Hasbro has had a string of successful movies based on their popular toy brands, namely Transformers and G.I. Joe. Those brands consist of action figures that have had comic books and television series made off of them, though. Hasbro’s latest toy to make the jump to the big screen is the board game Battleship. Is there enough substance there to craft out a full feature film, or is this ship already sunk?
Battleship’s premise is about as simple as they come. What starts out as simple naval exercises soon turns to catastrophe as an alien invasion threatens to wipe out the entire world, starting with Hawaii. You’d think that with such a simple plot, it’d be difficult to screw up, but somehow the film manages to sink itself before it even gets out of the harbor. Battleship appears to have gone through a stereotypical checklist for every Michael Bay film. Hot woman whose only purpose in the film is to be eye candy? Check. Overused one-liners? Check. Massive explosions? Double check. Apparently that’s all a film needs because anything that resembles an actual story is thrown out the window.
Basically NASA discovers a planet way out in the solar system that is similar to earth and has the potential for life so they decide to send out a message to make contact. Soon after, five alien space ships invade our planet and begin to run rampant and destroy everything they see as a threat. We aren’t really told why all this is going on, except for a brief three second flash that shows their home world being destroyed. Other than that, there’s no rhyme or reason to them. The same can be said about all the other cookie cutter characters of the film.
Taylor Kitsch ditches his traditional flowing locks for a more clean-cut Navy Lieutenant. Despite the haircut, he’s still the rebellious type who refuses to grow up. All it takes is impending doom for him to see his true potential. Joining him aboard the USS John Paul Jones is his fellow Friday Night Lights co-star Jesse Plemons, whose character is more for comic relief than anything. Then there’s Rihanna, who makes her acting debut. While it’s a nice change of pace to see a female Navy crew mate whose sole purpose is to look pretty – that job goes to Brooklyn Decker – Rihanna’s on screen time comes in short bursts coupled with snappy one-liners. Her role is essentially the live commentary of what’s going on in any given moment. Suffice to say she should probably stick to making music.
Ultimately, Battleship ends up being a mess. Most of that’s due to the fact that it’s based on a board game in which you try and guess the locations of your opponent’s ships. There’s even a scene in the film that attempts to recreate it, complete with ‘hit and miss’ lingo. Even the aliens’ weaponry looks like the pegs used to mark hits in the board game. All of that just doesn’t transition well into the film. There’s no sensible storyline at all, and for that, the film suffers immensely. Unfortunately, Battleship is one wreckage that isn’t worth salvaging.
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