When it comes to movie ideas, some should stay just that: ideas. Battleship is one such movie. The premise itself of being based off of a Hasbro board game is unarguably intriguing and the actual movie isn’t half bad. The issue with Battleship is that the guns, explosions, and aliens aren’t enough to make up for the fact that the movie just isn’t very gripping.
The plot is simple. In 2005, NASA signals discovered a life-sustainable planet, far away from our solar system, similar to earth. In the current day, Lieutenant Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is part of the RIMPAC naval exercises competition in Hawaii, and during one of these events the aliens who had received the signal from NASA come crashing down from outer space. The aliens then proceed to set up an electromagnetic barrier, leaving only three destroyers inside of the barrier with the aliens. It’s a pretty nice setup, and its most plausible point is that it accurately depicts how the world would react to an invasion. Unlike in Transformers, where only the U.S. army got involved in a worldwide crisis, this movie shows that the entire planet is affected and also manages to set up a scenario where it’s logical that only the U.S. could stop the threat. I like how it isn’t too unrealistic, as far as alien invasion naval war science fiction movies go.
Another impressive feat for Battleship is how it manages to implement the actual board game into the movie, in a really clever and meaningful way. To say how would be spoiling the plot, but it is definitely a highlight of the movie for fans of the classic game.
As far as acting goes, it’s acceptable. Taylor Kitsch plays the unwilling hero fairly well, although it’s obvious he’s acting and not fully absorbed in what’s going on around him. Brooklyn Decker plays the love interest to Taylor, and does a good job at being a female heroine, to a believable degree. Another large female role is Cora Raikes (Rihanna), a crew mate to Hopper. It’s obvious that she’s primarily a singer, but her acting isn’t half bad, minus the peculiar accent she uses. My favorite character would have to be Captain Nagata (Tadanobu Asano), as he is the only character who both excels in his role as the former rival, now companion, of Hopper and shows substantial character development. Everyone else just plays their part, but Nagata just does what he does amazingly.
Overall, Battleship definitely has its upsides: A solid plot, plausible acting and a great integration of the game it’s based on. What stops this movie from being good is that the entire film lacks character depth and peril; ultimately making the flashy visuals and events feel like something that should’ve been a graphic novel, not a multi-million dollar budget movie.