Bored game

“Get me out of this movie! I’m going to feed you to  crocodiles!”

“Get me out of this movie! I’m going to feed you to crocodiles!”

Rated 1.0

Universal Studios unleashes the summer movie season’s first big budget stinker with this piece of trash from normally reliable director Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights). Yes, the recently released Dark Shadows isn’t good and isn’t doing well, but it’s a favorite doughnut and pie party compared to this thing.

And what of poor Taylor Kitsch? This is his second domestic blockbuster bust after John Carter, a movie I actually liked. Mr. Kitsch shouldn’t just fire his agent. He should cover his agent with peanut butter and dangle him over a pit of crocodiles that have been tested for peanut allergies. Hey, it’s Taylor Kitsch’s agent we are mad at here. We wouldn’t want to cause unjust suffering to a bunch of innocent crocodiles. Nut allergies are a bitch.

Can crocodiles get peanut allergies? OK, I’m off track. Sorry.

Based on the board game by Hasbro—always a harbinger of great film—this one throws aliens into the mix so as to not have a film featuring two fat guys sitting at a table playing Battleship while drinking milkshakes. Seriously, when I heard they were making a movie based on the Battleship board game, two fat guys drinking milk shakes and crying “You sunk my battleship!” was all I figured they might come up with. It’s not a board game that screams out “super narrative possibilities!”

As it turns out, two obese men slurping icy-sweet dairy liquids would be better than what Berg and company have concocted. This is a convoluted mess that makes the Transformers films look like God’s representation of cohesive, logical filmmaking.

Kitsch stars as Lt. Alex Hopper, in the Navy after his big brother Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgard) made him join after getting in trouble for stealing a burrito. (I’m not kidding.) He’s super in love with Samantha (Brooklyn Decker) who is, of course, the daughter of his boss, Adm. Shane (Liam Neeson, a long way from his glorious turn in this year’s The Grey). Decker essentially plays the Megan Fox “Hey, nobody is really saying or doing anything relevant onscreen so please admire my ass!” role.

Alex gets in a fight in the bathroom, and is put on double secret Navy probation as he heads out to sea for what will surely be his last Naval exercise before being politely asked to leave. While out there trolling around, they spot some weird objects that turn out to be alien vessels.

Turns out somebody had the bright idea to send an invitation message to a neighboring galaxy. They invited the aliens to come on down and check out the unbelievable statue of Will Smith at the wax museum in Vegas. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it really is uncanny.

Anyway, one thing leads to another and the aliens start shooting at the battleships, which turns out to be the big connection to the board game. There’s a sequence late in the film where we see buoys on a radar grid, or some nonsense like that, and watch as the characters essentially play a bland video game of Battleship, with dots lighting up the screen to signify a hit. Sooooooooooo stooooopid.

We get to see the aliens—they look like really ugly humans with porcupine beards—but never get a true sense of what they’re trying to pull off with their Earthly visit. They use their transforming water vessels to fight with the Navy, but occasionally send razor ball type things to shore to knock down some highways and scare children. Because the aliens lack a truly compelling agenda, the film itself lacks any kind of tension.

Battleship goes nowhere, and I mean nowhere. It sits out in the middle of an ocean like the damned board game on your coffee table. That board game was always kind of moronic, as is its totally uncalled-for movie adaptation.