Saturday, March 2, 2013

Movie Review - Battleship

If we ever needed evidence that the Oscars are a load of crap, we have it now. A movie about a fake movie runs off with the awards, and Battleship never even got nominated.

Of course, it might be that Battleship was not nominated because it was simply dreadful. Perhaps it could have been helped a little if it had been joined by that Hunger Games chick, but I doubt it. The best way Battleship could have been improved is if someone found the original hard drive on which the movie was stored, and lit it on fire.

The plot of Battleship is pretty straightforward - we are invaded by aliens, who try to send a message home to their planet to send more spaceships, and the US Navy fights them off. And in the end, they use a battleship. It actually would have been kind of lame if they had not used a battleship, but because the Navy doesn't use battleships any more, they had to drag the USS Missouri out of retirement. Otherwise the movie would have been called Aircraft Carrier, and that is a dumb name for a movie. Actually, come to think of it, Battleship is also a dumb name for a movie.

Along the way, we get to see filmmakers doing things so stupid that only a drooling ignoramus would find them palatable. Anyone who has any experience with, well, anything, would find huge pieces of idiocy that should have shamed the creators of this ridiculous movie into scrapping the entire script and just making soft porn.

For example, at the beginning of the film, the main character (who starts out a real loser) breaks into a convenience store through the ceiling, steals stuff, causes considerable property damage, and then breaks back out again. The police catch up to him easily, and hit him with the tazer.

And in the next scene he's at his brother's house.

I admit to a degree of ignorance with respect to legal statutes, but I'm pretty sure breaking & entering, burglary, vandalism, and evading arrest are heavy enough that there would be a felony in there somewhere. And you don't get to go home before your hangover wears off if you have committed a felony. But it gets even better, because in the scene after that, the same criminally stupid asshole is now a Naval officer. And not just any officer, he's a Lieutenant. In the Navy, that takes a while. Also, they don't let convicted felons just become officers because their brothers say that would be cool.

But let's assume that some grievous oversight has allowed a slack jackass with a propensity for criminal mischief to become the officer in charge of the weapons room on a huge Naval vessel. And then let's pretend a giant spaceship flies into the ocean and just floats there, so the Navy sends three people out on a boarding party mission. I still find it difficult to believe that instead of Marines (you know, the fighting guys they put on Naval vessels to do stuff like, say, boarding parties), they would send the officer in charge of the weapons room and the chick who fires the Tomahawk missiles using a computer. But I suppose it was necessary to use that crew, because one of them was the star of the movie, and the other was Rihanna (she was taking a break from letting Chris Brown beat the crap out of her).

I could continue - all the other officers aboard die, and a lieutenant junior grade is suddenly the highest-ranking officer on the ship. The USS Missouri, after having been entirely retired and turned into a museum, sails great and has working shells on board. The tsunami detection system can be used to turn the entire area into a grid, so they can fire attacks by calling out letter and number coordinate after their radar quits working. The number of stupid things was so enormous, it almost overshadowed the biggest problem - the fact that the aliens had to call home if they wanted to invade.

Seriously, the entire movie hinges on the fact that the aliens have to be able to call home if they want to invade the planet, and so our heroes have to stop them. As if this starfaring race was capable of traveling hundreds of light years in the matter of a few weeks, but they weren't allowed to start any fights until they called their mothers for permission.

I will concede that the people doing the effects for the alien ships were capable. The aliens themselves were just humans with spiky beards and lizard eyes, but the ships were bitchin.' Not their weapons - they relied primarily on firing giant soup cans and sparkly yo-yos - but the designs of the ships themselves were nifty. It was a little stupid that they could fly all the way across the galaxy, but once they landed, they turned into boats that could only maneuver by jumping around like frogs on a hot plate. But they looked cool.

It seems pretty obvious to me that Liam Neeson's career has taken a downturn in recent years. Twenty years ago, he was making Schindler's List. Now he's in this utterly irredeemable turd of a movie designed solely to help Hasbro sell a boring kids' game. Alexander Skaarsgard I get - his biggest role to date has been as a hunky vampire on HBO. And Rihanna - sure, she needed something else to do besides be a horrible role model for young girls everywhere. But Liam Neeson has done things! He was in Taken, and Batman, and A-Team! OK, that last one was a bad example.

If you're looking for a movie so bad that you wish you could reclaim the last 132 minutes, you should definitely check out Battleship. It will completely ruin two hours of your life, unless you really like to do that MST3K running commentary bit where you mock everything about a movie while you watch it. For anyone who actually wants to enjoy what they watch, you need to avoid Battleship at all costs. Seriously, even if it's free.


Drew said...

Needing to call home for reinforcements is not totally unbelievable. Just think of all the space conquest games you've ever played. Even with way higher tech, a primitive planet can't be conquered with a scout ship.

Matt Drake said...

Yeah, but having to use our radios to do it is stupid. Seriously, you can fly halfway across the Milky Way in less than a year, but you can't rig a ham radio to phone home? And yes, I know their communications ship was destroyed when it flew into a satellite, because it was apparently piloted by Woody Woodpecker. But why was the comms ship entering the atmosphere in the first place? Frankly, humanity beat up the aliens in this movie because the aliens were freaking stupid. Even stupider than the humans.