Monday, May 21, 2012

Jonathan Goes To the Movies: Battleship

I hate Michael Bay.

With a passion, I might add.

After two successful hit movies, the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence buddy-cop action-comedy Bad Boys in 1995, and the prison break action movie, The Rock one year later, the summer of 1998 saw the rise of what would soon to be, one of the most profitable directors working with the smash hit, Armageddon. The film would serve as as a blueprint for how Bay would direct future films with his following trademark Bay-isms: 
  • shaky camerawork
  • quick cuts in action sequences
  • big, loud explosions that assault the eardrum
  • slow-mo shots aircraft and people posing behind a backdrop sunset
  • poorly-developed characters
  • ethnic stereotypes
  • female characters that serve nothing more than eye candy for the audience, or merely being in love with the male protagonist
  • an overbearing score
Little did we know, Armageddon was just the beginning. Although the movie was widely panned by the critics as mindless junk stretched out for 2 1/2 hours, the audience ate it up, making over $200 million domestically during its box-office run and became the highest grossing movie worldwide in 1998, making over $550 million. Bay's gigantic success signaled to him two key things: One, this is what audiences want to see. And two, that the critics who dismiss his movies as idiotic drivel can go fuck themselves. From 2001 - 2011, Bay would go on an almost uninterrupted streak of crafting action movies that follow in Armageddon's footsteps: be it the disrespectful and offensive WWII romantic drama Pearl Harbor in 2001, the mean-spirited and misogynistic follow-up to 95's Smith/Lawrence action-comedy Bad Boys II in 2003, the Blade Runner/Matrix ripoff sci-fi action movie The Island in 2005, the surprisingly entertaining Hasbro toy line-turned feature-length motion picture Transformers in 2007, and their godawful sequels; Revenge of the Fallen in 2009, and last year's Dark of the Moon, the James Cameron wannabe made Hollywood blockbusters that catered to giving the audience what it wanted: two-plus hours of relentless action, little character development or growth, stories filled with plot holes, and caricatures that either act as comic relief, or sex appeal for the male viewers. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Now, in the fifth month into the year of our lord 2012, we have finally arrived at a movie that takes it's cues almost note-for-note from the Michael Bay playbook....another Hasbro game getting the silver screen treatment in Battleship. How does a shameless Bay-ripoff look like in the hands of a decent blockbuster director in Peter Berg (Hancock, The Kingdom)? The answer is that Battleship is one of the most infuriating and dreadful experiences i've ever had at the movies since I walked out on Norbit

Lieutenant Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is an arrogant, irresponsible douchebag who commands the USS John Paul Jones in a training exercise for the RIMPAC Naval War Games, a competition between American and Japanese soldiers on the shores of a naval base in Hawaii. His brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgård, what the hell are you doing in this picture!?) is tired of dealing with his brother's latest fuck-ups, and Admiral Shane (Liam Nesson, phoning his performance) is on the cusp of booting his ass out of the Navy. Enter the appearance of an invading alien army, and Hopper and his crew aboard the John Paul  Jones - along with his hot girlfriend Sam Shane (Brooklyn Decker), the Admiral's daughter, and a double amputee Afghanistan war vet Mick (played by real-life Iraq war veteran Gregory D. Gadson) charged with keeping ET from calling home (don't ask) - are the only people that can stop the aliens from enslaving the world. If you're wondering why the invading alien race are trying to rule the earth, that plot point is never explained, at all. They're here to kill and conquer, and that's all you need to know! 

The unknown reasons for the aliens to invade, other than to set up tired, uninspired and unexciting action set pieces and mindless CGI destruction is one of many reasons why I hated Battleship, easily the year's worst movie. I also hated the "characters", from the dickhead Alex, to his stereotypical hot fiancee Sam (seriously, what does this bimbo see in him?!) to the amputee, who comes away with the worst lines of dialogue in this movie. I hated how the action scenes are just CGI set pieces that don't have that "wow!" factor which made Marvel's The Avengers a blast, or the last 40 minutes of Dark of the Moon somewhat entertaining. Most of all, I hated how, even at an hour and a half of all of this, that the filmmakers hadn't even gotten to the really stupid parts yet, as the last 40 minutes contains a jaw-droppingly idiotic sequence of events that even I can't begin to explain, and even if I could, you wouldn't believe me if I told you. The one good thing about this overlong assault on story, character development, and common sense is that pop star Rihanna's performance as Petty Officer Raikes isn't as terrible as I thought it would be: she's kind of a badass, who is unfortunately given little to do and less to expand her character on. There's still seven months left to go in the movie season, but i'm already betting on Battleship to clean up at the Razzie Awards. A movie bereft of suspense, excitement and common sense will win the title every time.

0 stars out of ****

No comments:

Total Pageviews