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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

Battleship  

Not A1.. but not sunk, either [Blu-Ray]

I don't remember hearing a good thing about this when it first came out - and so my expectations having been set correspondingly low, I came away rather pleasantly surprised. In tone, scale and aspiration this is a Transformers clone - it's even generated by the same toy company, Hasbro. How you feel about a movie whose success hinges on how good its special effects are and how gorgeous the cast are, above such other criteria such as, say, acting or script, will largely determine how much you enjoy this movie.

Plot-wise, slacker Taylor Kitsch has been encouraged to join the Navy by his high performing brother, under the gruff command of Admiral Liam Neeson. He does this to win the hand of the Admiral's unfeasibly gorgeous daughter who seems to serve no purpose other than wearing ultra tight denim shorts and straddling Taylor in provocative poses, and who is inexplicably drawn to him. Things get complicated when Aliens land in the ocean next to a huge naval exercise and their intentions are clearly more Decepticon than Autobot... When the action kicks off, it's all wildly over the top, and yet done with such excellent effects and solid editing (hooray, Michael Bay-like frenetic editing has been dialed down so you can actually see what's going on..) that there's quite a lot of fun to be had. Rihanna is surprisingly underplayed in a supporting role, Liam Neeson is.. well, Liam Neeson and the rest of the cast ably put Tab A into Slot B for their respective prescribed character developments.

As a US Navy propaganda it actually works well, in a Top-Gun-at-sea sort of way. The effects are genuinely quite impressive, with stuff blowing up, vapourising and blasting around in a way that actually seems to look realistic, even if physicists will have struggle not to place their head in their hands and shake it at some of the plot points (why DO radio waves beamed into space need to be a striking white beam of light that zings and shimmers..?). I found the time went fairly quickly and chuckles and thrills outweighed the cringing. Not at all as bad as the nay-sayers would have you believe, and fun if you can suspend disbelief long enough.

p.s. hang around til after the end credits





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