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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Peter Berg
Cast:
Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna
Writing Credits:
Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber

Synopsis:
A fleet of ships is forced to do battle with an armada of unknown origins in order to discover and thwart their destructive goals.

Box Office:
Budget
$209 Million.
Opening Weekend
$25,534,825 on 3690 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$65,422,625.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DVS
French DTS 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 132 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 8/28/2012

Bonus:
• “All Access” Video Commentary
• Alternate Ending Previsualization
• “USS Missouri VIP Tour”
• Deleted Shots Montage
• “Preparing for Battle” Featurette
• “All Hands on Deck” Featurette
• “Engage in Battle” Featurettes
• “Commander Pete” Featurette
• “The Visual Effects of Battleship” Featurette
• Previews


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RELATED REVIEWS


Battleship [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 13, 2020)

In 1985, the popular board game Clue leapt to the big screen. Did this inspire a new cinematic genre?

Nope. Clue took in a weak-even-for-1985 $14 million US, a figure that placed it in a fairly awful 57th place for the year’s box office.

Abetted by tons of cable TV screenings, Clue earned a good cult audience over time. However, its lackluster reception meant we’d not get a series of wannabes in that era.

Of course, we’ve found multiple attempts to adapt video games into movies, but board game flicks have been few and far between. 2012’s mega-budget Battleship attempted to change this trend.

When astronomers send a beacon out into space, aliens receive it. This leads them to boogie down toward Earth.

These extraterrestrials arrive with malicious intentions and launch an attack. The forces of the US Navy act to resist this threat against humanity.

Just as Clue bombed in 1985, Battleship went down without a fight in 2012. Budgeted at a massive $209 million, the movie took in a craptacular $65 million in the US.

Battleship fared better overseas, as it snared $303 million total worldwide. Nonetheless, given its enormous cost, it clearly lost money.

Which I can’t bemoan, as Battleship never offers an especially compelling experience. Given its origins, that doesn’t seem like a major surprise, but because it enjoys some real talent involved, its mediocrity turns into a minor disappointment.

Peter Berg directed Battleship, and while I won’t call him a great filmmaker, he shows reasonable skill behind the camera. Berg made quality flicks like Friday Night Lights and Patriots Day, so I hoped he might bring some personality to this one.

Alas, Berg can’t find much room for creativity and life in this formulaic effort. Berg clearly watched a whole lot of Michael Bay movies as prep, for Battleship often feels like an effort from the Transformers director.

That said, I like Battleship more than any of Bay’s five Transformers flicks. That may qualify as faint praise given how little I care for those movies, but it still counts for something.

Battleship attempts to engage us with some character material, mainly as it focuses on 20-something screw-up Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch). Though he can’t stay out of trouble, somehow his older brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgård) manages to land him a gig as a Naval officer, and both end up in the same fleet.

I get that Battleship feels the need to indulge in these moments, as they become necessary to ensure the film doesn’t just become 132 minutes of mayhem. Still, I’d prefer to see something with more creativity than this tired “ne’er-do-well makes good” plot.

The lack of logic becomes an issue. One minute Alex breaks into convenience stores to steal burritos, and the next he’s a Navy lieutenant? Seriously?

Should we regard it as a spoiler to note that Alex will become a hero? Not at all, as that plot point seems completely predictable from the start. If Alex’s path to noble action surprises you, then you need to get out more.

At no point does Battleship attempt anything more creative or fresh than the banal character points we get here. Honestly, the film barely really tries to invest in Alex’s journey beyond the basics, and the others receive even less exploration.

With lead roles in potential blockbusters like Battleship and John Carter, 2012 looked like a year destined to make Kitsch a star. However, both bombed, and Carter performed even worse than Battleship, with a mere $284 million worldwide to show for its massive $250 million budget.

Thus ended Kitsch’s hopes of major movie stardom. When you play the lead in two enormous, expensive flops that hit screens within two months of each other, it becomes tough to rebound.

