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Old May 19 2012, 10:58 PM   #19
Locutus of Bored
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Location: Huntington Beach, California
Re: Battleship: Spoilers, Discuss, Yadda, Yadda, Yadda

I'd put Battleship on about the same level as the first Transformers (which it is stylistically very similar to for obvious reasons), though with better humor that doesn't resort to being crass. It's enjoyable fluff with some great action/FX scenes. I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was, though, and there were a couple scenes that made me and the audience cheer.

The necessary callbacks to the game were done in a clever way that didn't detract from the story -- the alien artillery rounds look like the game pegs and at one point the stealthy opponents are blindly hunting for each other at night using a lettered and numbered grid display based on the location of wave displacement buoys, which was cool.

As is usually the case with alien invasion movies, the aliens either have strange motives, counter-intuitive behavior, or absurd weaknesses that somehow allow the ragtag human survivors to defeat them, and this film is no exception. However, if you can forgive an alien fleet being able to be taken down because their systems are Windows compatible, you can forgive anything in this.

The gleefully cheesy parts are when the old battleship vets who operate the USS Missouri museum do their best Right Stuff walk toward the camera to help our surviving heroes save the day by getting the ship ready to sail from port. The audience loved that. Plus, the AC/DC musical montage as they prepared the ship for battle was delightfully 80s.

Some poignancy came in to the story when real-life Army vet and double amputee Gregory D. Gadson got to play a recovering vet who's depressed and whose confidence is shot until he has to rise to the challenge to protect his civilian companions from aliens trying to jury-rig a radio telescope. The biggest cheer from the audience came when he with his (real) powered prosthetic legs squared off against an alien in its exoskeletal armor.

This movie is not anywhere near the league of the excellent Avengers, and certainly won't compete with it in terms of box office. But if you enjoyed movies like Independence Day and the first Transformers (not the sequels), and would like to see huge warships duking it out with aliens in completely outmoded line-of-sight naval combat for some inexplicable reason, you'll probably enjoy this film. I'd give it a "B."
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