Monday, October 1, 2012


Battleship deserved to fail not on its merits but from its genesis.  Once again we have a serviceable idea taken to an extreme where it becomes both a joke and an insult.  Now I generally loath the "Transformers" movies but it was based on a solid idea; let's take a bit of childhood nostalgia and update it and bring it to the screen as a blockbuster.  Unfortunately, someone misread that simple concept as "toys" and then decided well if "toys" work why not games.  So a host of boardgames from Candyland to Batttleship was sold (prostituted) to the screen.  Halfway through the process various people behind the scenes suddenly became awarre they were doing something inanely stupid.  Unfortunately, their attempts at sanity did nothing but add to the costs of the production.  Finally, when Battleship came out it had a pricetag supposedly around two hundred million dollars, like "John Carter," and like that film it failed at the box office by only doing medium business for a Tiffany bill.

The strange thing is that it wasn't that bad of a film.  Oh, it's no great shakes even by blockbuster standards but I liked it better than the last two "Transformers" movies.  I think what happened that the concept was so silly that those making the movie basically ignored it and did what they wanted which some how slipped under the studio radar.  The plot has that maverick character who's about to get drummed out of the navy given his big chance to be the hero.  In this case it is because spiny bearded aliens land near Hawaii and set up a force field as they try to get reenforcements.  First using a destroyer and then and old navy battle ship our hero must stop these high tech party poopers.

Now I said this isn't great shakes.  The script is cliche-o-rama ville.  The science is bupkiss.  For instance no way our radio signal would reach theirr planet for at least decades if not centuries.  Also the alien weapons are surprisingly badly aimed.  We do better with our drones.  On the other hand the cast is game and enthusiastic.  The action is clearly done and you can understand what's happening unlike the Transformers movie which fall into just ugly CGI.  The aliens are visually well realized though they admittedly look similar to the aliens in "The Avengers."

Truly if this film was budgeted at say a realistic sixty million dollars it would have been considered something of a hit.  A lesson my friends of what happens when one's mouth is far bigger than one's hands.

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