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Movie Review: “Battleship”

Battleship
Battleship

Grade: F

The film industry has reached an interesting place when movie studios begin adapting popular board games for feature length films. “Battleship,” the first attempt in quite some time at such an ambitious movement, is dead in the water.

“Battleship” follows an extremely simple premise: aliens, having responded to an intergalactic message from Earth scientists, land on Earth and try to establish communications to contact their home world.

The story never bothers to explain why they come to Earth. I came to the assumption they came for our resources or just to take over our planet. But I’m not even sure because the aliens don’t just kill people on sight, they have to pose a serious threat for them to take any violent action, which does happen, but not in the way that “Independence Day” or “Mars Attacks!” have depicted in the past.

I honestly don’t even know where to begin analyzing this film. It was a train wreck from beginning to end. It had poor dialogue, lousy acting and a story so full of holes that it fell in upon itself, unable to regain any momentum.

The worst part about the film was the camera work, which was absolutely atrocious. Audiences are constantly bombarded with slow motion shots of action and slow zooms on actors’ faces just after something dramatic has happened.

I joked afterwards that the total runtime for the film was actually an hour-and-a-half, but with the slow motion and zooms, that’s how it reached its actual runtime of two hours and 10 minutes — which was two hours and 10 minutes too long.

I know one thing for sure. If director Peter Berg directs all of his films this way, I will personally go out of my way to never see another one of his films.

The only thing I can say I enjoyed were the subtle nods to the board game, like the explosives the alien ships fired that looked like the pegs from the game and the computer grid used by the sailors looked like the grid players place their ships on. But, other than the battleships themselves, which only one actually makes an appearance and its part in the film was entirely underplayed, “Battleship” (the game) doesn’t have enough distinguishable characteristics to base an entire film off.

Games like “Monopoly” or “Clue” have very distinguishable characters and board game elements that make them much easier to write a script for.

I really think that board games should just stay away from film adaptation altogether. But the best course of action would be to make them as campy and as corny as possible. 1985’s “Clue” is just that and it works perfectly as a comedy.

“Hungry Hungry Hippos” would make a hilariously funny “B” horror movie. The amount of fun you could have with such a ridiculous concept would be limitless.

But in all seriousness “Battleship” was an awful attempt at something that should’ve just been left alone in the first place. Do yourself a favor and go see “The Avengers” for the second, third or even fourth time and stay very, very far away from “Battleship.”

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