“We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.…If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”
Cue the U.S. Navy, which by happenstance is undergoing a battle exercise in the Pacific just as the alien force set-up camp in the ocean.
Because after an egregiously rough first act, Battleship picks itself up, dusts itself off, and offers a compelling tale of human vs. alien combat on the open sea. Going in, one should understand that Battleship is a generic “blockbuster”-type film, not prone to subtlety or nuance. But the special effects are extraordinary, and the cat-and-mouse battle between the denizens of Earth and the evil aliens grows increasingly tense and desperate.
On the former front, the film -- again like Battle: LA -- pits man against aliens who are just a little bit ahead of us in terms of their technology. They have a big advantage, but it isn’t necessarily a decisive one. Once we learn their weaknesses, it’s game on. Again, one must consider this dynamic a metaphor for the Iraq War. There, our forces romped easily to Baghdad, but then had to face a homegrown insurgency. I enjoy how the aliens are presented in Battleship because they seem like authentic soldiers, not just hissable movie villains. They’re here to do a specific job, not engage in unnecessary brutality, and they are close enough to us in terms of physicality that we can recognize their motives. They’re completing a mission they've been tasked with; nothing more.
Perhaps part of the reason Battleship succeeds as ably as it does involves lead actor Taylor Kitsch. Unlike a lot of young actors today, he possesses a unique ability to simultaneously be in the action and comment on the action. He’s nearly Harrison Ford-esque in this quality.
Battleship stays afloat, but I don’t think it would be sea worthy for more than this shakedown cruise.