Battleship (2012) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Battleship (2012)

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Battleship is a movie so incredibly stupid in its writing that I don’t have to do anything more than to give a plot synopsis of the film to prove my point.  Be warned, I am going to spoil this movie coming up but, honestly, this movie isn’t The Third Man, there really isn’t much going on that isn’t telegraphed in the first 15 minutes.

The movie opens up with our world finding a world very similar to our own in a far away galaxy.  We decide to set up a call to the planet to see if there are any life forms since the conditions are very hospitable.  We even set up a base of operations with big satellites in Hawaii to wait for an answer, staffed by the actor you get for a “Jeff Goldblum type role” when Jeff Goldblum passes on it.

Just down the road in Hawaii from the alien call center, we meet Alex (Taylor Kitsch) and Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgard) having a drink together and celebrating younger brother Alex’s birthday.  That's when a beautiful blonde walks into the bar and NEEDS a burrito.  The bartender inexplicably won’t give the most beautiful woman to ever walk into his bar what she wants (which is more implausible than the aliens) and says the kitchen is closed.

Knowing the quickest way into a woman’s heart is by giving them cheap, greasy gas station food, Alex breaks into the convenient store across the street for a microwavable burrito.  The break-in isn’t the most thought out and soon Alex is being chased and tased by cops but not before he hands the beauty her fully cooked burrito.  This is the last straw for big brother Stone Hopper (honestly that is his name, Stone Hopper, I am not creative enough to make this up) and he yells Alex to grow up and makes him join the navy.

Apparently in this world of Battleship grown men can force other grown men to shape up because the very next scene Alex has joined the navy and is serving with Stone on sister boats in the same fleet.

Later, Liam Neeson punches a waffle in the throat for calling him a cocksucker.

The two are about to take part in a worldwide naval exercise/game called RIMPAC but before they take off to sea, we are “treated” to a soccer game between Japan and American sailors for the RIMPAC cup. The soccer game with announcer* is a close one and comes down to a penalty kick from Alex.  A few seconds before the penalty kick, Alex is accidentally hit in the head by a Japan Seaman named Yugi Nagata.  Alex, clearly hurt but with way too much pride to let someone else kick the game tying goal, misses horribly and the American’s lose the Cup.

*Why was there an announcer for this game?  Was it on some sort of military TV station?  If it was, would anyone really watch something like this?  If the announcer was just a way for the audience to be explain what was going on, do the film's creators really believe we are that dumb?

After the game we  learn that somehow the taser burrito act of love really worked and Alex is now with the blond named Sam (Brooklyn Decker). The two are in love and are ready to get married, but only after Alex asks Sam’s father for his blessing for the marriage.  The father is  Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson), who just so happens to be both Alex and Stone’s superior officer; such a small world!

Right before Alex is about to ask for Sam’s hand in marriage he goes to the washroom to prepare himself where he again runs into Yugi.  Now most people would be so preoccupied about talking to the father of your true love that they would let an accident on the soccer field pass, but not Alex, see Alex is a “rebel” and decides to get into a giant rumble with Yugi right there in the bathroom.  By this time Alex is nothing more than a giant asshole and one of the least likable heroes ever created for a big budget action film.

"Do I get out of school for this?"

Admiral Shane hears about the tussle and yells at Alex for awhile and calls him a dick which the audience would agree with by this time.  He also kicks Alex out of the Navy whenever they get back from the RIMPAC exercise.  I only wish that the Navy had some sort of badge so this scene could have been more clichéd with it ending with Alex throwing it the Admiral’s desk before storming out.

Next we go to a station monitoring outer space and they see something quickly moving towards earth.  Holy shit, we have aliens!!! After a half an hour of boring characters, a love story between two actors with absolutely no chemistry together, a pointless soccer game and dull speeches from Liam “Wolf Puncher” Neeson, we actualy are getting to the main plot of the film!

Anyway, aliens are coming towards Earth and we quickly learn that they are from the same planet that we sent a message to.  The government looks shocked by this, NASA looks shocked by this, and even the guy that whose whole job is to monitor the skies for this specific reason is shocked.  Peter MacNicol shows up really quick to do what he has done for the last 10-15 years and plays a dick-ish type of person in power , this time he is the secretary of defense.  He barks out a few orders wanting to know about what the alien’s purpose is and then disappears for the rest of the film.

As the aliens start to make their way into the atmosphere their communication thingy (an interstellar iPhone?) breaks up and destroys most of Hong Kong in the most needless scene of destruction I have ever seen in this film.  While their one ship is killing thousands of people by accident, the rest of the ships safely land in the ocean right next to the ships going out for the war games.  Concurrently Sam, who we find out is a physical therapist, is hiking with a recently injured Army Lt. Col Canale (played by real life vet and injured soldier Gregory Gadson*), who Sam is trying to get back to normal life when they see the ships streak by the Hawaiian sky.

*I will not make any snide remarks with this because this man sounds like a true inspiration in real life and I think it is awesome director Peter Berg added this to the film.

