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Battleship where the past saves the future
Member Name: chrisc92
Advantages: Special effects are brilliant
Disadvantages: You will either get into this film easily or find it difficult to follow
My review of "Battleship" is slightly different to the norm as it was a film I originally watched onboard a Virgin Atlantic 747 nicknamed Hot Lips flying at 40000ft and at 620mph on our way back from a 2 week vacation at Disney World in Florida. Furthermore, the film although only 2 hours 12 minutes long took me a minimum of 4 hours to watch partly because of snacks and more importantly because of the passengers in front of us that kept trying to drop their seats down and I would have to pause the film to push their seats back up - until we had a bit of a coming together suggesting it may be allowed but it just isn't done (unless the passenger behind is okay with it).
I had seen a trailer for the film at my local Vue cinema quite a while ago and I have to admit I wasn't convinced then that it was a film that I wanted to watch although I quite probably would have bought it a while after it had been released on dvd when the price had dropped. It is currently on sale on dvd at all major supermarkets, HMV and online through Amazon for around £12-£15 and also available on bluray for and extra £3-£5 dependant on where you buy it. Battleship was available as part of our inflight entertainment on both journeys and on the way out was on a loop that meant when I turned the film on it was already part way through and could not be restarted. However, our flight home had virgin Atlantic's new VERA system with touchscreen tvs that allowed us to fast forward and rewind which came in very useful in watching this film.
My first impression of this film (from what I saw when I switched to it on the way out) was that it was quite dull and predictable. However, after watching it from the beginning I have to admit that I quite liked Battleship although the film to me seemed to be a mix of at least 2 other films - Independence Day and Top Gun. How? Well, in Top Gun it is pretty much about a "Maverick" naval fighter pilot (Tom Cruise) who saves the world from armageddon (or at least his aircraft carrier from being destroyed), meets the ideal woman, has a breakdown after the death of his best friend and after becoming the hero returns to his ideal partner. In Independence Day it's the heroes David Levinson and Steven Hiller (Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith) saving earth from an alien invasion. To me Battleship pulls together these plots with a slightly different slant - still a maverick main character and still saving the world from destruction by an alien threat. And.... Still good enough for me to buy the dvd!
NASA discovers a planet similar to Earth that they suspect to be capable of sustaining life and transmits a signal with the intention of communicating with new life forms from its site on Hawaii. At the same point Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) tries to impress a girl he has only just met by promising to bring her back her favourite food from a fast food shop only to find it closing as he arrives and despite his attempts they refuse to serve him. Once the shop is empty Alex breaks in, heats up the snack and leaves payment on the counter but sets off the intruder alarms and is caught on cctv. As he returns he is chased by the police and is stunned twice by them as he attempts to hand the snack over. What he doesn't know however that the girl is in fact Samantha Shane who is the daughter of his brother's commanding officer, Admiral Terrance Shane (Liam Neeson) United States Fleet Commander.
Fearing repercussions Commander Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgard) dissuades his brother from any further involvement with Samantha. Alex later decides to marry Samantha and out of tradition plans on asking Admiral Shane for his permission. Stone and Samantha manage to persuade Admiral Shane to see Alex (who by now is a Lieutenant in the US Navy) for him to ask the question but Alex is considered a loose cannon by the admiral and his meeting does not go to plan and never actually has the opportunity. Furthermore, the navy is planning to discharge him on disciplinary grounds.
On the anniversary of Pearl Harbor a naval exercise (RIMPAC) is organised off the coast of Hawaii with navies from across the world and leading up to this a football match takes place between the US and Japan during which Alex and Captain Nagata are at loggerheads and Nagata deliberately kicks him in the face giving away a penalty that could see the US level the match. Alex takes the penalty himself and misses losing the US the match giving the nave further ammunition for his dismissal.
However, as the exercise starts an alien communications ship crash lands in Hong Kong and is followed by four alien ships landing in the sea and their mothership erects a tower which creates a force field around the Hawaiian islands. Three destroyers are caught inside the force field - The USS Sampson commanded by Stone, the Myoko commanded by Nagata and the USS John Paul Jones on which Alex serves as a tactical officer. Alex attempts to make contact and is forced back. Shots are fired and alien technology proves to be far superior to their own when bombs stick to the ships and wheel like bombs cut through the ships and change direction before exploding. Stone is killed and his ship is completely destroyed and Nagata is one of few survivors from the Myoko.
At the same time Samantha a physiotherapist on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu is accompanying a retired army veteran, Mick Canales trying to learn to use prosthetic legs and are met by Carl Zapata, a fleeing scientist that has fled the nearby communications array. Zapata informs them that NASA's attempts at making contact have been turned against them and is will be used to make contact with the alien homeworld to launch an invasion against planet Earth if they can use NASA's satellite when the array lines up with it. Zapata is persuaded to retrieve a radio so that Samantha can make contact with the USS John Paul Jones.
Nagata persuades Alex to use tsunami warning buoys in an attempt to track the alien vessels and in a dramatic night battle they destroy two alien ships. They later learn that the aliens are sensitive to sunlight and they use this to lure a third alien ship towards shore where both ships are destroyed. Alex is determined to destroy the mothership and the communications array which is being occupied by the aliens. His only hope is the USS Missouri a battleship from World War II that was berthed at Pearl Harbor since being decommissioned and was now a floating museum crewed by a handful of US war veterans.
The crew agree to help Alex and they head out for sea to fire at the communications array. The Missouri manages to destroy the force field maintained by the mothership and is severely damaged by the aliens. However, with its final shell the Missouri hits and destroys the communications array and the aliens manning it. With the force field down and the Missouri defenceless Admiral Shane is able to launch an all out attack on the mothership.
With the alien threat removed Admiral Shane holds an awards ceremony with Alex, Nagata, Canales and veterans all receiving medals and awards. Alex in addition is promoted and given command of his own ship and Admiral Shane agrees to him marrying Samantha after Alex's exploits and Samantha has told her father the full story of how he had tried to get her the snack.
I enjoyed this film because this is the type of film I just like to watch (as is Independence Day and Top Gun). The dvd is now part of my collection. However, like many others I have not watched it as yet. The dvd itself has no additional features but can be watched in many languages. The bluray however comes with an electronic version and can be downloaded from the clouds.
There are however lots of anomalies / impracticalities throughout the film that you just have to accept to make sense of it. These include how they managed to start the battleship so quickly and why it had live ammunition onboard. I would certainly recommend this as an addition to your dvd collection. Certainly the phrase cheesy does come to mind but I find these type of films exciting - you either love it or hate it and it has lots of special effects.
Summary: Battleship is the US at its best - cheesy and entertaining