BATTLESHIP: The USN Saves the World

By Dr. Craig D. Reid

Last year in Battle LA, a handful of US Marines from Camp Pendleton (32 miles North of San Diego, near Oceanside, California) saved the world from an alien invasion and now they’re baaaaaack. That’s right, new and improved aliens have arrived to take over the world in Battleship, and whose going to save the world this year?  A World War II destroyer manned by the US Navy, one of Thor’s assistants from last summer’s Thor,  a  few minor alien distractions caused by a US Army officer with two prosthetic legs, his female physical therapist and a nerd scientist that gives us the movie’s hearty, “Hear Ye, Hear Ye,” tag line during the opening minute of the film.

Now are you ready for this paragraph?  Here goes.

Battleship is outlandish, outrageous and out of this world. The film is really out there but apparently out of bounds for most film critics who frivolously compare it to Michael Bay with outbursts of the movie being out cold on the outlook meter. Ignore these outhouse collections of diarrhea of the mouth from outcastes of the film business whose out welling of anger is outright aimed at themselves for not having the outstanding filmmaking savvy necessary to make their own film. These same folks laughed at Rambo, Terminator and scoffed at James Cameron’s Titanic before it was released.

It just goes to show you the truth in the words of Roger Ebert, “Film critics are critics because they can’t make films.” Why is he so respected? He is a filmmaker and a critic. BTW…me to…far out.

The first act of the film is dumb, as is the lead character Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch from John Carter). But that’s the point of the film, it’s a movie that requires no thought, the  plot is so simple that a mouse from the “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” would revel over the human’s reactions to his mice brethren’s planned interactions and one would be dumb not to give it a go. Sometimes you just need to sit back and watch a film that’s full of illogic, but is still easy to understand and watch, and take in the visuals…oh, isn’t that what a film is ultimately supposed to be….show it and not say it?

I mean, come on, it’s based on a Hasbro board game that was initially created by Milton Bradley in 1967 under the tag line…”You Sunk My Battleship.” The twist of the film is that the game’s tag line has nothing to do with the sinking of a battleship of this planet per se, but the attempted sinking of an alien battleship. If you listen carefully toward the end of the film, you hear the muffled voice of an alien that seemingly grunts….”Mu lunc I ma-ul-lip.” What does it mean?  Watch the film.

Director Peter Berg actually delivers a successful noisy, bunch of action sequences that pummels the senses with thankfully no red herrings, because trying to fish one out of these waters would simply add to the unbelievability that humans can once again defeat aliens more powerful than one of the US Navy’s most powerful aircraft carrier, future namesakes….Captain Kirk’s USS Enterprise.

So how is the movie different from the board game where two kids try to figure out where each others pegged battleships are sailing on the gray seas of hidden peg boards?

When Alex Hopper tries to prove his worth to his future love interest Sam (Brooklyn Decker; the aforementioned physical therapist) by procuring a chicken burrito, the ensuing scandal with the police and tasers (fortunately not a phaser from Kirk’s Enterprise), Alex joins the Navy to sail the seven seas where his renegade antics lands him in hot ocean water with Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson; Sam’s dad). One stupid step from a court martial and Alex’s career on the rocks, what should come along to save his butt and teach him valuable lessons about teamwork, humility and bravery?  A full on naval alien invasion.

Am I the only one getting it? We quickly learn that the aliens are from the Planet G, which makes these vicious, out to take over our world ETs for no apparent reason, G-Men. Talk about a subliminal shot at the FBI. And for those who may have figured that out, well, maybe that’s a reason why to those critics why the film sucks…Hoover is the leader as these G-men zip around in vacuum suits.  Crazily enough, so long as your an innocent human with no weapons, the aliens will leave you alone…not unlike the FBI will also make you untouchable providing you’re innocent of any wrong doing. I’m just saying.  :o)

I also think it’s the first time in cinema that when some outside force rears its ugly head and technology to prove it’s power point presentation to the puny humans, the hulk of destruction begins not in New York City…not Los Angeles…..no, not even some amazing European city…but Smog Kong….sorry, Hong Kong, where the air sucks.

Bottom merit line,  Battleship is a bombastic fun film, popcorny to the max, and we get to see some modern USN firepower, which succinctly reveals that if some country wants to hassle the United States at sea….are you reading this North Korea in the Japan Sea…we’ll sink your battleship.

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