Friday, May 18, 2012
What's funny about the movie Battleship is that I really liked the beginning and the ending; but the middle part of it, where the cast is literally playing the game Battleship with the so-called harmful aliens, was just so-so, minus the cool special effects. At the beginning, we meet our slacker, who will, of course, later turn into a hero, and the dialogue is pretty funny - I was thinking at that point that this would be the first blockbuster of the summer. Unfortunately, the dialogue later in the film becomes dumb and insipid, and although the action scenes will keep you interested, the movie starts to feel long (which it is - it's 2 hours 10 minutes, approximately) and wear out its welcome, until the very end.
Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch, John Carter) is a bum who lives with his brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgard, TV's True Blood), a Commander in the Navy. When he meets a cute girl (Brooklyn Decker, What to Expect When You're Expecting) at a bar, Alex is willing to do anything to attract her attention, including breaking into a convenience store for her when she says she's hungry for a burrito and the bar's kitchen is closed. Stone has had enough of Alex's antics, and he forces him to enroll in the Navy, hoping that this will provide more discipline in his life. Soon, his girlfriend Sam wants him to ask permission from her father (Liam Neeson, The Grey) to marry him, and Alex says he will, at some point; but first he has to get through the naval exercises that Navy men from all around the world have gathered in Hawaii to complete. During these supposedly routine exercises, something happens that is decidedly not routine, and soon Alex finds himself leading a ship against a crop of aliens who have invaded Hawaii.
Rihanna makes her movie debut here, and she was just so-so in her part. My favorite character was Kitsch's, because it was well-acted (and the eye candy didn't hurt either); Liam Neeson is good as well here, but he is beginning to be typecast as one of those "scary, intimidating guys" in every movie who actually ends up being a nice guy. There's a side plot involving Decker, a nerdy guy who has been looking for other intelligent life in the universe, and one of her physical therapy military patients that has lost his legs, which I guess in the end ends up being important, but plays out like a distraction from the real action.
Maybe see this film. I had a lot of questions about it afterwards because there are just so many plot holes - too many to ignore, even for a summer blockbuster-type movie - but if you are looking for a film that's easy on the eyes, then this would qualify. The aliens come to Earth because we sent a signal out in 2005, essentially inviting them, and they are trying to transmit a signal back to their comrades to call them all here; however, if they want to conquer the Earth, why did they only kill humans who had weapons on them? There were a few instances in the movie where the aliens saw humans just sort of standing there, and they left those alone ... which is a little strange to me, if they were trying to take over Earth for themselves.
There's also a scene after the credits, if you're willing to wait (the credits are pretty long) - most of the audience at the screening I attended didn't know about it, so there was only a handful of us that stayed. The scene sets up a sequel nicely, so it will be interesting to see if there will be one, since Battleship has already made more than $200 million overseas.
Battleship is in theaters today, May 18th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 131 minutes. 3 stars out of 5.