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.