In Home Viewings: "Battleship"

Dear Reader(s),

By day’s end, there are likely to be many reasons to remember August 28th, 2012. Perhaps a well-known celebrity will be arrested, a small earthquake will be detected in Arizona, John Mayer will pop up with a new gal pal (you stay away from Rachel McAdams, John), or another newsworthy event will take place, cementing this day in our memories forever. But as for me and my house, today will be remembered as the day that Battleship came out on Blu-Ray, making it readily available for multiple, shameless viewings in the vein of The A-Team and Fast Five.

I cannot blame you, dear reader(s), if Battleship has somehow slipped your memory after its less-than-stellar premiere in May. Based upon the board game of the same title, Battleship recounts the heroic tale of a group of Navy sailors, led by a troublemaking lieutenant (Taylor Kitsch), who stand as the only thing between an alien force and the total annihilation of the human race. When their more advanced weapon systems are knocked out, the sailors resort to the use of a World War II era battleship and basic sonar plotting to target and take down the alien crafts while buying time for a larger force to join the fray. It is part sci-fi, part popcorn action flick, part naval recruitment video, and all AWESOME.

And yet, very few viewers on these shores saw Battleship and even fewer gave it praise. Its theatrical run was incredibly short for a movie with a hefty budget ($200 million) and most critics hammered it as a tremendous flop belonging in the same category as Cutthroat Island and Waterworld. If you were to scan through reviews for Battleship, some of the descriptors you would find would include: “noisy”, “cliché”, “stupid”, “shameless”, “one of the dumbest ideas for a movie…ever” and on and on. I cannot, in good conscience, combat any of these adjectives nor will I try. In fact, I quite agree with just about all of them. Battleship is unquestionably noisy, cliché, stupid, shameless, and one of the dumbest ideas for a movie ever. How it ever got the green light in the first place is beyond me, though it does give you a hint at just how important the foreign market is to the future of blockbusters, as this film made (if you will excuse the pun) a boatload of money overseas.

And yet, one thing most of the reviews for Battleship have neglected to mention is that in spite of being stupid, shameless, noisy, etc., this movie is also an absurd amount of fun in ways I cannot truly justify nor elaborate on. There may not be a single scene, line, or character that I can point to as an illustration of what works in Battleship; I can only tell you that throughout the course of its obscenely long 130 minute runtime, never once did I hate my life. Okay, maybe once or twice when Rihanna and Brooklyn Decker were struggling to read their lines effectively I hated my life. But otherwise, I laughed a lot despite the obvious jokes, I rooted for the characters despite their shallowness, and I fully embraced the, “Yay for veterans!” attitude that ran through every ounce of the movie despite its blatant and obvious nature.

The biggest mistake in the making of Battleship is the fact that the studio ever acknowledged it was based on the ruddy board game. Had they kept Hasbro’s involvement in the dark, there’s a chance this movie would have garnered at least a marginally more positive reception from critics. As it is, though, I believe the idea that a movie could be developed out of a simple and outdated board game such as this clouded the minds of just about everyone who saw it, causing most viewers to go with a negative perception that is only deepened by the movie’s brazen foolishness. But there is a certain “don’t take this so seriously” slyness instilled in Battleship by director Peter Berg that is lost in all the negativity and that, “how could this possibly be good?!” mindset that accompanied virtually every critic into the theater door. The answer is Battleship CAN’T possibly be good and accepting that paves the way for a rollicking good time the likes of which we didn’t see enough of this summer.

I cannot and will not tell you, dear reader(s), that Battleship is good or that you should see it. If viewed without the proper mindset, there’s a chance this movie could actually make you stupider by approximately 17 percent. But as for me, August 28th, 2012 stands as a banner day in the world of absurd, “I can’t help but love this” entertainment and I can’t wait to watch this hunk of junk again.


P.S. Peter Berg, if you’re reading this, I already spent $10 on this film. Seeing as how I may be the only person who actually bought a ticket, I don’t think it would be too much to ask for a free Blu-Ray copy. Email me for my address. I see what you did here.