Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna, and Brooklyn Decker
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Runtime: 131 mins. Reviewed in Apr 2012
| JustWatch |
Rating notes: Science fiction violence

This film is a science fiction, naval war film made by the same distributors, who were responsible for “Transformers”(2007).

Filming for the movie first began at the Gold Coast, Queensland, but later moved to the US. Its production is based on Hasbro’s classic board game of the same name, and it has spawned other games since, such as “Battleship: The Videogame”.

A race of aliens, known as “The Regents”, travel to Earth on a mission to build their power source in the ocean, and they engage in an intense battle with a U.S. naval fleet based in Hawaiian waters. Earth is silly enough to virtually invite the aliens to come, communicating to them from across the galaxy that Earth is entirely compatible with their own planet. The aliens arrive to take over. Recognisably humanoid, they have facial hair resembling porcupine quills, and they are capable of transmitting telepathic images. They build an impenetrable dome, restricting all radar and communications, and use the dome to launch their attack, both on sea and on land. Not surprisingly, the action packed sequences are intense (too intense for children), and the movie uses every technological means at its disposal to entertain furiously. There is a similar visual style in the way Transformers and The Regents transform themselves into lethal weapons of destructive steel.

Most alien movies show aliens attacking unexpectedly from outer space. In this movie, like Transformers, they attack from within. The aliens lurk under the ocean, which lends an interesting dimension to their invasion, and stunning photography by Tobias Schliessler captures the ocean’s distinctive menace.

Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson) is in charge of the fleet, and actively dislikes a rebellious Lt. Alex Hooper (Taylor Kitsch), who is unlucky enough to romance his daughter, Samantha (Brooklyn Decker). The young officer finally wins the admiral’s respect by his bravery and daring in fighting the aliens. Alexander Skarsgard plays Taylor’s principled brother, Stone, who is killed in their attacks. Rihanna, the dance pop-star, turned actress, plays the role of Petty Officer, Cora Raikes, who mixes well with the action on board in her first movie role. Back on dry land, Samantha waits anxiously for Alex to return, and has her role to play in trying to stop the aliens bringing more of their own kind to Earth.

The film starts and ends almost as a patriotic, recruitment drive for enlisting in the US Navy, but in-between the action is spectacular. The impact of the movie lies predominately in its fire-power action on water, where the flotilla of ships and the aliens move as opposing forces in a lethal board game, that is as exciting as it is deadly.

The film is a high-energy, action-packed movie made on a very expensive budget (more than $US200m.), that has all the expected special-effects for a Hollywood block-buster movie. It is not a thinking-person’s film, but it entertains explosively, and for those who have the chance, it is best seen on a large screen.

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