Battleship…with a “P”

To begin, please check out the trailer at this link – Battleship – and then come back for commentary and analysis.  And if you haven’t already, check out my review of the last two Pre-Avengers films on the Soontobeangel blog.

Umm…..Why?  Why did someone think this would make a good movie?  Why did someone try to build a story into a very simple, straight-forward boardgame?  And why did they think a director whose resume contains Friday Night Lights and Hancock would make this pile of bleep into something interesting? Why?

And what is up with the stars? We start with the odd choice of True Blood regular and Zoolander background man Alex Skarsgard the helmsmen of this film.  He has the cut look of a Naval Officer but I just feel like he has too much angst in him from that True Blood role.  Guess we will have to see if he can pull it out.

Next we get directors-pet Taylor Kitsch.  I mean it makes sense that you want a guy you know and who you can work with. However, a few bit parts in Snakes on a Plane and X-men: Origins does not really line him up as a serious Navy tough guy. Hope the directing pays off here.

Then we have Liam Neeson…  This is just what I call Step 4 on the Neeson Downward Spiral“.  It started with Clash of the Titans, went on with The A-Team, became a problem with Unknown, and will be reach it’s pentultimate point with Battleship.  I hear Clash of the Titans 2 (i.e.- Step 5) is on the way.  The roles aren’t good. The movies aren’t good.
Get it together Liam.

Oh and btw – Rihanna’s in it.  Yup.

One last point on the team behind this before I get into the trailer: the Hoeber Bros. Here they come! Writing a big blockbuster! They wrote Red…. and…..Whiteout…..and…….Red…….  Really not sure about the call there.

Okay. Now on to the trailer itself:

Welcome to Battle Los Angeles 2: Battle Hawaii.  This trailer is so stereotypical and can you really blame it?  It’s source material is so…non-existent.  The board game had no story and the trailer doesn’t do much to indicate that the film will either.

The video opens a soundtrack that matches any raunchy comedy (see Horrible Bosses).  Doesn’t bode well for this being legitimately worth my time.  It isn’t helped much by a horribly obvious CG Aircraft Carrier at 0:13. I mean really? In your movie about battleships you don’t bother to film a battleship!? Okay…..
They do have a great shot of the chick on the surfboard in the sunset.  That’s about it as far as the cinematography goes.

The next scene is kind of interesting.  It blends romantic old-style chivalry in it’s dialogue with the implicit sexual tension.  Not sure I have ever seen this before.  It provides the guttural pleasures young audiences seem to need while at the same time appealing to older crowd’s ethics.  Personally I don’t like that conjoining because I don’t think it is right to play the audiences desires in such a conflicting way.  However that could just be me.  Let me know what you think about this.  Please.

Now we get into the meat of the thing. Liam Neeson is being a tough guy and Skarsgard being a rebellious officer….wait….I swear this sounds familiar….OH YEAH!!!  This is

TOP GUN 2: This Time It’s Naval

Yeah.  We have Maverick being the rebellious jerk who suddenly finds he has to grow up and deal with a difficult situation, with a hard-nosed Admiral breathing down his neck and wishing he would become the person he could be.  Same plot, less interesting the second time around.

Basically everything in the first half of the trailer is old-hat.  We’ve seen it all before and this does nothing to excite me about this film.  If anything it makes me feel like I’ve seen this before.  The turn comes at 0:49.  We get away from the drama crap and get into the action!….sci-fi….horror……stuff…………

We see that – oh no – there is something mysterious off the coast of Hawaii and the Navy battleships that are off on exercises have to go investigate.  😐  Wow. I can honestly say that of all the bad choices the writers had for where to take this film, they chose the worst – “Let’s make it about aliens!”

The best moment of the whole trailer comes at 1:01.  I wish I could find a gif of him getting blasted off the ship over and over again 🙂  It is just so fun to watch him fall on his bleep before the movie does!

I honestly thought that when the alien ship shot the forcefield up in the air, it was setting up a giant version of the playing board in real life.  However I think I will be disappointed in that I actually hoped that would be the case. It just seems like another really poor decision from what was a poor decision to begin with.

From there it goes into horror mode.  We get the classic “the instruments aren’t working” quip from some Red Shirt helmsman, the obligatory quick cuts of said instruments messing up, the fade to black and then “monster” exploding out of something shot.  This is so cliche and boring, just like the movie 🙂

Finally we get the sci-fi shot at which we all cringe.  As the behemoth ship arises from the sea, any hope of this film containing even marginal quality goes down the drain.

Oh, and THANK YOU director for giving us that wonderfully ironic “3 versus 3” shot from above.  Just like it’s the video game!  😐  No.

And then end on a Liam Neeson line that is “totally bad-a, dude!” (yeah if you are a 13 year old twitter junkie).  Title sequence and then it’s over.  Finally.  In case I haven’t made this clear, I cannot express exactly how little I think of this coming film without resorting to language unbecoming of me.  It just seems like a waste of money, a waste of Universal’s time, a waste of the actors talents, and a waste of audience’s time in general.  I cannot fathom why anyone thought this would be a good idea and I can only hope they didn’t spend to much on this because once professional critics get a hold of this, The Room might have more credit going for it.

A Real Battleship

Thanks for sticking with me during my rant.  I won’t usually be this negative about a film or it’s trailer but I just can’t stand this.  Anyway, hope you enjoyed it and please let me know what you think in the comments below.  I would love to hear from you whether you agree or disagree.  Even if you are strongly neutral on the subject.  Let me know.

Next week I will be taking a crack at the trailer for a film that is already acquiring a lot of Oscar buzz –Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy With an All-star cast including Gary Oldman (Book of Eli), Colin Firth (King’s Speech), Tom Hardy (Inception), John Hurt (V for Vendetta), Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes),Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) – it’s going to be BIG.  I am very excited about it and I look forward to delving into the trailer with you guys next week.  So thanks, have a great day, make good choices, and don’t make movies about board games. Please.

Please Comment Below and Subscribe!

One last bit of news on this trailer:  Liam Neeson had a great line in this trailer that was cut for the final draft:


About Tyler D. Welch

Filmmaker, Storyteller, Scholar View all posts by Tyler D. Welch

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