When your movie is based on a board game that pretty much involves guessing numbers, you don't have a lot to work with. I wouldn't be surprised if the brainstorming meeting for Battleship happened at 4am after three days with no sleep and everyone on a massive caffeine high. On paper, this movie looks ridiculous. The US navy versus a bunch of high tech aliens from the creators of Transformers. And we're talking the toy creators here, not the movies (not that this would make things better). Taking my seat in the cinema to watch Battleship, my expectations were so low you'd need James Cameron in a submarine to find them.
But some how, Battleship manages to pull it off. It's not going to win a best picture Oscar or join the ranks of the all-time great action movies. However, if you're willing to ignore logic and common sense and watch things blow up, there's a lot of fun to be had.
What's the movie about?
Attempting to explain the plot of Battleship is kind of missing the point. It's the navy versus aliens. That's all you need to know. The film makers try and do things like character development, and really they should be commended for trying. But really? A washed up nobody gets arrested while trying to impress the admiral's daughter and a couple of years later he's a high ranking naval officer? And now he has to prove himself to the admiral before he gets kicked out of the navy for being out of control. Good thing we're not watching this movie for the logic, because when the time comes where the good guys are literally playing the game Battleship against the aliens by launching missiles at grid references ("E11?" "Miss") I'm too busy laughing to care. And I like to believe the filmmakers are laughing with me because it's clear they realise how stupid the premise of their movie is and decided to just have fun with it.
And this is a fun movie. There are a number of scenes that just have you sitting back and going "this is cool". We've seen in countless movies how the US army or the US air force save the world from aliens. Surprisingly, letting the navy have a turn is enough to give us something that's sufficiently new. The characters are likeable, the two female characters are treated as capable and not just there to be rescued/drooled over (automatically making this movie a million times better than Transformers), and the special effects are great. If that's what you're after in a movie, Battleship delivers.
A tough mission
A movie like Battleship is all about taking characters that are full of untapped potential who struggle working together and putting them in a situation where they must step up to survive, maybe even save the day. In Battleship, it's a handful of sailors from two rival nations with no back-up, and hopelessly outmatched by the superior alien force. But by overcoming their shortcomings and differences, and with the help of an ACDC fuelled montage, the day is saved. Just like these men and women, we have a seemingly impossible task, one that we often feel ill-equipped and unprepared for. Our mission is to make the message of Jesus known to the world.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus says to take his message to the ends of the world. This is a massive undertaking. Thankfully, God has given us his Holy Spirit. If some underpowered guys in a boat can save the world from an alien invasion, how much more can we fulfil our part in God's plans while powered by God himself?
I wasn't looking forward to Battleship. But surprisingly it was not terrible. It was even good in some places. So turn your brain off and go to enjoy the pretty explosions.