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Currentfilm.com Review:

What can I say about "Battleship" really, aside from it's better than a movie based on a rather simple board game had any right to be? The picture is loosely (and that's putting it lightly) based upon the popular board game where players set up their ships on a little battlefield and pegged their ships whenever someone called out the right location on the other player's board, which was facing away from the opponent. It was, oddly enough, the first board game based on the honor system ("B4". "No, I totally do not have a ship on B4 - or B1, B2 or B3 for that matter.")

The movie focuses on Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), whose brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgard) is a naval officer. When he's busted while trying to impress Samantha Shane (Brooklyn Decker), he's pushed by his brother to join the Navy in order to straighten out his trouble-making ways. Samantha, now his girlfriend, also happens to be the daughter of the fleet admiral, who is impressed by Hopper's skills but not his attitude.

Elsewhere, scientists are attempting to communicate with a planet far off in the galaxy, using a station nearby in Hawaii. While Alex and the others go through exercises at an international naval summit, the aliens decide to send out an exploration party that crashes into the ocean near Alex and ships from other countries. It is, of course, of no real surprise that the aliens do mean harm and quickly attack when they are approached, setting up a massive shield that traps a small group of remaining ships within it. The aliens seem oddly disinterested in attacking unless attack, as the humans soon find out that they are focused on another task that explains why they dropped in Hawaii.

The writing isn't anything to write home about (the aliens could have been quite a bit more developed as to the whys and hows - they also might have been a bit more intimidating a villain if they were somewhat smarter), but the movie does benefit from characters that are a little more filled out than the transformers movies and a performance from Kitsch that's at least moderately more compelling than his performance as the lead in "John Carter". Liam Neeson is little-seen after the opening of the movie, despite being featured in the trailers. Decker plays the love interest and doesn't do a great deal besides be stuck on a mountain for a good portion of the movie. A particularly strong performance comes from real life military vet Gregory D. Gadson, who really could go for a career in acting if he wanted to.

"Battleship" does succeed in rah-rah action sequences (although an attempt to shoehorn a sequence that looks like a live-action version of the game is a tad much) and characters that are at least a bit more engaging than the "Transformers" films. The picture is really an attempt to offer another "Transformers"-like picture (including robot-like creatures that buzz through planes and other vehicles), but in that realm, it works - it's popcorn picture that offers very nice effects work and passes a couple of hours nicely.


VIDEO: "Battleship" is presented in 2.35:1 (1080p) by Universal, and the result is a visual delight. Sharpness and detail remain very pleasing throughout the majority of the show - while a couple of softer spots emerged, the picture was otherwise crisp and detailed. A couple of light instances of edge enhancement were spotted as well, but the picture otherwise looked crisp and clean. Colors looked vibrant and bold, appearing pure and well-saturated.

SOUND: The film is presented with a tremendous DTS-HD 5.1 presentation that boasts aggressive surround use for discrete effects and thunderous low bass, such as during the moments of cannon fire. Audio quality is first-rate, with well-recorded, powerful sound effects and clear dialogue.

EXTRAS: "All Access" feature with director Peter Berg, "Commander Pete" featurette, alternate ending pre-vis, "Visual Effects of Battleship" featurette, "USS Missouri VIP Tour", "Preparing for Battle" featurette, "All Hands on Deck" cast featurette and "Engage at Sea" featurette.

Final Thoughts: As popcorn movies go, "Battleship" passes a couple of hours nicely, with solid effects and an enjoyable string of action sequences. The Blu-Ray offers superb audio/video quality and a handful of extras.

Film Grade
The Film B-
DVD Grades
Video A-
Audio: A
Extras: C

DVD Information

Battleship (Blu-Ray /DVD)

Universal Home Entertainment
DTS-HD 5.1
132 minutes
Subtitles: English/
Rated PG-13
Available At Amazon.com: Battleship (Blu-Ray /DVD)