A light-in-the-loafers action flick with pretensions of becoming a serious drama, “Battleship” is half of a decent summer movie.
The second hour, in which Navy sailors go toe-to-toe with some evil creatures from outer space, is entertaining in a carefree way, even if it is totally preposterous. It ends with them pulling a retired World War II battleship out of retirement to turn its big guns on the alien ships — which can fly but for some reason stay entirely over the ocean, making for convenient targets.
This film flopped here in the U.S. but did terrific business overseas. Perhaps foreign folks learned the secret to “Battleship” — skip the first 45 minutes and you’ll have a good time.
Liam Neeson was in all the trailers, but Taylor Kitsch is the star, playing a standard-issue bad boy who learns to calm his rebellious nature and work as part of a team. Somehow, despite being in the Navy for what seems like a minute and a half, he winds up commanding the battle against the buggy bad guys.
If only director Peter Berg and screenwriting siblings Erich and Jon Hoeber had been content to crank out a simple fun shoot-’em-up instead of boring us with an overlong windup, “Battleship” would have packed more punch.
For the film’s few fans, they’ll at least be pleased to know it has been given a top-notch video release, especially if you opt for the Blu-ray edition.
The DVD version comes with two making-of featurettes focusing on how to turn a board game into a blockbuster. These include cast interviews with actors talking about how it felt to be in the middle of a (simulated) firefight.
Upgrade to Blu-ray, and you get plenty more goodies, including “Second Screen,” an interactive viewing experience that works with a networked tablet or computer. This includes 3D modeling of aliens, spaceships and explosions.
Other extras include a tour of the U.S.S. Missouri, behind-the-scenes humor and a featurette on visual effects.