Kicking off the summer season next May is sci-fi action film "Battleship," which is being promoted as an adaptation of the board game by Milton Bradley. Since there have been films about kids' toys, video games, and Disney rides, it's not that surprising that old-school board games are getting the Hollywood treatment. Even with an attractive cast signed on and a big budget for even bigger special effects, can a film with this flimsy of a premise actually succeed?
"You Sank My Battleship!"
Much has been said, and many jokes have been made, about the inanity of creating a film about a board game that has no plot other than the above tagline. Earlier this year, James Cameron ("Avatar") bemoaned the lack of imagination in Hollywood and the reliance on sequels and remakes to get by. He called the "Battleship" adaptation "ridiculous" and said it "degrades the cinema."
The filmmakers are likely using the "based on the board game" bit as a gimmick. It's simply a recognizable name that fires up game night nostalgia amongst its audience. The actual plot of "Battleship" involves an alien armada, and I don't remember any spider-like creatures lurking around "B-5" or "E-9." The film has an original script, a $200 million budget, a well-known cast, and director Peter Berg ("Friday Night Lights," "Hancock").
Asked about Cameron's comments on the naval action/sci-fi flick, Berg replied: "I'm a huge fan of James Cameron, and as always, I thank him for his support."
Taylor Kitsch takes the lead as Navy man Alex Hopper. The hunky 30-year-old has had women swooning over him during his "Friday Night Lights" run and as the sexy and acrobatic Gambit in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." He's currently working on increasing his sci-fi rep, taking on "John Carter" before "Battleship" hits theaters.
Playing straight arrow big brother Stone Hopper is "True Blood" hottie Alexander Skarsgard. The towering, hunky Swede was apparently brought to Berg's attention by "15 women who work in my office." Berg added that Skarsgard also had "strong opinions and ideas" about the role, which is a good sign that there actually is a role to talk about, aside from looking good in a naval uniform.
The consensus on both actresses in "Battleship" so far is, "Sure, she looks amazing, but can she act?" Berg was impressed with music diva Rihanna's persona onscreen and off, and had no reservations about casting her as a tough military ammunition specialist in the film. "She has a very strong presence--people are going to be surprised," Berg promises.
Then there's Brooklyn Decker, the swimsuit model hottie who's known more for her Sports Illustrated covers and marriage to tennis pro Andy Roddick than her acting skills. Her only big screen credit to date is the Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler debacle "Just Go With It." Most reviews of the film mention Decker's role in much the same way as The New York Post: "Decker's acting suggests her only training in show business is to stand around at swimsuit shoots."
Summer movies that are big on action with good-looking stars tend to do well at the box office even if they're not that heavy on plot. Berg has earned critical acclaim for his "Friday Night Lights" work, and the new film's storyline of fighting aliens on the high seas at least has some novelty to it. If the effects are worth the $200 million, all of these elements should be enough to get movie fans to the theater in the summer of 2012. How "Battleship" will fare with critics is a little less certain.
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- James Cameron
- action film
- Brooklyn Decker
- Taylor Kitsch
- director Peter Berg
- game night
- special effects
- video games