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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Good 3 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Alexander Skarsgård
Brooklyn Decker
Liam Neeson
Taylor Kitsch
Rihanna.
Directors
Peter Berg.
Screenwriters
Erich Hoeber
Jon Hoeber.
Running Time
131 minutes

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Battleship
Brine over brains


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Plot
When mankind beams a radio signal into space, a reply comes from “Planet G”, in the form of alien crafts that splash down in the waters off Hawaii. It’s down to sailor Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) and his crew to man up and prevent an all-out invasion of Earth.


Review
Battleship
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Battleship is an event movie so lunkheaded - both in concept and execution - that it’s hard not to suspect director Peter Berg of playing a prank. The people putting Earth in peril are scientists (boo!), whose attempts to probe the solar system draw the attention of a fleet of vicious, snake-eyed space-trolls. The people saving the day are the US military (hoo-rah!), portrayed with so many adoring shots of gleaming hardware that even Michael Bay might blanch. From the first-act face-off between the Navy fleet and a towering UFO, where the humans appear to shoot first, to an ultra-slo-mo torpedo-loading sequence soundtracked by excruciating cock rock, Battleship seems geared squarely towards gun-toting rednecks. Is Berg, the intelligent filmmaker behind Friday Night Lights and The Kingdom, a Michael Mann protégé no less, daring to spoof the blockbuster?

Evidence, sadly, indicates that both he and his film are in earnest. Despite glimmers of humour early on, as Taylor Kitsch’s rebellious no-hoper raids a convenience store to get a hot girl (Brooklyn Decker) a burrito, once he cuts his hair and ships up Battleship changes course, becoming an effects extravaganza scrubbed clean of personality. The fact that the actual US Navy were involved in production, not only loaning vessels but providing sailors as extras, may be partly to blame; there’s not a single human character who’s anything less than heroic. The Japanese captain who teams up with the Yanks, thus making up for Pearl Harbor; the gutsy veteran with metal legs; Liam Neeson’s gruff Admiral; Rihanna’s gunner, who barely gets anything to do except yell, “Boom!” — all are about as memorable as sea-foam.

Which leaves the baddies. As insane as it sounds, Battleship could see you yearning for the character development of Transformers. The CG aliens here have no personality (beyond their curious ginger beards) and no clear goals, despite frequent Terminator-style POV shots. The action, meanwhile, is both small in scale — while Berg avoids Bay’s coarser tendencies, he also fails to deliver many memorable money shots — and disappointingly samey. The camera lingers so long on slowly turning destroyers, even a seagull would check its watch.

You have to admire Berg (or possibly the visionary suits at Hasbro) for jumping through hoops to engineer a sequence that replicates the board game this film, preposterously, is based on. But it’s a touch of silliness that’s sorely missing elsewhere. At one point, a character barks, “Let’s see if we can buy the world another day!”, to which his companion retorts, “Who talks like that?” The answer, in Battleship, is everyone.


Verdict
Miss.


Reviewed by Nick de Semlyen

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Battleship
Empire Star Rating

That sinking feeling

Yes, someone actually greenlit the expenditure of over $200 million to make a film based on the board game. And yes, there is a scene where the heroes (the US navy) actually plot their actions using co-ordinates. While the special effects of an alien invasion at sea are pretty spiffy and director Berg handles the mayhem in a coherent fashion considering he’s essentially making a Michael Bay movie, the characterisations are equal parts implausible and ludicrous and the film’s ultimate... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by RJNeb2 at 13:29, 02 September 2014 | Report This Post


Great Fun

This is a film called battleship it isn't some oscar nominated movie it is simply just a fun movie with some humour, decent action and yes Rock music I liked it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rcrofty7 at 18:09, 04 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: actually really good fun

I really enjoyed it. It was fun and didn't take itself too seriously and it even had a penalty shoot out (a nod towards the hit and miss nature of the boardgame? No, I'm over thinking that). Japanese bloke should have been English, though. Then we'd SPOILERS Have won a penalty shoot out for once. No, I loved it - two hours of silly entertainment. ... More

Posted by Russ Whitfield at 13:01, 21 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: actually really good fun

What an expensive load of shit. Couldn't connect with this on any emotional level - not funny, not suspenseful, not exciting, and wall-to-wall CGI is seriously dull to watch for 2 hours without some sort of decent plotting. When a film like this doesn't even offer brain-off escapism on a basic level then it's an epic fail for me. Godawful. ... More

