Have you ever been on a really bad date? Like a date that just wouldn’t end? And the person you’re on a date with is trying so hard to make it fun? Like they keep repeating ‘oh, cool is this?’ or ‘I’m having a really great time, aren’t you?’ But nobody is really having a good time, are they? No. Both parties are just attempting to stave off the soul crushing loneliness of their stale empty apartments. The date is terrible. It’s not fun and no matter how many times you say ‘this is really great’ it’s never going to be.
That’s how Battleship felt. It’s the awkward and uncomfortable date that just wouldn’t end.
How Taylor Kitsch keeps getting big budget, summer tent pole movies I’ll never know. The dude is stiff as a board. He makes Keanu Reeves look like Daniel Day Lewis. Now, to be fair, Kitsch doesn’t have anything real to work with but he still sucks pretty hard.
The film, if you can even call it that, centers around Alex Hooper (Kitsch) the one man, plot-armored not-transformer killing machine. Aliens, due to the fact that they inexplicably hate us and want us to die, attack the earth soon after Alex has enlisted in the navy. Alex and a band of largely forgettable supporting characters engage in hand-to-not-transformer combat with the not-transformers in order to protect the human race from being wiped out by the not-transformers. Did I mention that the antagonists aren’t transformers? ‘Cause they’re not. At all. Ever. So, don’t think about it. ‘Cause they’re not.
The most bizarre aspect of this film is the fact that it exists. I realize that I’m splitting hairs here because many toy lines have been spun off into much beloved animated televisions shows, comic books, and feature films. But it’s a board game. A board game that has no real internal narrative. Monopoly? Ok, maybe you can make some sort of It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World type movie centering around real-estate. That’s kind of timely and might be interested. I can see that. There’s a cornel of an idea there. Battleship? The movie that I would see in my head as coming from a Battleship game would be a U-571esque tale about how a sinking Battleship is locked in deadly combat with an enemy battleship. Isn’t that what the game is? Battleships fighting each other? (And yes, I did just reference U-571. You’re welcome) Where did aliens come from? And why are the aliens not-Transformers? How does this make any sense to anyone?
When Guillermo Del Toro was pitching Hellboy, the studios wanted to know if he had to be name Hellboy and if he could be blue instead of red. They had a hard time making the mental leap to a story that had already been proven to work, but when approached for Battleship: the shitty movie they instantly gave it $250 million. What is this world that we live in? How was this movie made?
And the most disappointing part of the film? Liam Neeson doesn’t say ‘You’ve sunk my battleship.” That is quite literally the only reason I sat through this entire film and all I wanted was to hear Mr. Neeson say those four words. This movie is so terrible that they couldn’t even get that right.
I’ve heard people saying ‘Well, at least the CG was good.’ And sure, it is. But it honestly makes the movie even harder for me to watch because that means that Universal actually spent money of this movie that could have been spent on something else. There is next to nothing in this film that is worth the time it takes to consume it. The story is non-existent, Rihanna has a strange accent, Gambit is wooden, and the film pits the United States military against giant not-Transformers. It is a completely vacant and empty way for Universal to dump $250 million into tax write-offs.