However no exceptions will be made for this man's lack of mental capabilities.

Admiral Shane is put in charge of getting to the bottom of these aliens and has his brightest men go out to meet the ship after conferring with NASA and many other agencies about how to handle such a momentous occasion. Wait a second… that didn’t happen at all.  Admiral Shane actually sends the Navy’s biggest screw-up (Alex), Rhianna and some other dude in a small raft with one gun to be Earth’s official welcoming party.  Never one for thinking something out, Alex decides the smartest approach would be to go up and touch the alien ship.  While he sees no such problem with this, his shipmates do and try to stop him.

Remembering that he is an asshat, Alex disregards any suggestions and goes to touch the ship and it shocks him back a good ten feet.  This possibly could have been a security system of the ship and no ill-will was meant from it but by this time, everyone has forgotten that WE sent a message to them and automatically think they are a hostile force.  Not at one moment up to now have the aliens shown any aggressive force and before the aliens can even come out and apologize for wrecking Hong Kong Stone has his ship starting bombing the ever loving shit out of the alien ship.

No matter how friendly you might be, when someone starts trying to KILL YOU, you will fight back because being killed does not sound all that enticing and that is what the aliens do.  Totally ignoring the dingy in front of them with Alex and his band of misfits, the alien ship opens fire on Stone’s ship with some sort of peg weapon and blows it out of the water.  Right next to Stone’s ship, we have a Japan destroyer and they have not yet opened fire yet.  After the destruction of the ship that was bombing them, the alien’s don’t feel threatened and stop firing.  Instead of taking a moment to think why this is happening the Japanese then open fire on the ship and return get the ass kicking similar to the first one.  Now all that is left is Alex’s dingy and his destroyer which he beats a hasty retreat too and runs away from the fight with the destroyer.

And a rainbow! Yay!

At this time the alien ship shoots out its balls of doom towards the Hawaiian Islands and the start ripping up streets houses but still avoiding hurting anyone that isn’t threatening them.  After the ball of doom stops to catch a few pitches of a little league game, it goes on to destroying a bridge.  Why they destroyed this one bridge (or why it was shown in the film) I do not know because right after the bridge is semi-destroyed we jump back to the mountain.

Sam and  Canale decide to go towards the ships instead of away and are met up with a couple of cops who tell them that we are under attack and to get away.  After the cops speed off, Sam and Canale don’t listen and keep hiking towards the aliens.  Soon they see what is left of the cops and meet up with poor man’s Jeff Goldblum (or PMJG from here on out).  PMJG tells them his satellite station has been taken over by the ETs and they are trying to contact their home planet again since their way of communicating blew up in a lot of Hong Kong skyscrapers.

The satellite station is still pointed at their planet so all they have to do is wait for the satellites to line up and make the call.   The Powers That Be need to be informed and Sam knows a few men with guns that might be able to help.  It is too bad that all forms of communication have been cut.  That would be a problem for normal people but PMJG has a special magic box that can get through the blockage, he just has to find the courage to go back to his alien infested place of work and pick it up.

This is actually how Hawaii is most of the time, it's just that idyllic.

Meanwhile back on the ship, Alex has somehow become the highest-ranking officer left and is in charge.  After making a sound decision (surprisingly) and picking up all the surviving members of the blown up destroyers, Alex goes off in his room to pout for a bit.  Granted his brother dying would bring a guy down but that is not the way I would want my commanding office to behave.  The one thing that got him out of his room was the fact that they had found an alien body and was looking it over at the moment.

Apparently the film did not feel like it was important to show us the first alien life form being discovered and are told the how and why with a few lines of quick dialogue.  The alien is human like in an appearance and when the helmet is off looked like a skinnier Bob Hoskins with porcupine quills for a beard.  Being that well thought out plans were not in this crew’s wheelhouse, no one thought to check if the alien was still alive and he opens his little lizard eyes and starts to freak the hell out.

Not that I can blame the thing.

Up to now all the humans have done is shoot at his ship and now have kidnapped him so I would be afraid too.  Good thing for him his buddies show up at this moment and once again DON’T fight the humans.  They take their injured back to the ship and leave the people alone.  Did someone bring up the fact that they didn’t seem to want to fight?  Nope, everyone still under the impression that they are evil planet conquering villains.

Keep killing the pacifists! There's no message here at all!

Meanwhile back on mount satellite, PMJG nuts up and skips back down to the satellite and almost makes it out undetected when one of the aliens in his suit stumbles upon him.  PMJG does the bravest thing he can and doesn’t quite pee his pants but is trembling uncontrollably.  The alien give him a WTF look, symbolically pats him on the ass and has him go on his merry way.  Now PMJG is supposed to be the smartest person in the movie and he just saw first hand the “invading force” is not out to harm him, does this give him a moment’s pause… of course not!  (The sound you hear is everyone’s palm slapping their forehead at the same time.)

Now that Sam and company have the magical phone unblocker dohickey, they make a call to anyone they can in the military to tell them to blow up the satellite station so ET can’t make their phone home.  Odds be damned, the person Sam reaches just happens to be her honey bear Alex.