Posted by Vitamin F at 12:34, 21 November 2012 | Report This Post


actually really good fun

expected the worse but this aint a bad movie at all and despite reviews has its tongue firmly in its cheak- as proven with the line "who actually says that!" . nice pace, good effects, plot a bit weak granted but overall not a bad, fun, dumb actioner at sea. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mclane1 at 11:18, 15 September 2012 | Report This Post


Good Film

i liked this film there were some call parts but the one thing that let it down was it was a little bit to long like instead of two hours and a bit it could have been like one hour and forty-five mins ( if you cut the boring bits out) but its a good watch. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by newmovies0189 at 16:18, 24 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

I now think this is the worst movie of the summer - but I really want to know how the aliens worked with regard to shooting/non-shooting. Was there a previous draft where they were a peaceful race? ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 01:03, 23 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

Battleship in't gonna sink this battleship no way!'o without talking too much about the classic boardgame from my childhood this is HIPens come to earth and land in the sea near some US battleships, they are unfriendly, the ships engage in sea warfare and the humans win (check..the Americans save the world). Is that a spoiler? no no no no no, well yes but I think I can safely say everyone should realise this. So 'Independence Day' at sea you say? well your pretty darn right mateys, th... More

Posted by Phubbs at 07:09, 25 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Flowers and Football tops and an alien..

I take it you're a follower of Peter MacNicol? I liked his work in 3rsidn't have much to do in the film except shout at people and boss them around what the admiral said to him about the only way he'd send a plane into the barrier was if the Sec Def was a co-pilot! I agree, the post-credits scene doesn't mesh with the rest of the film and it looks like a last minute pick-up shot by a second-unit director or something. But it sets up a potential sequel should they wish to go full-steam ahead wi... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 00:41, 28 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Flowers and Football tops and an alien..

L: Scruffybobby Pretty sure it is real. If you remember there's a throwaway reference in the film to part of the damaged ship landing in Scotland - guess this is a payoff to that.  It really doesn't seem to gel with the rest of the film though. ow that you mention it, I do remember Scotland being referenced in some round table discussion that Peter McNicol was involved in. And you're right, it's definitely out of step with the rest of the film. ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 23:03, 27 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Flowers and Football tops and an alien..

Pretty sure it is real. If you remember there's a throwaway reference in the film to part of the damaged ship landing in Scotland - guess this is a payoff to that.  It really doesn't seem to gel with the rest of the film though. ... More

Posted by Scruffybobby at 22:21, 27 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Flowers and Football tops and an alien..

Judging by internet chatter it is, fuck a duck! t's bloody awful as well... ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 22:01, 27 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Flowers and Football tops and an alien..

L: Emyr Thy King I'm sure many of the Scots here (Rgirv and Qwerty *ahem*) would be thrilled to know there's a post-credits scene for the film eary me I hear you say! I can confirm it's genuine as I did stay for the credits even though I had no idea there'd be a post-credits sequence. It's a bit off-]er ("drop 'yer kegs and run lads!") but clear sequel bait. I have to be honest I had more of a chance understanding the Japanese subtitles than what the Scots were saying...anyway, enjoy: ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 21:57, 27 April 2012 | Report This Post


Flowers and Football tops and an alien..

I'm sure many of the Scots here (Rgirv and Qwerty *ahem*) would be thrilled to know there's a post-credits scene for the film eary me I hear you say! I can confirm it's genuine as I did stay for the credits even though I had no idea there'd be a post-credits sequence. It's a bit off-]er ("drop 'yer kegs and run lads!") but clear sequel bait. I have to be honest I had more of a chance understanding the Japanese subtitles than what the Scots were saying...anyway, enjoy: rid reference NN ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 18:30, 27 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Boatswain's call....a bit too high pitched

L: Qwerty Norris I say that you hopper to it.....right now!ut you're probably right. Unless you want to be Brett Ratner's eunuch or something, it's unlikely to fly.f course I'm right. I'd have to use that line from Topgun: "No, you can be mine!" although I wouldn't have much use for a eunuch (which would make it seem as though I'm some Quantum Leaping Sam Beckettesque über feminist trapped in a man's body).. to please yes, but an idiot? Certainly not. tad condescending sir, I'd rathe... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 03:41, 27 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Boatswain's call....a bit too high pitched

