Our friend Ben joined us in watching Battleship. Here’s what he had to say:
In color theory there is a concept called the Bezold effect, an optical phenomenon where colors appear more vibrant depending on the colors surrounding them. Battleship has a similar effect but in a filmic context, its cinematic peers are rendered more vibrant in the shadow of its failure. The Transformers movies are boring and juvenile, but compared to the overblown incoherence of Battleship, they look like serious, lean affairs. Star Wars Episode I, one of the most pandering films in history, reminds you of American Graffiti after scenes of patriotic war veterans slow-mo walking into battle against the alien menace. “They are just so brave, those veterans. Thank you for your service! God bless America!” We are meant to say to ourselves. It’s just so easy, so stupid, and so false. It’s like if Transformers had the veterans of the Battle for Cybertron, old musty robots with rolled-up sleeves and ball caps, trot out before the big finale, before Transforming into the biggest, baddest transforming robots of all time and saving the day. It’s pathetic, dumb, and worst of all easy. Battleship is a terrible movie.
Why did I choose the above screenshot to represent Battleship, a large-scale action movie? Two reasons: 1.) It’s of Alexander Skarsgard, who is the best element of Battleship until he unceremoniously dies in a blown-up ship accident. 2.) It’s also of one of the stupidest (and there are many) and pointless shots in the movie, where there is a Skrillex-like drop before Alexander Skarsgard’s ship gets blasted with some kind of bomb, and we get to see the glorious Alexander Skarsgard’s face look unglorious.
Battleship is stupid. That’s a given. But there are a lot of small things that make it stupid that didn’t have to be there. Such as the fact that the majority of the movie takes place on ships in the Pacific ocean, where aliens drop down into the water from space and then shoot back up from the water. Despite all this movement, the little raft some of the characters (Rihanna, John Carter) are in NEVER MOVES. Okay, maybe it sways a little. But that thing would have been toppled over immediately, and they would have died, and the movie would have ended. And that would have been nice.
There’s also the fact that the alien bombs are shaped exactly like the pegs in the actual game of Battleship. I wouldn’t think that the filmmakers would want to remind us that we’re watching a movie based on a boring board game, but since Hasbro helped produce the thing, I guess they have to.
Liam Neeson is in this, too. I wanted Liam Neeson and Alexander Skarsgard to be in a movie together but . . . not like this. Not like this.
I think what I took away most from this movie was wondering how actual Navy personnel would react to it. It felt extremely offensive. I suppose the film tried to glorify the Navy but it felt more like it was a group of people that the rest of the American Military/the world never kept in the loop, if you just have a “I don’t give a shit attitude” you’ll automatically get promoted, and the movie made it seem like waves do not exist? I mean they exist and you can see them but when a huge alien ship crashes next to a destroyer the destroyer is not phased in the least.
I really had too many problems with this movie to enjoy it as much I wanted to. I guess that’s because I grew up in a Navy house.