I was fortunate enough to catch the premiere of Battleship last night at the SM Megamall Cinema 3 courtesy of the SM Cinema E-Plus Card, a new innovation by the SM group to make moviegoing a more convenient and enjoyable experience for its patrons. I must say, despite my dislike for lead actor Taylor Kitsch who talked trash about his Customs experience in my country (which apparently never happened…dude was in Indonesia), I enjoyed the 131-minute adaptation of the naval themed board game.
The United States finds a planet that is similar to Earth in climate and vegetation and begins to embark on efforts to communicate with the said planet in the hopes of using it for future habitation. The plan backfires when five heavily armed alien spaceships land on the Pacific and set out attacks on facilities and structures that they believe to be threats on their invasion. This all happens while naval troops around the world are engaging in their annual war games off the coast of Hawaii, where a sensitive communication facility is situated. However, the fleets prove helpless when a forcefield is formed that shuts off the island from armed intervention. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an inexperienced, reckless and impulsive young officer (Kitsch) who finds himself in command of the remaining Destroyer at the other end of the invisible barrier — Earth’s last chance to take down the invaders.
The film employed textbook style filmmaking in the movie, seemingly marking off an invisible checklist to a Hollywood blockbuster — hot actors, great effects, hard core action, aliens and weaponized alien ships, a badass dude with metal legs, and war strategy on a huge body of water. It’s been a while since an end of the world sci fi action film happened in the ocean so this kind of helped make the movie work.
Honestly, the first 30 minutes of the movie was a bit of a snoozefest for me because nothing much really happens except to establish the Admiral’s (Liam Neeson) dislike of Lt. Alex Hopper (Kitsch) who was only enlisted into the Navy because his big brother Stone (Alexander Skaarsgard) wanted him to clean up his act. When the action finally picked up, it was as if the movie started to come to life and the characters finally seemed to wake up from the cliched characterizations they have earlier established in the film.
There were elements of Armageddon in the beginning and the aliens were sort of a cross between Transformers (of course, because it was co produced by Hasbro and Universal) and District 9, but I appreciated the creatives for this movie for the flawless CGI that merged well with the film’s 2D elements. The writing I believe, had highs and lows. There were a lot of witty zingers that drew laughter from the crowd but there were also those overly cheesy cliches that fell flat because audiences have heard it too many times.
Say what you will about the geographocally challenged Taylor Kitsch but there is a reason Hollywood keeps casting this guy for leading roles. Kitsch is not the typical good looking Prince Charming type but he has a rugged charisma that helps him pull off the bad boy type charmer that the hot girls go for. As a diamond in the rough naval officer who is forced to lead Earth’s remaining weapon to stop an invasion, he was quite effective, and his character complemented the character of Japanese actor Tadanobou Asano as Captain Nagata, whose rigid disipline is always challenged by Hopper’s stubborness. Brooklyn Decker was not required to much in the movie except look alarmed and look great doing it, and Rihanna did well enough but not as as bad ass as Michelle Rodriguez could have portrayed the role in my opinion.
I liked the shoutout to the game when they used the water disaplacement strategy to create tsunami buoys so at least there was still a connection to the original material and of course, my favorite part was the special role that the Naval Veterans played in the movie. The tribute to the efforts of the veterans, coupled with the heavy metal score totally rocked the house. Their entrace totally kicked butt. The explanation at the begining about the difference of a Destroyer from a Battleship was also an excellent touch to get the audiences who are unfamiliar with Navy terms on board on what will happen towards the end, thereby ensuring that they were on the same page throughout the movie.
I think that the movie had highs and lows but I liked it because it was very entertaining. It was everything a blockbuster popcorn movie should be . A bit long for my tastes but an excellent movie to relax and enjoy in the weekend to bond with friends and family. Yes, even the kids will enjoy it.
Just a tip, there is a hidden scene at the end of the movie that quite possibly hints at a sequel, well depending on his it fares anyway.