In the tradition of Transformers, "Battleship" is the latest Hollywood/Hasbro film endeavor, based off of the popular board game we've all come to know in some form or fashion. But unlike Transformers, where I expected everything, and in the end, was left with almost nothing but disappointment, a splitting headache, and the sudden urgency to take a nap, Battleship delivers everything Transformers only promised to offer, but includes some essential elements that Michael Bay and team missed in dealing with the Sci-Fi/Action genre.
I'm not gonna lie, I was expecting this movie to tank. I wasn't going to see this movie initially, but I had the sudden notion to see something new and figured I'd try it out. I was expecting the typical, contemporary blockbuster formula: a bad story, coupled with an overload of CGI and effects, a few big wig stars, (Liam Neeson) and a pop-singing celebrity/sex-symbol to get more butts in the seats...and one of Hans Zimmer's/Remote Control's boys. In my experience, the formula for a disastrous film. I wasn't expecting anything past this, but boy, was I proven wrong.
All the elements I mentioned above existed in this film, but a disastrous movie, this is not. Thankfully, Liam Neeson wasn't the main focus of the film, and neither was Rihanna, who did a more than decent job by-the-way. For her role, she did very well...better than I thought she would do. She actually made a good soldier HA HA And Steve Jablonsky (composer for the Transformers franchise)...WOW. That man put his entire butt in the score and farted, and in this case, that is a VERY good thing. I personally thought it was a good Sci-Fi/Action score, providing elements from both genres, which worked well with this film. I didn't go away humming a tune, but for shear engaging, musical statements, I give him his props. And at the core of this movie was good character development, particularly pertaining to the main character, Lieutenant Alex Hopper, played by Taylor Kitsch, who I know absolutely nothing about, and who I personally think is a strange-looking human being. But I digress. I liked what they did with the character of Alex Hopper, without the application of over-the-top scenarios and Hollywood moments. With war setting the atmosphere for this story, you get characters that are very believable and cause one to ponder the mental and physical plight of any real-life soldier, leaving an overall sympathy to be felt for such a reality, which is what I felt helped the success of this film. In a sense, this was just a good war movie, period.
Overall, the success of this film, in my eyes, is all attributed to one key factor, director Peter Berg. Believe me, I've seen a million movies like this, and I had actually become wearied by such big-budget, cinematic endeavors (and I'm still not healed), which is why I wasn't too excited about this film in the first place. But it's a testament to what good, solid filmmaking can do. In short, there was a lot of heart in this movie, in every aspect of it. The Transfilmmakers tried to bring it, but in their efforts to bring about potent moments of the heart, the potential to take such moments seriously had already been destroyed, as their efforts were drowned out by overly-pubescent humor geared toward adolescent boys. In the hands of a capable director, movies such as Battleship provide a fresh take on otherwise exhausted material. We've all seen Pearl Harbor and Battle: Los Angeles. We've all seen Independence Day, but with this film, I felt I went away with something I'd never seen before. I'm familiar with Mr. Berg's film credits, and I would definitely list this as one of his greats.
Battleship, for the genre, might be the most underrated movie of the year, so far. It's funny how the board game couldn't even compare to the Transformers toy line, but in the end, you get a better film. And believe me, this movie isn't without it's hokey "man moments", which is what keeps it from the 5 star rating, but such moments are so brief that they're easily forgotten. Battleship, in my opinion is a very successful Sci-Fi/Action film, without all the Michael Bay nonsense. This is the film that Transformers should have been.
Rating: 4.5/5.0 STARS