Established May 2010.

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Chris: Definitely.
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Chris: Yeah, but so what? Everybody's weird.

Film Critic for Twin Cities Live

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Movie Review: BATTLESHIP

Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson

When you decide to make a movie inspired by a two player children's game, where do you even begin? Let’s start with two very good looking brothers. Long haired Alex (Kitsch) is the deadbeat brother that can’t seem to get his act together. He is living off the couch of his older more mature brother, Stone (Skarsgard). They spend Alex’s birthday getting drinks at the local bar having some heart-to-heart conversion. Naturally, Alex gets distracted by beautiful blonde Samantha (Decker) who is at a bar stool all alone. In order to impress her, he breaks into a convenience store and steals a chicken burrito that she is craving. The cops show up as his not-so-stealth moves set off every alarm in the store. Alex gets tasered as he desperately tries to give the burrito to Samantha. Stone is livid as Samantha happens to be the daughter of his Navy Admiral (Neeson). Alex joins the US NAVY in order to get his act together and be with Samantha.

NASA has discovered that there is another planet that could have conditions similar to Earth’s. This means there could be a chance of intelligent life on the planet. They have designated a compound in Hawaii to send signals from a satellite to this planet in hopes of a response from the life forms that might exist. Years later, a response finally comes through. Alex and Stone are participating in the Navy’s RIMPAC opening ceremony exercises. During the exercises, it becomes apparent that five alien ships are approaching the Earth’s orbit. They crash onto Earth hitting Honk Kong and various locations around the Hawaiian Islands including where the Naval exercises are taking place. Alex, Stone, and company are second guessing if this is real or part of the drills. They determine this is no exercise and these aliens are far more than what they could have anticipated. They are a no-nonsense powerful species with massive vessels. You may recognize that the missiles from the aliens look just like the pegs used in the game.

I was hesitant going into Battleship when it first opened. Was it going to be a good popcorn summer action flick or would it be a long drawn out mess like Transformers? I was pleasantly surprised how much fun I had while watching a movie inspired by a game. Let's be real, it is no Marvel's The Avengers or Terminator 2: Judgment Day. With that being said, it is not as horrible as one would think. The actions scenes are loud, big, and very explosive. Berg wastes no time in getting right to the action. There is maybe twenty minutes of exposition and character set-up, but the battle begins pretty quickly after that. You don't need to wait until the final act to see ships blow up. These types of movies do not usually have the best screenplays. This is no exception either. The weak script leads to some pretty corny line readings by some of the actors, especially Rihanna. Maybe I should lay off her as this is her first movie. The production design of the aliens and their vessels seem very unoriginal. The vessels are basically Transformers as they shift around and contort to fire off the missiles. I appreciated that the aliens were given a very human look, but their body armor looks like a rejected Iron Man design. If you can get passed the cheese ball moments and bad one-liners, I think you can still have a lot of fun with the movie. It’s an action movie, and the explosions are pretty fun to watch. The aliens are pretty ruthless leaving any character, big or small, subject to an early death. Sure the movie could be way better and the filmmakers could have made some riskier and original choices, but the movie provides a mindless break that is sometimes needed in the summer.

RATING: *** (3 out of 5)

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