Kitsch doesn’t deserve the blame for the financial failings of these two movies. Neither Battleship nor Carter offer “actor’s films” – they gave us big, effects-heavy action blockbusters in which the performers exist barely above the level of prop, so it seems wrong to pin their box office problems on Kitsch.

That said, I can’t claim Kitsch ever gives us a reason to think he deserved a more successful career as a movie idol in either Battleship or Carter. While he offers the good looks one expects from a landing man, he fails to display much charisma, so he becomes a bit of a zero at the center of the movie’s human elements.

Not that we really care about that side of Battleship, as we come to the movie mainly to see loud, explosive action. In that regard, the film provides an erratic experience.

The main problem stems from the borderline idiocy that occurs through so much of the flick. No, I don’t expect taut, logical plotting from a flick like Battleship, but this one goes too far into Stupidville, as it requires us to swallow too much absurdity to work.

If Battleship boasted strong enough action to compensate, I wouldn’t mind as much. However, the attack scenes feel borrowed from other genre efforts and don’t show the sizzle they need to overcome the problems.

That said, Battleship does bring a strong climax. While still ridiculous, it offers enough thrills and excitement to make up for the flaws.

If the rest of the movie brought similar levels of action, I’d enjoy Battleship despite its persistent stupidity. As it stands, this becomes a passable piece of entertainment at best.

Footnote: a tag scene appears after the end credits. It teases a sequel, one that will never come given the movie’s financial failure.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A/ Bonus B-

Battleship appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not exceptional, this became a mostly strong image.

In general, sharpness appeared positive. A few interiors came across as a little soft and smeared, though that seemed like a stylistic choice, as those shots mainly popped up during early scenes.

I noticed no signs of shimmering or jaggies, and the movie lacked any print flaws. Edge haloes failed to mar the presentation.

Like the Michael Bay wannabe flick it is, teal and orange heavily dominated Battleship, and that could make the hues look goofy at times. Still, I couldn’t fault the transfer for these excesses, so this was an accurate representation of the source.

Blacks were always deep and tight, and I saw good contrast as well. Shadows seemed clear and appropriately opaque. The Blu-ray became a largely appealing reproduction of the film.

I felt even more pleased with the movie’s impressive DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. A movie packed with mayhem and action, the mix used all five channels in a lively, involving manner. Vehicles, weapon-fire, aliens and similar elements popped up from all around the room and delivered a smooth, engrossing soundscape.

This meant nearly constant material from the surrounds. The back speakers delivered a high level of information and created a great sense of place in that domain. All of this melded together in a vivid, satisfying manner.

Audio quality was also strong. Music seemed full and bold, while speech was consistently natural and crisp.

Effects became the most prominent component, of course, and packed a solid punch, with positive clarity and range. People invest major bucks in home theaters for flicks like this, and Battleship delivered the goods.

As we shift to extras, the main attraction comes from All Access, a video commentary that features director Peter Berg as well as producer Bennett Schneir, special effects set foreman Terry Chapman, military technical advisor Captain (Ret.) Rick Hoffman, special effects supervisor Burt Dalton, set assistant Stockton Porter, visual effects supervisor Grady Cofer, ILM CG supervisor Willi Geiger, stunt coordinator Kevin Scott, and actors Hamish Linklater, Alexander Skarsgård, James Ward, Frank Cassavetes, Tobias Langcaon, Colonel Greg Gadson, and John Tui.

“Access” looks at story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, various effects, alien technology/creature design, stunts and similar subjects.

At 2:19:31, “All Access” expands past the movie’s 2:11:21 running time. Don’t expect “All Access” to actually fill those 139 minutes, though, as the segments pop up sporadically.

“All Access” clips crop up 23 times over the feature’s length, and each piece runs roughly one to two minutes – sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. That’s not much content to occupy 139 minutes of screen time.

On the positive side, the disc places each segment at the start of a chapter, so it becomes easy to skip all the dead space. When one clip ends, just move ahead to the next without fear that you might miss anything.

In truth, you can avoid “All Access” entirely and not really miss anything. Some of the behind the scenes footage seems fun, but there’s just not a lot of enticing content on display.

