Just like the board game, assuming the board game cost $200 million and was dumb.
Tom Glasson
Published on April 15, 2012


Battleship is a movie based on a board game. That mightn't seem all that strange at first, given how often we see films based on video games these days, but then you stop for a moment and realise: board games don't have plots. Admittedly the absence of plot has never stopped Hollywood before, but it still threw up a mighty challenge to whoever was the hapless screenwriter tasked with adapting nothing into something:

"What’s my source material, boss?"
"Well, we've got an instruction pamphlet, a few pieces of plastic and … actually yeah, that's it. Good luck buddy."

The only other time it's ever been attempted was 1985's Clue, based on the popular Hasbro board game Cluedo, yet despite its impressive cast, that film was neither a financial nor critical success. Then, of course, there was 1995's Jumanji; however, that was a movie about a board game, not based on one, and it wasn't all that crash hot either.

So what's to be made of Battleship, the $200 million movie based on the board game Battleship? Those who've played it before might recall such memorable lines as: "C-9…….miss" and "B-11……miss", and it probably won't come as too great a surprise to learn that Battleship the movie doesn't offer up a whole lot more in the dialogue department. At one point, for example, our hero whispers the classic line, "I've got a bad feeling about this" — despite the fact that by the time "this" has happened, the Earth's already been invaded, Hong Kong's been decimated, his two accompanying naval destroyers have both been sunk, his brother's been killed and he's been trapped inside a giant alien force field for the better part of the morning.

What Battleship does deliver, however, is some seriously impressive action sequences and one jaw-dropping special effect after another (think 'Transformers on water', minus the Shia Labeouf and plus the Rihanna). In simplest terms (the only ones available here), aliens invade Earth near Hawaii, and the only people in place to stop them are the US and Japanese navies taking part in some friendly war games. Earth's hero is played by Taylor Kitsch (last not seen in John Carter): a brash, young naval officer dating the supermodel daughter of Fleet Commander Liam Neeson (in a categorical 'pay-check performance' kind of cameo). The film also features True Blood's Alexander Skarsgard, a rock-heavy soundtrack dominated largely by AC/DC and a WWII battleship that at one point pulls a handbrake turn.

And that's pretty much it. Seriously. It's an utterly dumb movie, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't also loads of fun to watch.


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