Alex seems pretty excited he is justified by blowing up a whole mountain and is anxious to get his plan started.  The one problem is they are still stuck in a force field of the aliens doing and they have no radar to know where the other ships are.  Thankfully good old Yugi is there to lend a helping hand.  He explains that there are buoys in the ocean that monitor for tsunamis and by putting them on the big boards and watching to see which ones are disturbed in the area, they can “see” the ships without radar.

Alex gives up his captain’s chair to Yugi and they start looking at this big board.  The grid B-1 showed some movement, FIRE!  Was it a hit or miss?? Miss! Now the aliens return fire and miss.  It must be our turn again, how about C-6?  Was it a hit or miss?

Hey…. Wait a second….  Holy shit!! They are playing Battleship!!!

You sunk my expectations!

Those crazy SOBs worked the game into the movie!  Anyway, the aliens turn again and Alex at the last second moves his ship so the aliens miss.  According to the Queensbury rules of Battleship this is considered cheating and now I have decided to root 100% for the aliens to win.  They were also annoyed by the cheating and bring out their balls of doom again that totally tears the ship to shreds.

While this was going on, Sam and her merry men have just been chilling on the top of the mountain, not thinking that they should probably get away from the area that they just told the Navy to blow into another world.  Just as they are relaxing, they realize that the satellite station has not gone kaboom yet and Canales realizes the Navy is in trouble and it is up to them to disrupt the satellite.  Their great plan is to run a jeep into the side of the building.  PMJG thinks this is a stupid idea but since rational thought has no place in this movie, he is seen as a pussy and is left in the dust by Sam and Canales that are going to destroy the station like they are Wiley E. Coyote and they got the newest Acme product.

Back on the ocean Alex has a CRAZY idea that just might work.  Since he really wants to blow up that damn mountain he decides to commandeer the only ship left on the ocean in one piece underneath the force field bubble, the USS Missouri.  This BATTLESHIP is now a museum dedicated to the old style ships and no one on the crew knows how to pilot a ship from that far in the past.  Thankfully (and I am not making this up) we have a lot of WWII veterans on the ship to become a makeshift crew.  Alex brings the Greatest Generation with him to attack some aliens and blow up a mountain.   The floating museum of course has live ammunition on it so they do battle with the alien ships.

Welp, here's some lense flare. Jacob would've hated this one no matter what.

At this time Sam and Canales are going destruction derby on the aliens communication mechanisms and realize that smashing their jeep does not leave much of a getaway.  Canales gets out of the car while Sam is stuck and tries to buy her time buy going punch-out with an alien in front of them.  The alien looks at him, sees he is handicapped and doesn’t want to be the dick that fights a crippled man.  Canales punches him anyway pissing off the alien and the rumble is on.  Canales gets some good shots in until the aliens hand turns into some sort of spinning stabbing death thing that hasn’t been brought up before the 2 hour mark of the film.

Right when it looks like Canales will be skewered, PMJG comes back and beats the alien over the head with the magic phone unjammer thingy. This shows that PMJG might not be a pussy, he is as fucking stupid as every other character in the film.  While their plan was supposed to buy the Navy “a day” to blow up the mountain, their plan in reality only inconvenienced the aliens for about 2 minutes until they were able to plug everything back in and start their call again.

Thankfully then the Missouri had blown up the mother ship at this time and the force field had evaporated.  Admiral Shane (remember Liam Neeson was in this film?)  brings his ships full steam into the fray to help fight the battle.   Shane helps blow the balls of doom out of the sky allowing Alex and his peeps to blow up that damn mountain.  The satellite station is destroyed, the good guys win and all the aliens are killed.  The heroes get medals “end of Star Wars” style and the movie ends with everything happy.

This is totally a scene from the movie and not me running out of pictures of Battleship.

Wait a second, why didn’t the movie ever explain why the aliens didn’t seem like that bad of guys?  They never attacked unless provoked and were never given reasons for why or what they were doing.  Is the movie never going to exaplain this?  FUCCCKKK!

Come on Peter Berg. I expected something better from you.

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Posted by Ryan

Comments (5) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Fun fact which has nothing to do with your Battleship review: Both Peter MacNicol and Peter Berg were series regulars in mid-nineties medical drama Chicago Hope. I was actually surprised to learn that the guy who played Dr. Billy Kronk in Chicago Hope ended being an A-list Hollywood director.

  2. I forgot that they were both in that film. It makes more sense now that MacNicol showed up for those few minutes, it felt like something he was doing for a friend.

  3. Just watched the movie, happy to see i’m not the only one thinking the humans were the A-holes all along

    • You are not alone at all Nick, all the humans did were shoot before thinking and then shoot some more. A better movie might have run with this idea that the human’s were the aggressors but nothing in Battleship was smart enough for that.

  4. Said one person I know regarding her opinion of this movie: “I actually liked it a lot, it was fun without being preachy”…..

    Also have you guys done Paranorman or The campaign yet?

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