Alex Hopper is a total slacker who lacks discipline and is forced to join the navy by his brother Stone after getting arrested for burglary when entering a closed shop for a chicken burrito in an attempt to impress a girl. Some time later, Alex has managed to become lieutenant at the USS John Paul Jones, the sister ship of the USS Sampson which is commanded by his brother. However, during the RIMPAC naval war games exercises’ opening ceremony in Hawaii, Alex gets into a brawl with captain Nagata of the JDS Myoko and gets told afterwards that once the RIMPAC exercises are over, he’ll be kicked out of the navy.
When RIMPAC really starts off, a small fleet of alien ships arrives in response to a NASA signal that was sent to outer space. They put a protective forcefield over the Hawaii islands, leaving only the USS John Paul Jones, the USS Sampson and the JDS Myoko inside. The three destroyers get into a fight with the aliens but with little luck. Alex sees his brother’s ship completely destroyed, his command killed and Nagata’s ship sink. Hopper saves what’s left of Nagata’s crew and in memory of his killed brother decides to start a game of hide and seek with the aliens before they can complete their mission.
Battleship is absurd. It’s absurd in every possible way and the fact that it’s based on a boardgame should have already warned you about this. However, the absurdity is actually its major strong point. Director Peter Berg uses it cleverly, following all possible clichés with a tongue-in-cheek and constantly making sure the movie doesn’t take itself all too seriously. The result is an action vehicle that’s filled with some great CGI moments, a simplistic but funny story, some great moments of suspense and plenty of scenes that make you laugh out loud. Where Michael Bay tries to be serious about Transformers and fails in most cases, Berg does the intelligent thing by just focusing on providing mindless entertainment and not trying to convince us it’s anything more. And he succeeds.
Ships firing at coordinates on a screen, aliens shooting off the peggles from the boardgame, a guy without leggs kicking alien ass, and a decommissioned battleship being taken back into service by true real-life navy veterans. It all comes together in a funny over the top way that leaves you at the end with a big smile on your face.
Where Berg exells in giving us mindless entertainment, Universal does the same with the technical quality of the Blu-ray release. We get awesome panoramic shots of Hawaii, vivid colors, inky blacks and surprisingly sharp images that especially get noticed when looking at the casts faces which show off every wrinkle and pore. And it doesn’t stop there. The alien vessels are equally detailed, just like their spacesuits which show clear signs of past battles. And then we come to the sound which is equally impressive with loud explosions, plenty of use of the surrounds with directional effects, and crystal clear dialogues that never get overwhelmed by all the rest that’s going on. The viewer truly gets put in the middle of all the action, just as it should be in a movie like this.
The Blu-ray also has a number of extras that provide some overview of the production and have the usual comments from cast & crew. Most interesting is the “USS Missouri VIP Tour” in which we get guided through the ship and get to hear some great stories about its history. It lasts 20 minutes and is a really great extra.