- Arts & Literature
- Science & Technology
By Alex Lynchehaun
If you’re looking for a 21st Century Top Gun without the character development, subtle plot machinations, Tom Cruise’s gurning visage or homoerotic shower scenes then you’re in the right place. Battleship not only replaces the showers with a supremely ridiculous football match but also the fast and exciting world of fighter jets with an array of Destroyers and Battleships. With names like that you’d be forgiven for thinking that warships are thrilling stuff. You’d be wrong.
To set the scene for all the naval fun to come we’re introduced to Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) as he breaks the law wooing a girl in a bar. Cut to a few years later and he’s somehow a fairly senior officer in the US Navy. Well, the US Navy staffed by Abercrombie models and run by a gruff and angry Liam Neeson (just plain Liam Neeson then). Vice Admiral Shane (Neeson) sees much potential in the young whippersnapper but can’t abide his loveable antics (read – brawling with Japanese officers and generally being a cocky moron). Hopper subsequently panics and looks for potential redemption, ignorant of the heap of it about to land in the form of a big alien spacecraft. Will he overcome his reputation and become the rough around the edges hero he’s set up to be?
Well, as we all know, you (the stupid audience) don’t care and all you want is some face melting ‘splosions. Battleship looks to be a classic case of putting the shiny cart before the afterthought of a horse. Unfortunately the attitude toward special effects here often boils down to function over finesse. I mean, why properly render your 3D models when you can blurrily crash zoom into everything? It was like watching an Untouchables era Brian De Palma having a directorial seizure whilst his focus puller fails to catch up. Peter Berg, however, is no Untouchables era De Palma. He’s a Hancock era Berg, so expect a decent first half and disastrous second.
I’ll concede; Battleship is bearable at first. It does have some brains to the wall Top Gun charm and my good will for Kitsch after Friday Night Lights tided me over for a while. Even so, the fourth time an alien-ship rose out of the water to hit a human ship with a missile it came crashing home that something was amiss.
It was all so amateurish and derivative. Where’s the abominable yet competent Michael Bay when you need him? The action scenes clunk on with nothing happening and the plot is ludicrous beyond belief. The idiotic Hopper is leading a huge attack vessel, his girlfriend is inexplicably up a hill with an amputee veteran and, worst of all, a 50,000-ton battleship does a handbrake turn. Like a car. At no point does the film earn the right to arch its eyebrow to the audience like that. Ever.
But it does something even more unforgiveable. At no point does anyone even hint at saying “you sunk my battleship”. Terrible, really.