Saturday, 4 August 2012

Battleship, dir. Peter Berg, wr. Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, st. Liam Neeson, Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker

It's a good time to be on the board of directors at toy manufacturer Hasbro. Pick anything from their lines, package it as a clone of their biggest celluloid-transitional success Transformers, and watch the green fly in. Berg's film cranks up the Michael Bay-levels of fetishistic Military-Porn to eleven; hulking  gun batteries and turrets groan into position before unleashing their load onto the enemy with satisfying THX clarity. It's not a subtle message, and like Team America before it, the film could have just as easily be called Battleship: America Will Fuck You Up, Bitch. Wondering how he can make things any more jingoistic, Berg has an entire crew of Navy OAPs join the fight (by crewing the mothballed USS Missouri), and later a retired paraplegic goes head to head with one of the behemoth alien foot-soldiers. No, seriously. He wins as well. There are some cute nods to the original game, Kitsch is serviceable as the screw-up who comes good, and Rihanna sneers and wisecracks in all the right places. Even Neeson adds a steely presence as the fleet's admiral. There's something weirdly admirable about the Megatron-sized balls it must take to so brazenly rip-off your own work, right down to score, ship, and sound design, but Hasbro have played a marketing blinder; finding a way to repeatedly sell the same product to the same consumer under a different name. Personally I can't wait for the big-screen outing of Bop-It!