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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
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

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

L: Emyr Thy King L: superdan The minute they get on the battleship I could practically hear r Spangled Bannerg. must not have had my hearing aid on the 'T' setting. You mean the actual battleship at the end or the destroyer? I seem to recall it being RIMPAC and seeing a multi-national set of flags. Admittedly there's a heavy American presence but it never came across to me as trumpet blowing America is great. an the battleship. The whole 'grizzled old vets man their stations in d... More

Posted by superdan at 14:53, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


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

L: superdan The minute they get on the battleship I could practically hear r Spangled Bannerg. must not have had my hearing aid on the 'T' setting. You mean the actual battleship at the end or the destroyer? I seem to recall it being RIMPAC and seeing a multi-national set of flags. Admittedly there's a heavy American presence but it never came across to me as trumpet blowing America is great. e only one though, everything else is lip service. It's not that big a deal, it's just chee... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 14:08, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

L: Emyr Thy King How about Crimson Tide (minus the officer conflict) with aliens? ou joking? Crimson Tide's actually a good film. ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 14:08, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

L: Emyr Thy King I really don't get this "chest beating" that's supposedly in the film. Some reference would be nice. minute they get on the battleship I could practically hear r Spangled Bannerg. act, they at least tried to a show an international front as it was a multi-national wargames exercise. Not to forget a Japanese captain was instrumental in fighting the aliens. the only one though, everything else is lip service. It's not that big a deal, it's just cheesy is all. ... More

Posted by superdan at 13:17, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

How about Crimson Tide (minus the officer conflict) with aliens? ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 13:02, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

L: Emyr Thy King You can't compare this film to Roomif I saw Hopper trying to have intercourse with Sam's belly button on the beach then fair enough. "Oh häi Hopper, how's your sex life?" uch better flm - RIGHT there! ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 12:03, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

All right, their arsenal wasn't very expansive but clearly they're were milking the whole pegs on your ship thing. Besides, I liked seeing the Phalanx in action. Good to see it actually hit its targets (ugh for me the best bits were the first engagement as they had no idea what to do and there was a fair bit of chaos. And later on when they used anti-material rifles to smash the alien's observation deck window wed by a 'frontside')...c'mon at least give points to it there. You can't compare thi... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 11:19, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

By tactical engagements, do you you mean ship targeting system locates & targets human ship / fires missiles / missiles land on ship / few seconds / BOOM!'quence which is repeated excessively during the second act both it terms of action and in terms of camera angle. The last time I saw a film regurgitating a sequence so frequently was mohnny & Lisa's love scenes - and y the worst film of all time. I have to be honest, I was dying for the Japanese guy to start decrying " - JUST FOR SOME G... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 00:27, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

It wasn't mean in a guaranteed manner, instead it should appeal more to the type that like a fair bit of action in their alien invasion films. In addition, I can overlook the failings of the film if the 'action quotient' was enough. If looked on in isolation, you don't enjoy the tactical engagements? ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 00:13, 26 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

L: Emyr Thy King l contain spoilers* I saw the film on Friday and I quite enjoyed it. Like CORELEONE, I do like my alien invasion films and re partial to that sort of action platter, then you will like the film. ote] Well I love my alien invasion films, yet seriously disliked this. ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 23:30, 25 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

l contain spoilers* I saw the film on Friday and I quite enjoyed it. Like CORELEONE, I do like my alien invasion films and if you're partial to that sort of action platter, then you will like the film. Before I go on, I want to share my amusement at some people spitting feathers over not liking a film that they most likely suspected of being a dud anyway. I think there's a certain someone here who certainly needs to be treated for sticky keys syndrome: "it's awful!!" *tears one's hai... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 14:12, 25 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Fun!

