Wednesday, June 13, 2012

That Sinking Feeling

My housemate and I had a deal. If I could I could get through the entirety of Peter Berg's Battleship, which she had been sent on DVD from Universal, then she would buy me a bottle of wine. I figured it was a challenge worthy of my time/skills/effort... umm, actually, I think I just really like wine. Still, watch it I did and if you follow me on Twitter then you certainly saw what I thought, but here for your reading pleasure (hah!) are what I saw as the pros and cons because, really, it was the only way I could put down my thoughts without getting lost in a lot of frou frou excess.

  • Taylor Kitsch and Alexander Skarsgård in Navy uniforms! Granted, Skarsgård isn't in the film all too much, and Kitsch quickly ditches the sexy duds for a far more appropriate alien-busting attire, but we can still thank the costume designers, Louise Mingenbach and Kimberly A. Tillman, for the brief scenes of these two attractive men (the Swede more so, but who's comparing?) walking around in these outfits. (thanks JA for the pictorial!)

  • The visual effects and sound elements were legitimately "quite good". I mean, they were obviously aping the Transformers films in that regard, but... well, umm... yeah? I dunno. Woohoo?
  • The Friday Night Lights reunion that really wasn't. Nothing that this film could have done was going to convince me that it wasn't just Peter Berg getting some of the ol' gang back together to muck about in front of a green screen and on the beach of Hawaii. Taylor Kitsch's character is exactly like Tim Riggins, so much so that Battleship becomes Tim Riggins Battles the Aliens (or Tim Riggins Joins the Navy, which ever you would prefer). Then there's Jesse Plemins acting exactly like Landry and, one can only imagine they wanted Adrianne Palicki for the Rihanna role. She was busy making that new G.I. Joe flick.
  • No seriously. I don't think I can point out anything else positive that won't also read as a negative. "All the parts that aren't Brooklyn Decker, except those bits are also very bad?" There's a moment where it goes from damning with faint praise to being downright damning.

Where do we begin?

  • The title? I don't think it is a mystery anymore that the film bares nothing to do with the original Hasbro board game, but did they even try outside of setting it on a battleship (and even then...) I mean, this isn't duelling forces battling against each other in a series of war games, it's the Navy battling against aliens. There were no aliens in the game. None. And half the movie isn't even set on the bloody ocean! Nor did it take two hours to complete a game. From the outset it appeared as if they'd just shoehorned the "Battleship" brand into a pre-existing script about the discovery of another Earth-like planet. I will say this though, I liked the way the alien bombs implanted themselves into the humans' ships much like the tokens do in the board game. That was cute of them.
  • Logic. I know I shouldn't have turned on Battleship with a belief that I'd be watching something that attempts to exist in the real world, but yet again it was like they weren't even trying. When explosions happen and rain down fire and debris and not one person gets hit directly below? The big destructive climax that... I don't know how it makes sense. When you have giant spaceship emerging out of the ocean (like in the picture below) and they don't cause a ripple in the ocean that the rubber dinghy is floating in? I just can't even. What?

  • The script. Again, I wasn't expecting Russian existentialism, but something a bit more invigorating than this would have been nice. Entire scenes built around characters asking "What's that?" "What is it doing?" "Who is that?" All that dialogue about the freakin' burrito? Awful. Alexander Skarsgård's character talking entirely in motivational cliché! Good grief. You've probably already read this Vulture piece that includes all of Rihanna's dialogue, and it's a good idea of the script in general. "Kentucky Fried Chicken!" :/
  • Speaking of Rihanna... I mean, this was never going to be The Rose - or, hell, even The Bodyguard - but what the hell was this? It comes as no surprise that she's willing to spout dialogue like "What's wrong with you, drama queen?" and "Get up, princess!", but she just kinda stood there like a limp noodle. What a yawn. And she didn't even perform a closing credits song? What use is she, then?
  • The racism. I counted two moments of characters questioning whether the Chinese are responsible for the unfolding events (example: "What is it? Lost cargo? The Chinese?"), and to then go and have Hong Kong be the only city destroyed by the aliens just strikes me as an eyebrow-raising irksome bit of filmmaking.
  • No Cher musical number. Ya know, to class up the joint.

Sadly, it was more Gina Riley than Cher. :/

Rock of Ages could have used a Cher number, too, but we'll get into that film later. Battleship? D. Now, where's that bottle of wine I was promised?


Stephanie said...

If Alexander Skarsgård had more time on screen, I might consider this worth watching.

Runs Like A Gay said...

Does it count as costume designing when they're wearing US military uniform?

All you have to do is call the suppliers and have one off the peg, surely?

Admittedly fun can be had choosing the right set of medals for Liam Neeson.