Trailer Tuesday: Battleship
Right, we've had films based on action figures, films based on theme park rides and, now, films based on board games (pretend for a minute that the Clue(do) movie was never made back in the 80s).
Battleship, based of course on turn-based strategy game, looks to be Transformers by way of Top Gun. Taylor (Gambit) Kitsch stars as brilliant but rebellious naval officer Alex Hopper, who is on the wrong side of Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson), especially after becoming engaged to Shane's daughter (Brooklyn Decker). Hopper has a chance to prove himself though when international naval exercises off Hawaii trigger a battle between the fleet and a vastly superior alien craft that jams all radar and traps the ships under a giant dome. It's a case of sink or be sunk.
I think it's safe to consider Battleship a replacement for the (for now) concluded Transformers film series, filling the market gap for big dumb blockbusters where the human characters are cartoon archetypes and the film's big drawcard is its mind-blowing special effects and epic battles. Oh, and of course, let's not forget the additional market appeal of many hot young bodies in uniform, including Alexander Skarsgård is Hopper's straight-laced older brother - a commanding officer - and Rihanna, in her first film role, as a weapons specialist.
In all honesty, as much as Battleship promises to be a fun popcorn movie from Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom and Hancock's Peter Berg, it's also a major curiosity. How will the filmmakers keep things exciting and unexpected? After all, the basic premise and play style of the (admittedly alien-free) Battleship board game is tediously repetitive: one side shoots at the other, the other fires back blindly, and the process repeats until there's a victor. How will the movie mix up the process?
Also, I'm intrigued as to how the film will explain the US Navy using battleships, since my personal "military adviser" informs me that battleships, equipped with multiple massive cannons, were retired in the early 1990s. Battleship doesn't look like it's set in the past. Perhaps battleships are hauled out of the museum for naval exercises and the old gunship becomes the only hope for triumph after the high-tech contemporary fleet is destroyed - à la Battlestar Galactica? Then again, perhaps I'm over-thinking a film that clearly isn't about smarts.
Originally scheduled to debut in July this year, Battleship has been delayed until 18 May 2012 in the United States. Just in time for the Memorial Day weekend. The South African release date has yet to be announced.