I don't know why, but I expected to quite enjoy this film, and for the first 20 or 30 minutes I did. It was quite funny and jovial in a Emmerich-at-his-best kind of way. After that, though (and just when it should be getting really good) it just nosedives. The biggest reason for this is that it starts taking itself waaaaay too seriously, and ladles on the cheese. I mean, it becomes vably and chest pounding to almost Bay-like levels. It also becomes slightly muddled and confusing, which I assume... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by superdan at 13:21, 23 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

L: Wild about Wilder He'll probably do his usual oh I was away & I've to many films too catch up on just like Planet Of The Apes. ut at least he had a reason to catch ROTPOTA. Aside from a projecting another kermodian rant, there is no reason to sit through this. ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 12:55, 19 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

He'll probably do his usual oh I was away & I've to many films too catch up on just like Planet Of The Apes. ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 09:45, 19 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

Glad to see I wasn't the only person who actually liked it. Am a big Friday Night Lights TV fan so was glad to see riggins and Landry back together.Feel a bit of a tit though that I only just realised the shape of the alien artilllery this morning, liked how they got the map co-ordinates into the film as well. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Stuntgoat at 16:27, 18 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

Enjoyed this immensely. Most fun I've had at the flicks in ages. The special effects seemed even more special with the fact they were in the daylight and out at sea. By no means perfect but great fun. I'm a sucker for alien invasion films so I'll bump this to 4 stars. ... More

Posted by CORLEONE at 12:48, 17 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

I wonder if he'll say anything about it not being in 3D? ... More

Posted by Hood_Man at 21:08, 16 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

Has Kermode reviewed this yet? Im always up for one of his rants. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 19:50, 16 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

Not as bad as was led to beleave (Just leave your brain at the door). Could've done without Al Murray (standing in for Simon Mayo?) on Radio5's Friday afternoons movie review show blurting out a major spoiler the whole a mildly entertaining 3/5 (& at least they did try & play battleships!) ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 10:19, 16 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

L: Deviation Stop me where I'm wrong as I've not seen this, but are you guys telling me they kept a subplot about going up and down a cliff but left out something as important to the characterization of the aliens AS THAT?! ep. Although to be fair, the going up and down the cliff bit is necessary to the plot. And rubbish. ... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 21:40, 15 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

Stop me where I'm wrong as I've not seen this, but are you guys telling me they kept a subplot about going up and down a cliff but left out something as important to the characterization of the aliens AS THAT?! ... More

Posted by Deviation at 20:20, 15 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

L: adambatman82 L: Rgirvan44 I won't even get started on the aliens attack/non-attack/writers needed a solution policy. Not exactly the greatest military minds pulling that together. /quote] Apparently they cut a massive section out of the film explaining more fully that the aliens weren't actually a threat (unless provoked). Think the provocation line might have proven too much for Hasbro (it still makes me wince to think of them as major players in the film biz). h... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 18:36, 15 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

L: Rgirvan44 I won't even get started on the aliens attack/non-attack/writers needed a solution policy. Not exactly the greatest military minds pulling that together. /quote] Apparently they cut a massive section out of the film explaining more fully that the aliens weren't actually a threat (unless provoked). Think the provocation line might have proven too much for Hasbro (it still makes me wince to think of them as major players in the film biz). ... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 18:32, 15 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

L: adambatman82 L: Rgirvan44 As for the tech at the end - yes the old ship wins the day. But modern tech does a lot of work in the film to get them to that point in the finale. I don't think it is that black and white. ut the whole point is that it happens at the end! Thats how resolution works! es, but you previously said it was a theme which ran through the whole film. I disagreed that it is in the whole film - because there are moments where it does help our heroes. Now... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 18:19, 15 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Battleship

L: adambatman82 L: Rgirvan44 Where is the satire? Old technology has benefits we don't appreicate - theme Our romantic look at our past military victories is silly, and we are mocking it - satire. I for one don't believe that Berg would be nasty enough to want audiences to laugh at the old crew and ship. There is warmth in the ACDC scene. I think he wants us to laugh along with them, and tap into the old war spirit. he satire is in the manner in which Berg pre... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 18:17, 15 April 2012 | Report This Post


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