Mini Review: Battleship (1st trailer)
By Douglas Rusley
Originally published to Examiner.com on November 12, 2013
I suppose Jerry Bruckheimer is to blame for this noise. Before Pirates of the Caribbean, nobody thought a theme park right could make a viable big-budget blockbuster. It’s not as if there was a shortage of books or plays or TV shows or video games or other movies to adapt and butcher. But ol’ Jerry went for it anyway whole hog, and the result was a massively successful film franchise. Now it’s open season on everything forever, no matter how uncinematic, and the first one up in this new Hollywood adaptation machine is the Hasbro board game, Battleship. And we still have Asteroids and possibly Candyland to look forward to. Whoopie.
So now the full trailer for Battleship has been loosed upon us at last. The new big-budget blockbuster based on the classic board game features Taylor Kitsch (with his new short hair) as our upstart naval officer hero, Liam Neeson as an admiral, and—I am not making this up—pop superstar Rihanna in her acting debut. Alexander Skaarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, and Jessie Plemons co-star. The plot, as best as I can figure, has a group of naval destroyers (manned by Kitsch and company) investigating a strange landing around the Hawaiian islands, only to find an alien craft that seals the whole area in a forcefield and engages our heroes in a deadly shooting match while wreaking havoc on the surrounding islands.
The cast looks okay. Between this and John Carter of Mars, Taylor Kitsch looks to break out as a big movie star next year, and the hair looks fine. Liam Neeson just does his Liam Neeson thing. The oddball in the cast is of course Rihanna. There is nothing the filmmakers can do to make the sight of Rihanna wearing combat fatigues and wielding big guns not look weird. That headset looks way too big for her, and so does the gattling gun she’s manning. She only has a couple of lines, including an ambiguous voiceover talking about the invading aliens, I guess, which sounds like she knows more about these guys than she should. Hard to tell through all the explosions.
An early caption trumpets the film as “from the Hasbro company that brought you Transformers.” That’s precious, isn’t it? But it’s also apt, as the special effects action on display is striving for a Bay-formers feel, with a lot of gnarly shapeshifting alien machinery unleashing glorious carnage on our heroic ships. Though never clearly stated, this looks to be another in a long line of alien invasion movies that have been dropped on us the last couple of years. Maybe these aliens are the kind that create shooting games like this as a rite of passage or some such. Needless to say, the first trailer from a few months back made the film look just as silly and weird as it sounded when it was first announced, and this one doesn’t do much to reduce those fears. It could be stupid fun when it finally comes out. Or just stupid. We’ll see.
Battleship comes out May 18, 2012 from Universal Pictures.
Trailer Grade: C