The adaptation a much-loved, classic television show into a feature-length theatrical flick has proven pretty much to be a cinch in the past. Why, we’ve seen Addams families, Transformers, and so much more galore come and go for the better part of the last twenty-some-odd years now. Of course, once Hollywood’s finest begin to run out of bad ideas, they have to fall upon something else to draw their inspiration from. Now, it seems, that motivation is being summoned by classic Milton Bradley games that pre-date World War I. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Naturally, there’s not a whole heck of a lot to be inspired by with a game like Battleship. In fact, there’s absolutely nothing — save for the famous line from those silly ol’ television commercials, “You sunk my Battleship!” And so, one must look for guidance elsewhere: and steal a bit of this and that from just about every other popular (or at least successful) movie made in the last forty years or so in order to come up with something at least resembling a hazy and sluggish outline of something a cocaine-fueled studio executive might fancy to be a plot.
So, Battleship comes forcefully into play, delivering a tale of alien invasion (drawn from a strategy game, mind you!) that pilfers one moment after another from moving pictures like Star Trek (2009), Independence Day (1996), Aliens (1986), and so on and so forth. When it comes to selling the movie as a whole, however, one must choose its performers carefully — if audiences are to believe a single frame of this poorly stitched-together patchwork quilt made out of recycled celluloid.
Who else can lead Earth against an alien invasion, then, than alleged actor Taylor Kitsch and recording artist Rihanna (in her film debut)? Teenie-bopper audience vote: check. A couple of young, pretty faces alone can’t hold all the weight a solid gold stinker of a sinker like this has to throw at us, though, so there should be at least one name actor here. In this case, it’s a highly-embarrassed (and most likely handsomely-paid) Liam Neeson, who — apart from looking like he’s cross-eyed on the cover art — delivers his worst American accent ever here in a role that he literally phones in at times.
Now, if you take all of the above ingredients and mix them together, you have a surefire recipe for silliness. In fact, in this case, you have a CGI-laden, bothersome eyesore littered with bad acting, an annoying subwoofer-heavy soundtrack from the same feller who composed the noise heard in the Transformers franchise (oh, I just thought of another movie they ripped-off for this one!), and an extremely clichéd paint-by-numbers script laced with some truly awful dialogue. And yet, somehow, this turkey actually made a profit at the box office.
Pardon me for a moment — my Stupidity Sensors have just gone into overload.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has brought us the complete and utter travesty that is known as Battleship to Blu-ray so that future generations might learn from our mistakes in a High-Def transfer that is — unlike the film itself — perfect. From the beautiful and vibrant colors, to the strong contrast, and to the finely-edged detail as well, Battleship delivers in terms of video with this release. Likewise, the film’s 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless soundtrack also kicks some serious alien butt, taking viewers into a world of crappy incidental noise that passes itself as music, lush sound effects culled from the very finest of sound effects libraries, and dialogue like “Holy shit! A hit sir! Hit!”
Special features? You bet. Battleship sports an impressive résumé of extras, beginning with a picture-in-picture video commentary by director Peter Berg. Also included is a more interactive method of suffering through the film via your tablet or computer; an animatic cut of an alternate ending; a tour of the USS Missouri (as featured in the film, much to the Naval Department’s dismay, I’m sure), and several truly forgettable behind-the-scenes/making-of featurettes that bring that old saying to life: “Why, in the name of all that is holy and just, do you think I would be interested in all of this?”
Do yourself a favor and play the board game instead. It at least doesn’t have Rihanna in it.