When done well, picture-in-picture features like “All Access” can become a good way to look at the production. Unfortunately, “All Access” becomes a dud that’s barely worth the effort.

An Alternate Ending Previsualization spans seven minutes, 33 seconds and comes with an intro from Berg, who describes it as inspired by Butch and Sundance.

We see the action played out via rough computer animation. The “Alternate Ending” makes more sense than the existing finale, but it feels less compelling, perversely. It also loses some points because it lacks dialogue – couldn’t the disc’s producers have added subtitles at least to spell out the characters’ lines?

Next comes a USS Missouri VIP Tour. It runs 20 minutes, 10 seconds and features Berg, Langcaon, USS Missouri Memorial Association president Michael Carr, tour guide Reginald H. Johnson, and veterans Brooks Outland, Ken Jordan, and Lawrebce Doong.

Like the title says, we get a look at the battleship featured in the film. This becomes a quality history of the vessel and a valuable little view of history.

Preparing for Battle lasts 11 minutes, nine seconds and brings notes from Berg, Schneir, Skarsgård, producer/Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner, producers Sarah Aubrey, Duncan Henderson and Scott Stuber, location manager Michael J. Meehan, Congressional and Public Affairs Officer Kerry Gershaneck, production designer Neil Spisak, art director William Skinner, and actors Taylor Kitsch, Jesse Plemons, and Rihanna.

The featurette looks at the board game and its adaptation to the movie screen, Berg’s involvement, sets and locations. We get a pretty good look at some of the nuts and bolts related to the film’s design choices.

After this we find All Hands on Deck, an 11-minute, 40-second reel that includes comments from Berg, Skarsgård, Kitsch, Rihanna, Tui, Gadson, Hoffman, Plemons, Cassavetes, technical advisor Jacqueline Carrizosa, and actors Tadanobu Asano, Brooklyn Decker, and Liam Neeson.

Here we cover cast and performances. Despite some decent footage from the shoot, “Deck” tends to feel fluffy and insubstantial.

Two segments appear under Engage in Battle: “Shooting at Sea” (3:10) and “All Aboard the Fleet” (3:47). Across these, we hear from Berg, Schneir, Dalton, Henderson, Scott, Kitsch, Rihanna, Tui, Cofer, Hoffman, Neeson, and Skarsgård.

The “Battle” segments discuss shooting on the water and on the actual USS Missouri. The reels mix hyperbole with some useful notes.

Commander Pete fills five minutes, 46 seconds with material from Berg, Tui, Rihanna, Decker, Kitsch, Schneir, Hoffman, Neeson, Scott, Cofer, Plemons, Skarsgård, Dalton, set PA Wyatt Bloomingdale and actor Jerry Ferrara.

Unsurprisingly, “Pete” looks at Berg’s impact on the set. Unsurprisingly, it leans toward praise and not much more.

Finally, The Visual Effects of Battleship occupies 11 minutes, 30 seconds with statements from Berg, Cofer, Schneir, Aubrey, Geiger, ILM digital model supervisors Frank Gravatt and Russell Paul, ILM visual effects art director Aaron McBride, ILM visual effects supervisor Pablo Helman, 2nd unit special effects coordinator Stan Parks, and ILM animation supervisor Glen McIntosh.

This show examines alien vessel and creature design as well as the methods used to execute these choices. “Effects” becomes an effective summary.

The disc opens with ads for ET the Extraterrestrial, Werewolf: The Beast Among Us, Death Race 3: Inferno, The Five-Year Engagement the Battleship video game and Dead In Tombstone. No trailer for Battleship appears here.

An expensive flop, Battleship delivers a loud, aggressive experience that occasionally entertains. However, it suffers from too many flaws to offer anything more than sporadic value. The Blu-ray brings mostly positive visuals as well as excellent audio and a generally informative set of supplements. Given the low expectations it brings, Battleship doesn’t really disappoint, but it nonetheless becomes a mediocre film at best.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main