<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Peter Berg. With Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Rihanna.
Most won’t be expecting much of this film-based-on-a-board-game, comparing it (wrongly) to Transformers, but if you can get past the formula and sometimes silly dialogue then the first class action and CGI are bound to keep you entertained through most of the second half.
We’ve done the trailer review for this one (click here for it) and made comparisons to Hasbro’s other toy/games-based franchise: The Transformers because of the weird metallic alien ships that spring from the ocean. But while the makers have used Transformer-like CGI in the film, the aliens bear no resemblance whatsoever to the robots in disguise.
Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is an unkempt loser, but a good-looking one, and his brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgård, eldest son of actor Stellan Skarsgård) wants him to hit the straight and narrow. So Navy Commander Stone Hopper enlists his brother into the service and viola, he’s transformed, well at least in appearance. His shenanigans and play-by-my-own-rules attitude infuriate Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson) who’s also his girlfriend Samantha’s (Brooklyn Decker) father. Training exercises with several other nations in the Pacific Ocean may be his last tour of duty after being kicked out. But fortunately, aliens hell-bent on destroying the planet (or are they?) sorta save his career.
Now nothing in this film as far as alien invasion battle films go is exceedingly different at least in how things play out. There’s the usual American flag waving, the usual bravado, the mayhem and the alliances – American Lt. Commander Alex and Japanese Captain pull off alien helmet together. Ah, teamwork will help them win! Corny. But Battleship has some good CGI work, a thumping background score and a hidden mystery. You see, the aliens only destroy when they are being attacked. Yes they’re trying to contact their home planet since their Communications ship was damaged in the initial ‘assault’, but for what? There’s even a scene where a wobbly-kneed nerd scientist must procure some equipment and the alien on catching him in the act decides to spare him and let him get away. This intrigues. What is their motive then?
Taylor Kitsch (from the flop John Carter) has a weird accent, very old film actor type. Just doesn’t fit his appearance in my opinion. He’s not a great actor either. But he manages to get by in this film thanks to some interesting supporting cast members, some witty one-liners and lots of things stupendously blowing up to keep you distracted. Singer Rihanna doesn’t have much to do but keep pulling triggers but she looks pretty at ease in her acting avatar.
Battleship is a bit long and the girls (unless they’re tomboys) will not enjoy it very much but it is sufficiently intriguing and action packed to keep you in your seat. Oh and stick around till the end of the credits (all of them) and there’s an extra scene, that is a bit anti-climactic but probably sets you up for a sequel.
Also keep in mind that we in India are getting to see the film a month before the US release.