BLU-RAY REVIEW: Battleship
Sci-fi Military Extravaganza Hits Hi-Def Home Video...
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Battleship received a lot of negative reviews when it first hit theaters. Many thought it lacked originality, others thought the acting was bland or the plot left something to be desired. But I say to all of those critics and reviewers who had nothing but negate thoughts about the film: blow it out your steam pipe, Battleship is darn near the perfect popcorn movie.
Battleship has everything a great, mindless, sci-fi military action film fan could want: solid acting by a impressive cast, lots of amazing special effects, a cool story filled with plenty of fun characters, an alien invasion, and let's not forget the most important part, a freaking real-life battleship: the U.S.S. Missouri! Director Peter Berg brings this live-action adaptation of the classic Hasbro naval war board game to life with gusto and flair...especially considering the source material. In fact, Battleship is really more impressive than it should be. The film features a script written by Jon and Erich Hoeber (RED, Whiteout); an impressive cast including Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna and Liam Neeson; an awesome soundtrack featuring the likes of AC/DC, ZZ Top, Stone Temple Pilots, The Black Keys among others; and gorgeous special effects by industry leader Industrial Light and Magic. While there's no doubt the film misses on a number of levels (so maybe it is lacking originality), Battleship still makes for a great time at the movies.
The film focuses on a group of international navy ships which are participating in war games off the coast of Pearl Harbor. Lt. Alex Hopper (Kitsch) and his older brother Cmd Stone Hopper (Skarsgård) are both serving aboard Navy vessels when an alien armada crash lands off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands and attempts to use the local satellites to communicate with their home planet. The alien's goal is simple: bring in the alien forces en mass, kill everyone, and destroy the earth. Of course, this simply won't due and no US Navy sailor in their right mind would allow this to happen. Thus commences what can only be described as ridiculously awesome sea battles between US Navy vessels and alien warships.
Now as a Marine Corps combat vet, I've served aboard two Navy vessels and, while there are various elements to the movie which sadly break the audience's suspension of disbelief, a good portion of the film's military setting stays accurate. This makes for a lot of fun for guys like me who are fans of the US military kickin' butt and takin' names. And there's no better butt to kick than alien butt. Of course, when we - as humanity - are threatened, it brings us together with those we might oppose and thus, makes for a great story in which enemies must become allies in order to defeat a larger, more powerful enemy. Remember Independence Day and Battle Los Angles? Put Battleship right along side these two as examples of fun, fantastical films which show just how awesome humanity can be when we decide to work together...and kill us some aliens!
One thing worth noting is the inclusion of a very special member of the cast, Army Col. Greg Gadson. A double amputee who lost his legs in Iraq back in 2007, Col. Gadson plays Lt. Col Mick Canales, a recovering war vet who helps ensure the aliens don't send an invite back home. Col. Gadson commands every scene in which he appears and makes for an amazing story himself. I would encourage anyone who sees the film to find out more about this amazing soldier who lost both his legs in service to his country and continues to serve his country today as the head of the Army's Wounded Warrior program.
As for the film, Battleship is gorgeous in 1080p hi-def. Much of the film was made on the waters off the coast of Hawaii to ensure as much realism as possible. The colors are bright and sharp, the water realistically hits the ships and sailors, and the effects are simply incredible. Likewise, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 fills ones home theater and the sound stage is utilized perfectly with dialogue clear and clean through the center speaker and the sounds of the ocean fill the surrounding speakers...until alien artillery begins to explode all around you and you're sent reeling for cover. For those with a 5.1 home theater, you're in for a treat as you'll hear the screams of incoming fire, speeding spacecrafts, powerful Naval vessels, and the roar of the Mighty Missouri ring throughout.
As for special features, Battleship if filled to the stern with some quality bonus material, including "All Access with Director Peter Berg," which provides a picture-in-picture video commentary, interviews, featurettes, and more; a "Second Screen Experience," which is more interactive available on your personal data device or PC; an alternate ending in previsualization CGI, allowing viewers to see what might have been; a 20-minute long "USS Missouri VIP Tour" with director Berg, President of the USS Missouri Memorial Association Michael Carr, and USS Missouri Senior Tour Guide Reginald H. Johnson. It's well worth a watch if you're interested in the legendary ship.
Other special features on the Battleship blu-ray include the 11 minute "Preparing for Battle," which provides a look at the board game, the use of the game's rules and ideas in the movie, and the ways in which they were incorporated into the film; the 12 minute "All Hands on Deck: The Cast," which interviews various actors as they chat about the film; the 7 minute "Engage in Battle," which features two featurettes about the making of the film at sea; the 6-minute "Commander Pete," which focuses on director Berg; and the 12 minute "The Visual Effects," which highlights the creation of the film's gorgeous effects.
To most, Battleship probably won't be very memorable. However, in my opinion, Battleship is a keeper and has a permanent place in my home video collection. It's one of those movies you can pop in at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon or 3am on a early Wednesday morning and you know exactly what you're getting each and every time: exciting battles, a fun story, a beautiful setting, tremendous special effects, a quality cast, and plenty of alien butt kickin' action.
Battleship is available now on blu-ray and DVD wherever fine home video is sold and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, action and destruction, and for language.
- Jess C. Horsley
Re: BLU-RAY REVIEW: Battleship
I completely agree with your movie review. This movie was fun and loud which in my book makes it a blockbuster. In the industry, over the top scenarios and effects are the norm and in this case it is also well done. I loved all of the characters, especially Alexander Skarsgård as the elder Hopper. I just watched this movie this weekend when I rented it through Blockbuster @ Home. I added it to my queue and a couple of days later it showed up at my door. It’s a huge time saver because I don’t have to chase the movie down at the kiosks. I work at Dish so I’ve been using the service for quite some and I love it. One thing that struck me about this movie is the similarities between us and the alien invaders. They look kind of human and seem to have the same weaknesses coupled with their inability to tolerate our sun. Then again, is it right to call them invaders? After all, we invited them with the beam that was sent through space only to find out that we’re exactly what they’re looking for. I really liked this movie and it will end up being a part of my collection on Blu-ray. :D