‘Battleship’

A Truly Awful Moment In Cinema

As is the case with most parts of human endeavors, there are stylists and then then there are fashion victims. If David Lean was a great stylist, then Steven Spielberg is a versatile stylist that learned from him. Down stream of Spielberg are any number of our current directors, but for some reason Spielberg has championed Michael Bay. Now, Michael Bay has made one film worthy of a Criterion Collection, but the rest of his recent oeuvre has been dominated by films with toy company sponsorship – namely the ‘Transformers’ movies – and they have been much lesser entries into the annals of cinema. Each subsequent generation adds more flash and subtracts meaning. Now, we find there is a new crop of directors who must have grown up on this popcorn fodder, for in Peter Berg we have a director who has studied all of Michael Berg’s moves without understanding anything about the basics of directing camera.

The resulting film is this highly problematic, messily assembled, conceptually stunted, ridiculous movie. Even for Hollywood, this is an extremely stupid film, and has the imprimatur of a mind that seems to have been stunted at age 10. This film makes ‘Pearl Harbor’ look like a masterpiece, and I can assure you ‘Pearl Harbor’ is not any kind of masterpiece.

What’s Good About It

The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Service soccer team beats the US Navy 2-1 somewhere towards the beginning. It’s flattery, but I’ll take it. There’s not much else to take in this film.

The other bit in the film that’s any good is when they finally work themselves into a situation that resembles the ‘Battleship’ game where they try and fire upon one another in the dark. It takes a lot of doing, but it gets there eventually. And it is the most satisfying bit of biffo in an otherwise derivative, hackneyed, tedious, head-scratcher of a film.

What’s Bad About It

I don’t have the energy to count them all, but first and foremost, the directing is awful, awful, awful. Really, you shouldn’t trust a director who can’t put together a two-hander in a bar, without crossing the line 6times.

The way the sun rises exactly at the moment the characters need it, gives this movie a certain ‘timeless’ quality. This is the work of a director with less talent than Ed Wood, but armed with a Michael Bay budget. There is no justice in the universe. None.

What’s Interesting About It

That it got made. No, really it’s really interesting that people looked at the Battlesihp game from Hasbro and decided there should be a movie based on it – and by God and all that is good, why should there be? – and having decided that there should be such a movie, they thought it was a really good idea if it was about an alien invasion, which somehow ends up with a navy battle with alien spacecraft that hop on the high seas. I mean, really folks, how fucked up is that? And Hollywood decided this was a good idea and went and made this thing.
It sure got made.

People have bitched mightily about how ‘John Carter’ flopped but honestly, that’s a great movie that was stabbed in the back by its own studio. This thing is nothing like that movie. It goes for 2 hours and you’re really grateful when it ends.

You’ll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again

Poor Taylor Kitsch. What the hell did he do to deserve two such box office disasters in a year. Will anybody back him to be a lead actor again?

My good friend said, “at least he wears a perfectly idiotic expression when the most bizarre things are going on. He’s perfect!”

Poor bastard.

The USS Missouri

The film makes a big deal about the ship, but honestly, Steven Seagal’s already done that in the first ‘Under Siege’ movie nearly 20 years ago. I didn’t think the ship needed another paean or tribute, but they keep doing this.  The USS Missouri is a funny ship. It’s the ship where they signed the end of the War in the Pacific. It fought in the Korean War and the Gulf War as well. Anytime there’s a movie about the US Navy, they do location work on it.

Did I Really Watch This Thing To Bitch About It?

This film really does my head in. With just about every film I write about here, I try to say something positive, salvage some meaning, derive some thoughts out of it. But this film is simply too terrible, too awful to forgive. Even if you say it’s a bit of entertainment and nothing like a film like, say, ‘Carnage’ or ‘The Rum Diary’, it’s so derivative and unimaginative you wonder just how on earth it got green-lit. If there is a god of film making, it’s a film that makes you think that particular god is blind.

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