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New Release Review - Battleship

Directed by: Peter Berg
Starring: Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Rhianna, Taylor Kitsch, Peter MacNicol

The Hasbro board game finally gets the movie adaptation we've all been waiting for.
If "Top Gun" was a recruitment campaign for the U.S Navy, this is a recruitment campaign for the North Korean military. In this movie America is an aggressive bully who shoots first and asks questions later, the George Zimmerman to the aliens' Trayvon Martin.
Previously, alien invasion movies have played on two scenarios:
  • A: The aliens arrive and the scientific community insist on attempting peaceful contact with them. This goes pear-shaped as the aliens reveal they're not here to pick flowers and it's up to the military to save the day. The scientists admit they were wrong and scurry off back to their test-tubes while the military celebrate. 
  • B: The aliens arrive with peaceful intentions but the military don't give them a chance and attack, leaving it up to the scientific community to save mankind by proving to the aliens that not all earthlings are gun-toting nuts. The aliens spare us and the military hang their heads in shame, realising how close they were to destroying our planet.
This is the first movie to combine both scenarios, the Navy attack the aliens without provocation yet the film still portrays them as the heroes. Scientists on the other hand are shown as bumbling cowards.  Xenophobia is taken to new levels; at one point a Japanese naval officer reveals that his country have been secretly plotting against America for the past twenty years. But hey, when aliens from another world attack even America and Japan can put aside their differences and work together. Am I wrong in thinking Pearl Harbour was attacked over seventy years ago? This movie would lead you to believe it was a recent event.
Usually Sky News appear in these movies to provide the UK news perspective but here it's their rivals ITV News. When a movie is too right wing for Sky News to be associated with you know it's extreme.
I'm the first to complain about political correctness but even I was offended by the movie's disgusting treatment of it's amputee character, purely inserted for exploitation purposes. Played by actual amputee and war veteran Colonel Gregory Gadson, it's a horrifically insensitive portrayal. Every shot of Gadson begins with the camera lingering on his artificial legs, reducing the poor man to little more than a prop. At one point a character asks if he is a "cyborg". I feel bad saying this but Gadson is a shockingly bad actor. I'm sure there are plenty of amputees who are actually professional actors but the producers have opted for jingoism as it makes for better press blurb. 
Speaking of press blurb here's a classic snippet from the movie's press release concerning supermodel Decker: "To prepare for the role, Brooklyn had to work with physical therapists who treated soldiers returning home from war." Are you f*cking kidding me? We're not talking Jane Fonda in "Coming Home" here. Decker's role amounts to little more than walking up a hill behind Gadson and her character only exists so we can see a female wearing something other than a military uniform. In fairness to Decker she's actually competent and this certainly isn't the movie to judge a performer's acting chops.
I'm no movie snob, far from it. "Top Gun" is one of my all time favorites (though I usually skip past the combat scenes). I can accept a movie being dumb, but what I can't accept is it being as cruel and mean spirited as this.
Berg directs like he's never even seen a movie before, let alone helmed one. His sense of geography is abysmal and he has the spatial awareness of a drunken horse. The editing is so nonsensical that by the time you figure out where your eyes should look in any given shot it's already moved on to the next one. The action scenes are indecipherable, random bits of metal flying everywhere, like watching a box of spanners in a tumble dryer. The small mercy is that it wasn't 3D.
For the final insult the credits are accompanied by Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" an anti-war anthem whose lyrics couldn't be more in opposition with this film's message.
I'll conclude by paraphrasing Bob Hope; I've no problem with people burning the American flag, as long as Peter Berg is wrapped up in it.
1/10