destroyers ships inside the shield with Hawaii.  After a few of the ships are destroyed by the alien invaders, Alex is now captain of his boat and has to come up with a way to stop these very strong new enemies, whose radars are not able track at all.

In Hawaii, the girl that Alex was trying to impress, Sam, is working rehab with Navy officers who’ve been injured.  Mick is one of the injured as he has lost both of his legs and feels as if he’s no longer a man.  He’s angry at the world, and takes it out on those there trying to help him.  Sam has him go for a walk with her, to get out for a bit.  As they go mountain hiking, using his new prosthetic legs, Mick is making sure that Sam knows anyone could do this hike.

They happen to be hiking near where the signal was sent that got the aliens to come, placing the two of them in the middle of some of the action the film.  Now you know the two main areas of focus for the film, Alex with his Destroyer and Sam in the woods with Mick.  With plenty of action, the movie has some great one liners, a plot, and some really well thought out battle scenes as these people are cut off from the rest of the world.  They must try to stop the aliens themselves.

Personally, I am most impressed with the script of this film.  As it’s clear the characters need to think their way through this one.  They are facing a strong enemy who has no problem taking out their weapons and ships.  Their radars can not pick up these ships in the water, which makes it hard for the Navy crew to fight them.  You have your comic relief to help break the tension just enough and a new alien race, that do have their their own flaws as you learn through the film.  The strategy they come up with for fighting these aliens is well designed and reminds me of the old “Battleship” game, without going into being the game itself.

At no point did I feel the movie got slow or felt rushed.  I felt that things moved at a good pace for us to keep up with the dangers the crew members were going through, which makes for an even better film.  If there was something I thought was an easy answer to take out something the enemy was doing, the characters in the film thought it too.  They didn’t play off dumb to stretch the film, it was all clever and well written.  Thanks goes to the writers of this film Erich and Jon Hoeber for finding a way to turn one of my favorite games into a movie.

The movie was directed by Peter Berg, I don’t know any of his other work in directing.  Though I do think he pulled this film off right, he got each character to pull off the characters they were playing.  He made you feel for the lead characters, got the right reactions to the aliens and any other threat that came their way.  And just brought this script to life for the big screen.  Before seeing the film the rumors was that it was going to be another Transformers film, though I can say that Peter Berg is no Michael Bay.

The lead actor in the film was Taylor Kitsch, who played Alex.  He looked and felt the part of a man still trying to find his own niche in life.  Recently, he did the role of John Carter, for the Disney film “John Carter”.  He was also Remy in the X-Men Origins Wolverine movie.  He really pulled Alex together through the film, giving us a character that felt real and you could care for.  His character was smart with skills and just had to be put in the spot where he had to use the skills.  Many said he had it, it was seen by his senior officers.  This battle gave him a chance to find the reason to fight and use his mind.

Sam was played by Brooklyn Decker, a strong female character through the entire film and she is able to pull it off.  Her character has a strength not just in how she handles herself but in her eyes when things need to be done you can see it.  She grew up close to the Navy and plays the backbone and inspiration to Alex.  This is his girlfriend, whom he would love to marry.  Though to do so he needs her father’s permission. While she’s waiting for him to man up and ask her father, she is working to help wounded warriors.  This is a great cause and she seems to be ready to take on even the tough cases.

Though my favorite role in the film goes to the character of Mick, played by Gregory D. Gadson.  Every time he was on the screen, he had my full attention.  I kept trying to think if I saw him in other films. I thought he was a pro with a long list of movies behind him.  His character was so strong and powerful through the film as you felt for him, a man who lost his legs and feels his life is over with others trying to help him regain who he is.  This character has such heart and pain in his eyes that you believed it was truly real.  Though when danger came he was not going to run the other way, even though he was walking on prosthetic.  A great inspiration for anyone who’s going through physical problems.   My real surprise came when I got home from the movie and started to work on this review, finding he’s got no other acting credits.  He’s a real soldier!  What an amazing surprise!  A lead character in the film and he was brought in because his real army history.

Check out this interview with Gregory D. Gadson for his work on Battleship:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKX5yc29J7o[/youtube]

Overall, this movie was impressive with effects, acting and writing.  I do highly recommend this film to people.  If you like adventure, if you like action, if you like military plotting, if you get inspired seeing people going on when things are at their darkest, then this movie is for you!  And just for all of you who like to leave when credits roll, stay for after the credits!  There is a small scene there.

Have you seen Battleship?  If so please leave your thoughts and reviews here!   All Comments and Questions are welcomed!

Entertainment Earth

 

Comments

Hello Michele,
Very interesting, Movie reviews this week looks at the biographical drama War Eagle Arkansas.
Cheers

I'm glad I read this review. I'm holding off in watching this movie because the trailer made it seem like another Michael Bay explosionfest. While those movies are fun, they can be really boring of the characters are not done right, like GI Joe.