L: Emyr Thy King Problem is no studio or certainly a major studio would want to back such a story. As they'd want enough 'everydayman' stock characters in there to make a financially meaty broth. Maybe I ought to write a script or something heh. say that you hop to it.....right now!ut you're probably right. Unless you want to be Brett Ratner's eunuch or something, it's unlikely to fly. L: Emyr Thy King I wasn't taking digs otherwise I wouldn't have been so kind. I was... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 19:29, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Boatswain's call....a bit too high pitched

L: Qwerty Norris Well you've already devised a better film than Peter Berg has.roblem is no studio or certainly a major studio would want to back such a story. As they'd want enough 'everydayman' stock characters in there to make a financially meaty broth. Maybe I ought to write a script or something heh. apologise if I didn't attempt to provide an in-depth critique over a film that's pretty much deserving of none. Some films you want to analyse, some you want to discuss, others you ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 18:03, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Boatswain's call....a bit too high pitched

L: Emyr Thy King Personally I would've stripped the Transformers element of the film. Ditched any reference to the rest of the world. Possibly kept the action centered around Hawaii but not on it and just had the military characters involved. And essentially made it a fleet on fleet battle but keep the 'blind firing' element of the story. I think that's where they missed a beat here. And possibly at some point, gone for a Crimson Tide vibe in the sense that you have this taut, tense and c... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 17:40, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Boatswain's call....a bit too high pitched

L: Qwerty Norris If it was fun - like the first 10 minutes suggested it could be. If it had set-pieces that were actually memorable. If they had actually bothered to use Liam Neeson. If they had a less hateful protagonist. If they had no island subplot whatsoever. If it had just been more than essentially an elaborate portrayal of literally playing the board game. If they bothered to give the aliens some sort of character or motivation or insight or something! If it were 20 to ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 17:14, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

This was almost exactly what I expected, ie spectacular nonsense. We just accept the spectacle nowadays don't we? This gave real value in explosions, effects etc, and even included a game of Battleships and Cruisers - I havent played that for years. One amazing plot twist that no one seems to have mentioned is that Rihanna keeps her clothes on. Who saw that coming? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by GCH at 16:50, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Boatswain's call....a bit too high pitched

L: Emyr Thy King But I enjoyed this film, you didn't. Just curious to know how else you would've liked it. and yes I'd like that approach as its original and hasn't really been attempted as far as I recall. f it was fun - like the first 10 minutes suggested it could be. If it had set-pieces that were actually memorable. If they had actually bothered to use Liam Neeson. If they had a less hateful protagonist. If they had no island subplot whatsoever. If it had just bee... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 16:48, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Boatswain's call....a bit too high pitched

L: Qwerty Norris Indeed, but that's a specific element.es, but plot elements withstanding. There's also a certain claustrophobic and tense atmosphere within the film. Such as when they engage that Russian hunter killer sub. Which is what I was aiming for...(tubes three and four) tually you did, but nevermind....o I didn't. I simply asked whether that style of film or approach would've been more your kind of thing. With more action of course. I made no comparison. Perhaps I should've ela... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 16:17, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Boatswain's call....a bit too high pitched

L: Emyr Thy King Yeah son, you don't need to explain the premise of son Tide me. Although you probably should add responsibility of nuclear arms to that and the chain-of-command. As the central conceit was who's really in charge of launching nucelear weapons, the commander-in-chief or a submarine commander and its implications thereof. ndeed, but that's a specific element. L: Emyr Thy King Anyway, there is no direct relation and I made none. ell actually you did, but ne... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 15:55, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Boatswain's call....a bit too high pitched

L: superdan I mean the battleship. The whole 'grizzled old vets man their stations in defence of the American islands' thing came across as trumpet blowing to me.ighto...but it's set around Hawaii where an infamous incident occurred. It's sort of seared into the American psyche so it's pretty unavoidable. I thought it worked in a reverential/quirky kind of way. then.ndeed. ve a warning signal in the form of a horn, which the aliens responded to in a similar fashion. They then fired... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 15:38, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Boatswain's call....a bit too high pitched

L: Emyr Thy King No, you misunderstood. I meant as an approach to a naval sci-fi war film/thriller. That blend might be interesting to you. Rather than a 'fire for effect' 16-inch gun extravaganza. And yes of course it's a good film, it's why I mentioned it. i]Crimson Tideplace pretty much within the confines of a nuclear submarine, and is about left versus right, t for laterthe occasional dosage of mutiny & betrayal. hip op Gunliens & boredom, yet without the homo-eroti... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 15:03, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


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