Battleship: From Board Game to Screen Gem

May 15, 2012

Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the hype surrounding The Avengers like: “The Avengers had the highest grossing opening weekend ever!” “This is the best movie you will see all summer!” and “Iron Man 3 was awesome!” Like me, you’ve probably seen this movie and are pondering questions such as “Is Chris Hemsworth really a god – like in real life?” or “Maybe Scarlett Johansson is my favorite Avenger… wait, does ScarJo even have a super power?” I’m not here to answer those questions. I’m here to talk about a movie that is even more deserving of your money at the box office next weekend. Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to tag along with my ladies Makeda and Kate to a press preview of the new movie Battleship, and if I have anything to say about it – Battleship will not fall under Thor’s incredibly broad-shouldered shadow.

Like The Avengers, Battleship is your quintessential big-budget summer flick. Both movies touch upon whether we are alone in this universe and whether humans can put aside their egos in favor of the greater good in times of emergency. You know, typical action movie stuff.  Battleship may not look like anything special based on the previews you’ve seen – but it’s not just Transformers 6.5 and it’s also not just an extended fight scene between Taylor Kitsch and an alien boat. Battleship centers on Hopper (Kitsch) a typical guy in his twenties who has no direction and no motivation, until his brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgard) convinces him to get his life together by joining the Navy just as aliens invade Earth. Kitsch shines in this role, showing off his rebel with a heart of gold charm that he perfected on Friday Night Lights.

The major dramatic question in the movie is whether Hopper can become a leader to his crew (which includes Rihanna –fantastic in her well-chosen role) in order to save his friends and family, and ultimately the world. Don’t we all wonder whether we would have what it takes to make the tough decisions? While The Avengers focused more on the idea that superheroes have a dark side and may not play well with others, the story in Battleship is far more relatable to the viewers.

Even the action sequences in the movie are complementary to the narrative and the plot moves along at a quick pace. Not to mention it is obvious that much of the dialogue was improvised because the comedy and timing feels totally natural, just like the work the director Peter Berg did as creator of Friday Night Lights. Lastly, Berg’s respect for the Navy is evident throughout the movie. He cast not only a group of actual navy veterans but also Gregory Gadson (a real-life hero who has served in every major global conflict of the past two decades in which the U.S. has been involved) in one of the main roles.

If you loved The Avengers, I promise you’ll love Battleship too. If you thought The Avengers was a pretty darn good movie, but maybe lacked something, I swear Battleship has that thing The Avengers was missing. If you think nothing I’ve said makes any sense – just go because, um hello, what Glamazon doesn’t want to spend a few hours on a Sunday watching Kitsch and Skarsgard (and Liam Neeson)?

I think Kitsch (quoting Berg) said it best: “Let’s do it. Let’s kill it. Let’s make a badass, fun movie with a heartbeat in it!’” Mission accomplished, gentlemen.

Battleship is in theaters May 18th.

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