I know that today is News Rag Roundup Day, but I am switching it up, because Battleship was basically a round-up of AWESOME. Didja see what I did there? Anyway. Enjoy:
When I told my friends that we were going to see Battleship, everybody I know groaned audibly. It was supposed to be terrible, a several-hundred-million dollar mistake that even the combined good looks of Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna couldn’t redeem. Well. I am here to tell you, my friends, that you are all wrong.
Battleship is probably the best movie I’ve seen all year.
I’m being serious. I know that snobby movie-critic voices are going off in your head and you think that this opinion makes me irreversibly shallow and dumb, but it’s true. Allow me to count the ways that Battleship is awesome, and see if you aren’t converted by the end of this post.
First of all, I don’t buy the objection that a movie doesn’t work if the plot is too far “out there”. Ever heard of a galaxy far, far away? A band of 3-foot-tall, hairy-footed dudes, a dwarf, an elf, a magical ring and a lot of mysterious language? A billionaire genius playboy who keeps himself from dying with some magical magnet and makes himself awesome with a super-suit?
The argument, it makes itself.
So. Battleship is about a battle for the future of Earth, but that’s not what drives the story. Just like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings or the Marvel movie collection, what drives the story is the well-crafted characters – characters who you believe in and identify with, even when they’re fighting aliens, using lightsabers, speaking elvish or whatever.
Battleship gives us Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) a smart young guy who is constantly one screw-up away from being dishonorably discharged from the Navy or worse. He’s likable but frustrating, almost immediately. (Maybe this is the Tim Riggins niche?)
He has an older brother who’s successful and very head-shaky about Alex’s prospects, a beautiful girlfriend who just happens to be the daughter of some Navy Big Kahuna and a buddy (Landry!) who’s funny and charming. Add in Token Black Girl (Rihanna) and you have an end-times cast, ready to rock.
What makes this end-times cast unique is that, for the most part, everyone is allowed to play their roles believably. Rihanna’s camos don’t suddenly rip in all the right places, becoming the Navy version of the Sexy Fireman. Taylor Kitsch isn’t shirtless. Even his pretty girlfriend just seems like a pretty girlfriend, not a brainless sex-pot.
Also, these are characters who aren’t simply archetypes of characters we know we should have in any good movie. These people have depth and emotion – we believe in them and root for them even though their circumstances are beyond anything we have ever experienced.
But the best thing about Battleship is what it celebrates. Alex Hopper is a young whippersnapper, but he’s not celebrated as such. He’s celebrated when he finally grows up enough to put himself aside. The heroes of the story are a wounded veteran who faces his fears of irrelevance and inadequacy, some awesome old dudes who teach the young pups a lesson in naval warfare, and those who have the courage to believe in something bigger than themselves – to risk everything for honor and patriotism.
Battleship isn’t a perfect movie – but neither my Hubs nor myself could stop grinning the whole time. In its unfettered release of explosions and special effects was a great story of hope and an honoring of tradition that I found refreshing. (Which, sidenote – is probably why critics hated it. You see, movies about the military aren’t good unless they explore how America has failed, why she is to blame or how her nasty Imperialistic ways have been nasty and Imperialistic.)
So, before you roll your eyes at me – just go see it. You will love it, and if you don’t, well… David will critique you for me.