Thursday, May 24, 2012

BATTLESHIP Review & Why Drive-Ins Are Amazing - He Said

Directed by: Peter Berg
Written by: Eric Hoeber, Jon Hoeber
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neseson, Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgard
Synopsis: Trapped in an invisible force field, a crew of a naval carrier must fend off an alien invasion.

I honestly had no intention of seeing BATTLESHIP. Most of my critic friends who had seen it were saying the movie wasn't even a "so bad it's good" type of film. But this was a special occasion in that I was going to be to seeing the movie during my first drive-in experience. This place, Galaxy Drive-in, is in Ennis, TX about 40 minutes away from Dallas, and for $6, you get a rather questionably paired double features (DARK SHADOWS/ THE LUCKY ONE, or THE AVENGERS/THE THREE STOOGERS). A dear friend and I decided to check out the BATTLESHIP/THE HUNGER GAMES double feature. I have to say that if it wasn't so far away, I would come to the drive-in all of the time. The experience was great!

Galaxy Drive-in entrace
Usually, going to the movie theater is a downright stressful situation. If you're worried about some d-bag checking their phone you can't do anything about it. But here, everyone is in their own cars, so they could be playing on an iPad for all I care, and it wouldn't bother me. What was even better was my car's sound system sounded completely badass. And even though they say otherwise, you can have outside snacks to enjoy. Finally, the vibe of the place was great. They were playing some 50's rockabilly music, plus they had those old school commercials telling you to get some "Gee-golly delicious snacks for the whole family." I've been YouTubing old intermission sequences because I loved that optimistic and care-free vibe of the videos.

Now, what about this "BATTLESHIP" movie? Was it a cheesy or even at all enjoyable? No. No it's not. I'm actually glad I had THE HUNGER GAMES (a much better movie than I expected) to look forward to, otherwise, I would've asked for my $3 back. When I told my boss I had seen it, he was surprised that Peter Berg directed this abysmal piece of garbage. It's strange because this movie is more and less all at the same time. The movie is more of that annoying military propaganda that Michael Bay movies try to be. It is more of that subtle product placement that befalls movies nowadays. It has more peg shaped bullets. It has much more explosions, aliens, explosions than most movies not named THE AVENGERS.

And yet, it's so much less of an actual movie. It is cliche-ridden with a "hero's journey." The dialogue is somehow more moronic than some PRINCE OF PERSIA nonsense. There are gems like "I think we should go up to the mountain," and, "I think we should get out of here," that were delivered by people that I'm not sure had any acting experience whatsoever. What makes it even worse was that the plot is completely non-sensical. At one point, you realize that the alien's "evil plot" was just to get some intergalactic cell phone reception.

Before I continue on what I don't like about the movie, let's get into some of the good stuff.  For one, the ship designs were pretty awesome. If this had been attached to a better property, I know I would've bought some form of those ships. For the video game fans, it actually has a bit of a Metal Gear Ray look without its legs. The way that the weapons deployed was pretty great, even if it looks to be completely derivative of either G.I. JOE or TRANSFORMERS movies.

And that's about where it ends. Liam Neeson is completely wasted in this movie. He doesn't do anything resembling the badass action hero that he has become. He stands there and just recites lines.  If you've seen the trailer, you've seen his performance. And while I loved the hell out of Taylor Kitsch in JOHN CARTER, I don't understand what the heck happened to him here. As Alex Hooper, any personality he might have is just gone. It's like Berg sucked the personality out of him and transplanted Sam Worthington's blank expression and line delivery.And Rihanna? She runs and pushes buttons. Compelling stuff. Everybody else I had zero expectation for. Brooklyn Decker as Tay-tay's girlfriend was probably even more generic and boring than Megan Fox in the first TRANSFORMERS movie.

What's worse is because of the fact that they just HAD to somehow connect the movie BATTLESHIP with the game battleship, they literally have a five minute sequence where they are playing the game against the alien ships. If I was Ebert, I'd spoil it right here, but I almost want people to actually experience the baffling justification for how they end up shooting at alien ships in the dark and yelling out random alphanumeric coordinates.

As my love for G.I. JOE: RISE OF COBRA implies, I can love cheesy horrible movies just fine and be proud to say so. However, when they are just poorly written, poorly acted, with no sense of fun or even any passion, I just can't get behind it. There are many movies that are equally badly written and acted, but at least the creators and actors might have believed in the project. Here, it seemed everybody was just  picking up a paycheck. And it showed. As this is horribly delayed (blame my awesome birthday present), I know that the movie didn't do much money at the box office. Whether that's because of THE AVENGERS completely dominating everything in its path or just the quality of the movie, we'll never truly know. I hope the financial failure of the movie will keep studios from having Ridley Scott make a freaking Monopoly movie.

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