Less Transformers more Act of Valor director Peter Berg's Battleship is a bombastic idiotic and ear canal-shattering love letter to the Navy slathered with a summer blockbuster sugarcoating that sufficiently masks any glimmer of heart. Following suit with their previous adaptation Transformers toy company Hasbro has transformed their popular board game into a sci-fi action movie as stiff and lifeless as the plastic pieces used to play. The saving grace is Berg's fondness for the ridiculous injecting Top Gun-level machismo into his tale of aliens vs. boats. Silliness is cinematic buoyancy for a movie as lazy as Battleship.
Continually finding himself in trouble's way roughneck Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch of TV's Friday Night Lights and John Carter) enlists in the U.S. Navy alongside his boy scout brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgård) and under the supervision of his lady friend Sam's (Brooklyn Decker) overbearing father Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson). Alex works his way up the chain of command quickly earning the rank of Lieutenant just in time for the annual competitive skirmish with the Japanese Navy. It's all fun and games until — per usual — aliens drop down from the stars and wreak havoc on Hawaii. With most of the fleet trapped on the outskirts thanks to a ship-proof forcefield Alex is forced to command his own ship and take down the intergalactic adversaries with old school style. Discombobulated radar in alien waters means Alex and his team are shooting blind — will B11 be a hit or a miss?
Kitsch spends most of his time rubbing shoulders with Petty Officer 'Weps' (Rihanna) and the rest of his diligent crew whipping up ways to defeat the alien forces who only go on the offensive when attacked. That's just the beginning of the storytelling's illogic moment after moment favoring Michael Bay-inspired mayhem and tensionless spats of screaming aboard the ship's bridge over coherency. There's an Independence Day-inspired moment where an alien creature palms Kitsch's face unleashing imagery of their devastated home planet to his mind. Maybe? That never comes back and an explanation of why the aliens are here why we're fighting them or if they're really that bad at all never comes into play. Kitsch and his men just know the world's under attack and we have to blow the opposition to smithereens.
Ensuring attentive brains are never too focused the perspective in Battleship is ever-shifting jumping from Alex's Destroyer to Sam and her paraplegic rehab patient Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales together on the run from alien ground troops. Around Battleship's halfway point when the duo partners with a twitchy scientist (Hamish Linklater) and Mick rises above his disability to beat the living daylights out of an extraterrestrial is when Berg throws his hands in the air stops caring and pulls out all the stops. Giant alien roller balls that rip up everything in their path? Check. Bouncing space ships that can only be combated using water displacement theory? Check. Navy vets returning for one…last…job? Check check. Before the finale of this 131 minute monstrosity Kitsch and his Japanese counterpart Yugi Nagata (Tadanobu Asano) sit down to play an actual game of Battleship. Sure it's with actual missiles but there's a grid there's a target and there's shouting out of corresponding numbers. For those worried about board game fan service it's there (but don't sit around waiting for the infamous tagline).
Unlike his turn in John Carter Kitsch is perfectly suited for the bro atmosphere of Battleship where every moment of drama begs for hammy delivery and crazy eyes. Decker too is an asset to the overly epic blockbuster — a step up from the reductive arm candy roles of the Transformers movies. Everyone else is barely a blip on the radar; Neeson is deprived of a single badass moment while Rihanna proves she can memorize and playback scripted lines as well as pop song lyrics. Berg has control of his action in a way that's more enjoyable than the previous Transformers films but it still plays like a tired clone. The initial two-thirds of Battleship that takes itself too seriously is exhausting. The final barrage is pure lunacy. Whether you can stay afloat for that long is the true test of heroism.
January 07, 2002 11:09am EST
Jerry Seinfeld appeared at the Kennedy Center in Washington on Saturday and hinted at the possibility of a Seinfeld reunion during a question-and-answer session at the end of the show, The Washington Post reports. "It's a definite possibility," he said. Seinfeld added that a reunion could even be called likely once the careers of all four stars are down the drain. Former Seinfeld co-stars Jason Alexander and Michael Richards have each bombed in their respective sitcoms, while Julia Louis-Dreyfus has a new show in the works for NBC. "Two down and two to go," the comedian said.
Lynne Spears, Britney's mom, tells all about Christmas at the Spears house on her daughter's official Web site. According to Lynne, Britney visited Justin at his home in Memphis, but came home Christmas Eve, and stayed through the holidays. She also mentions that Britney and her brother Bryan threw a New Year's Eve party in Greenwich Village, which she refers to as "the Village section of New York."
Only 11 of the 19 winners showed up to collect their honors at the first American Film Institute Awards in Beverly Hills on Saturday, The Associated Press reports. Director Robert Altman and actors Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, Jennifer Connelly, Judy Davis and James Gandolfini were no-shows. The only actor present was Sissy Spacek, who won best actress for In the Bedroom.
Tom Hanks has been named chairman of the newly formed award screening committee for the Academy of Motion Pictures & Sciences that will decide the three finalists for the animated feature category, People reports. Hanks' duties will include arranging screenings and serving as a go-between between the short film and feature animation branches of the organization.
French designer Yves Saint Laurent, 65, announced Monday at his salon in Paris that he was retiring, Reuters reports. Though his departure will not mean the end of the label, it may signal the end of his tailoring activities for the ready-to-wear collection. In 1999 Italy's Gucci Group acquired the label and proceeded to do a full revamp. Though Saint Laurent remained in charge of the haute couture collections, fashion insiders said he took an immediate dislike to designer Tom Ford and his team of commercially minded executives and felt increasingly isolated from the industry.
Moby is fine, thanks, at least according to a message left on his Web site. The dance and techno musician was apparently bitten by an alley cat in New York City's Chinatown and was forced to visit the emergency room at Beth-Israel Hospital. "I appreciate and practice homeopathy and traditional medicines, but when you've got feline dumpster bacteria running around your bloodstream you suddenly become very fond of good old Western medicine and its arsenal of antibiotics," he said.
Prince Edward has once again infuriated his older brother Prince Charles by asking him to partake in a television documentary about his love life, Reuters reports. Edward, who runs Britain's Ardent television company, is reportedly making a program about his brother's failed marriage to Princess Diana and his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
Rentals of home videos and DVDs are up 2.1 percent from 2000 and topped $8.42 billion in 2001. More rental outlets and the rapidly growing popularity of new DVDs have helped push revenues from the home video market over the 2001 film box office total of $8.35 billion, Reuters reports.
Leni Riefenstahl, the German filmmaker who was blacklisted in 1954 because of her work for the Third Reich, plans to release a new movie this year, Reuters reports. Underwater Impressions will be a compilation of footage from more than 2,000 scuba dives she made in the Indian Ocean between 1974 and 2000 and will premiere on her 100th birthday in August. Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will, a powerful documentary of the 1934 Nazi party rally in Nuremberg, was criticized for helping establish Adolf Hitler's image as an all-powerful leader.