And so, the race for the Summer blockbuster for 2012 has truly begun! First off of the blocks is the latest in possibly the weirdest merger in recent movie memory - that of Hasbro and Universal. One famous for games, the other for films.
Now, before you judge, remember this merger gave us Transformers back in 2007 - the less said about its sequels, the better. That, along with Pirates Of The Caribbean, has proven that unlikely sources can great movies make. But a film based on a two player game of hit-and-miss strategy?.......
Director Berg, who surprised many with his deft handling of effects and laughs in Hancock, has been given the megaphone duties. Although for most of its running time, you could be forgiven that Battleship was under the camera-swooping, heroic-posturing, big-explosion delivering and dialogue-more-cheesy than a four-cheese pizza with a side of Gorgonzola eye of Michael Transformers Bay himself. There is no sign of the man who delivered the excellent Friday Night Lights or the flawed-but-insightful The Kingdom. Instead, this feels like he's been told what to do in the hope of relpicating the success of Transformers rather than be allowed to put his mark on the film. There's the beautiful girl that gets caught up in the proceedings, the nerd who helps explain the techy parts for the more muscly-but-intellectually-challenged members of the cast, and the reluctant hero that must grow through the trials to become a victor and worthy of the girl and respect.
Now none of these are the fault of Berg but it is him that brings slow-motion shots of the hero - Kitsch in full-on square chin mode - stepping up to the plate and taking charge, and the old sea-dogs walking out on deck to once again help save the day. If its not that Bay-ism then it's aerial shots that swoop past the best of the best that the Navy has to offer. If young, red-blooded Americans don't want to enlist straight after seeing this then I don't know what could.
Now, if all this sounds like its tongue-in-cheek, it would have been more preferable if it were. Instead, this is serious, flag-waving patriotism and any laughs are lost after its opening sequence of a drunk Kitsch trying to get a burrito for female love-interest Decker. At least it has the decency for one of its cast to respond to a stiff-upper-lip "lets give the world another day" line by saying "who talks like that?!?" And if you're interested, you can sit through the end credits to see the weakest attempt at an open ending for a possible sequel. Let's pray it doesn't happen.
UK release date: 11.04.12