Monday, May 21, 2012

Battleship (2012)

I blend in, ha-ha

What more can you ask for, aliens and bringing the relic Battleship back into action one more time to defend the earth!  The navy is setting up for routine naval exercises off the coast of Hawaii when it’s clear an unknown entity has answered the call sent off into space at long last.  The courageous men and woman (Rihanna!) take the battle directly to the aliens although technologically the odds are tipped against us.  It may take the brave men of naval years past to finally get on even enough waters to stop a possible impending invasion.  It’s an action romp on water that trickles in the science fiction element enough to put it on the worthy list of alien summer blockbusters of all time.  If you don’t agree with me take it up with that spinning ball of metallic death from the movie!

                As much as I like to completely omit the first few scenes in the movie due to that standard type of setup in a movie such as this let’s give it a skim.  You get introduced to two brothers who couldn’t be more opposite of each other.  One is a navy captain who is disciplined and set on a career course for wholesome living while defending the waters of the USA.  He is what all father’s want for their daughters right?  The loser drunk brother is the younger of the two and after a terribly awful attempt to impress the movies eye candy actress gets forced into the navy by his older brother.  The woman he tries to woe ends up being the daughter of the admiral, the one and only Liam Neeson.  The younger brother is likable enough and acts well but the other one lacks in that department.

                Alex, younger brother, eventually rights ‘his ship’ so to speak, ha-ha right?  There is a soccer match that introduces Nagata, a captain who riffs with Alex.  It’s a simple scene showing the unstable nature of Alex and what he needs to do in life to become a better person.  It’s not anything deep with philosophical roots but it’s a blockbuster so it really suffices if you ask me.  Alex has managed to hook up with Sam, Liam Neeson’s daughter, but is too afraid to formally ask the admiral for her hand in marriage.  It’s all part of the shakiness the character goes through in the beginnings of the movie.  The navy embarks on their training exercise skirmishes off the coast of Hawaii which promises to be the last for Alex.  Stone, Alex’s older brother, feels he failed his brother as he tried his best to help his brother attain a good life.  It’s a classic brotherly bond that fits right into the simplicity of what we’ll call a story for now.  Rihanna also makes her appearance around this time and she really does well in the supporting role.  It’s around this point that I briefly begin to demand some alien action to occur.  You can only take about 15-20 minutes of blockbuster story before you want to ‘boo’.  Alas my thoughts were heard and now we get to the part I enjoy.

Heart Cookie Courtesy of Pink Panda Craft Shop
                A super satellite was launched into space to harness the power to send a signal to a distant planet in another galaxy in hopes of communication.  The basis behind this is to find a planet with suitable environments to travel to.  Humans are bent on migrating to another world I’m telling you.  It’s not a complex setup which does take away some excitement but it’s solid enough of an idea to work for this movie.  Finally five foreign objects in space are headed straight for earth but they collide with each other.  Were the aliens driving drunk?  How do you travel across galaxies only to crash into one another at the last second?  A rebel alien decided not to go along with the plan to check earth out?  There are quite a few possibilities but nothing is explained at all.  It doesn’t hinder the flow though as the communications ship crashes into Hong Kong!  I was cracking up at that only because my wife is from Hong Kong and she has that look on her face like why us?  The other ships head straight for a small building with satellites in Hawaii that sent the signal originally.  The aliens are quick to set up communications with their home world and that represents the basis for the rest of the movie.  The aliens come across as humanoid with superior intelligence to humans overall, although they’re not so far advanced that we can’t hang tough with them.

                What ends up happening is the aliens form an impassable shield around the Hawaiian Islands that cut off everything except for three destroyers and one ancient surprise.  What’s that surprise, well I’ll tell you later, ha-ha, don’t I suck?  Alex, Stone, Nagata and Rihanna are all trapped inside engaging against some amphibious vehicles the aliens operate.  It doesn’t go well for them as they end up losing all three destroyers and Stone perishes with his ship.  It’s sounds sad but his acting needed to be stopped and a timely placed death healed that.  I’m not a monster I just want the movie to be more entertaining that’s all.  There is a typical despair Alex goes through as all this wildness is occurring and thrusting him into the position of captain.  I felt a bit of sorrow as Stone died but I always feel properly placed sacrifice in a movie can really do wonders if you allow yourself to feel it.  I know it’s a blockbuster but it’s fairly well done and I was impressed.

                Liam Neeson is stuck on the outside of this barrier so we don’t see much of him throughout the movie, pity because he played the role very good.  The down and almost out sailors are forced to life boats to drift along helplessly thinking earth is doomed.  The aliens many times chose not to kill humans when given the chance and only did so when the fearful humans attacked first.  I got the feeling the aliens were on earth to do something else but it’s never clearly defined which for me is disappointing.  I always love a good purpose from aliens along with origins but I don’t fret it much this time.  The aliens launch crazy spinning wheels of clanky mayhem throughout the movie that demolish key points to inhibit humans but not destroy them.  That’s something else I noticed as I watched, it seemed the aliens were harvester like in that they wanted something we had.  It’s impossible to know and speculation is all we can offer ourselves, again sadly.

For lack of movie stills, you're stuck with me
                Our heroes Alex and company resort to one last means of stopping the aliens.  They become aware that the satellites on Hawaii are what the aliens are trying to use to contact their world so they head for earth’s last hope.  The Battleship ‘Missouri’ is the surprise secret I was talking about, not that you couldn’t figure it out for yourself anyway!  Alas our heroes have no clue how to operate such an ancient ship or as Nagata called it, “A museum.”  The weary men and Rihanna fear it really may be over when a new source of hope presents itself.  The veterans of naval years from long ago appear all over the Battleship like they live there or something.  It’s a rousing feeling that stirs up your emotions as you suddenly feel it’s finally all coming together!  The battleship is described as ‘tough to sink’ and they’re going to need every advantage they can get.  It’s quite hilarious to see the veterans working with the younger people.  If ever a movie has shown us that old people or handicap people aren’t useless in this world then its battleship.  It’s fantastic and it’s done admirably. 

                The showdown ensues as the Battleship converges on the mountain top full of communications that needs to be shut down.  On the way they come across the generator ship for the shield so Captain Alex decides to risk all to destroy it to make way for reinforcements.  It’s a true alien @$$ kicking scene you can’t help but go wild for as Alex makes a daring move to dodge the alien fire then send devastating counter fire right back.  They have only one shot left and aim for the communications as they all are prepared to make it their last fight.  The shield from the alien technology goes down and Liam Neeson orders every fighter plane to aid the ancient ship.

                Action movies with explosions normally really do not excite me but I give credit to this attempt.  Ships sunk, alien warships were vulnerable and death occurred in masses to keep the movie at a level consistent with what might happen if this actually happened.  I never found myself thinking, ‘Yeah like that would happen or Are you kidding me?’  What becomes of the remaining aliens is unknown but its left open to ponder what they were up to in the first place.  I’d say action fans would be pleased most with this movie with science fiction fans not far behind.  I’d like to breakdown this movie more but I want to get this out there nice and fresh so it can help you decide if you’d like to go out and see it!  I recommend it highly but you probably already guessed that didn’t you?

                Rating: 8.5 of 10

I’ve used my own images for this review and hope you find them suitable.
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