Battleship (Peter Berg, 2012)
From the (many) jokes in the trailer thread:
domino harvey wrote:
Maybe that low sound throughout the trailer isn't just leftover ADR from Transformers but is actually what A-4, A-5, A-6 sounds like in real-life
I liked the way that the annoying heavenly choirs, explosions and metallic noises were drowned out by a tinnitus sound near to the end of the trailer, or maybe that was just me.
I did also like the "From Hasbro, the company that brought you Transformers" tagline!
I don't know, Battleship looks as perfectly generic as any other big dumb box office smash. I can't see why it won't be equally huge. It's going to be drilled into everybody that they must see it the opening weekend, and after that, as long as the explosions are big enough, it will surely coast to profitability. What am I missing?
I know - what was I doing watching a blockbuster film based on a board game when I have something of the calibre of Berlin Alexanderplatz that has been waiting in my 'to watch' pile for a couple of years now? I can only say that the disc was the first one that came to hand!
The film is pretty amusing for the way that it feels indebted to Michael Bay, smooshing together Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. Armageddon is there in the 'lying on the grass together before the lovers part' scene (though not quite as syrupy as the animal cracker one), and a 'you've got to tell my grumpy dad we are getting married but then you've gone and ruined everything' scene (though not as fun as seeing Ben Affleck zipwiring off of an exploding oil rig was). Hong Kong stands in for Paris as the foreign landmark destroyed, though this performs the lucky ideological shorthand of wrecking the vibrant city just at the time when control of it has been returned to China!
The Pearl Harbor influence comes from there being an attack on Hawaii, which I hear had some kind of real, although non-alien related, historical event happen there.
Although there is an enormous debt to Independence Day here too. In a sense Battleship is performing the same ideological function as that film was, taking an event seemingly totally specific to American culture and trying to widen it out to encompass the rest of the world in celebrating it (specifically in Battleship allowing both the Japanese and Americans to work together to heal a wound from a significant location, and to hopefully not have to use a game of football as a form of sublimated combat any more!) as everyone bands together against a greater threat.
This is definitely a 'veteran's film', as we get the disabled veterans from current wars ending up working concurrently with old Pearl Harbor veterans running the battleship at the climax.
That greater threat of course is...silly space nerds stupidly trying to contact alien life and almost destroying the Earth in the process. The aliens may or may not be evil as they're just anonymous hostile beings in the film with no particular rhyme or reason to what they are doing (another way Battleship is taking its cues from Independence Day, as well as creating an 'easy' enemy to fight, in the sense of the alien's deaths not being particularly sad in any way), but the silly scientists should have known better. In fact the one semi-heroic nerd does predict the hostile aliens at the beginning, and of course gets redeemed at the end by not protecting his machines and instead battering an alien around the head with the metal briefcase holding his precious equipment instead.
Eventually everyone manages to get their priorities in order and blow up the satellite dishes to cut humanity off from the aliens once and for all (presumably, although I assume that once the alien's advance party fails to return, some more ships will be sent out to look for them?), and I can only assume that a deleted scene shows that in the aftermath everyone at NASA gets fired, with the army and navy generals being given permission to take it in turns to take the head of the various space projects into a soundproofed room and slap them around a bit so they don't try and explore the universe again! Presumably the message here is that funding should immediately be diverted from space exploration and instead put into researching ways to make World War Two veterans immortal should we ever need to call on their services in the future!
I did find the coda to the film especially amusing as we find out what happened to the spaceship that landed in Scotland, where instead of the combined might of the United States and Japanese military the alien finds itself up against three Scottish teenagers and a chap using blunt weapons (a crowbar, hammer, chainsaw, etc!) to open up their craft! It wasn't really a fair fight for the alien! Although the filmmakers really missed a trick to have the Scottish chap greet the alien with a Glaswegian kiss when it jumps out! (Something which would also have homaged Will Smith punching the alien out in Independence Day, strengthening that connection!) Instead they just cut to black with the jump scare.