So, back in 2008 Universal Studios and Hasbro announced a movie deal that would center around Hasbro games like Battleship, Ouija, Clue (wait, don’t we already have a Clue movie? How can anything without Tim Curry be any better?), Candy Land, and Magic the Gathering. Most normal people promptly forgot this fact because our attention spans don’t last the length of a movie production with no news. But on August 3rd we found out that Universal was dropping Clue (though Gore Verbinski will still be making it), Monopoly, and Magic, leaving them with Battleship, Candy Land (CANDY LAND??), Ouija, and Stretch Armstrong. Personally, the potential of 7 board game movies being released in the next decade makes me want to buy stock in foreign companies.
And so Battleship is going to be the first lovechild of this unholy coupling of basically plotless board games and film; the trailer was released in late July:
It stands to reason that battleships might be the worst things with which to fight aliens – aliens that, bizarrely, don’t seem to want to attack a city or government or mine for Unobtanium or whatever, but just want to trap some Earth ships, which are defending nothing, in a semisphere of their intense technology, instead of just flying over them or dropping some huge alien bomb on them, which one assumes they could do.
Rihanna will appear in Battleship, inexplicably, dressed in something suprisingly unsexy; requisite hot-daughter-of-authority-figure-and-romantic-interest-of-authority-challenging-protagonist1 is played by generically-hot Brooklyn Decker (the trailer opens with a “There will be sexiness as well as battleships!” shot of her in denim shorts and a white bikini straddling the authority-challenging-protagonist on the beach).
Liam Neeson, Oscar and Golden Globe nominee, known best for his iconic role in Schindler’s List (and less fondly for his hideous hair in Star Wars I), will be delivering lines like “I don’t know what my daughter sees in you.”2
The only connection to the actual game of Battleship seems to be that there are ships and, presumably, a battle – but I guess that’s really all they had to go on anyways, short of making the ships have giant pegs on the bottoms of them.
And yes, everyone thought Pirates of the Caribbean was going to be terrible, and yes, Pirates of the Caribbean was awesome, but the justification of similar hopes for Battleship becomes extremely weak when the last, super-duper-intense-and-awesome lines of the trailer are:
Liam Neeson: Prepare to fire.
Man In Charge of Firing: Sir, which weapons?
Liam Neeson: All of them.
I mean, seriously, I know this isn’t where art films come from, but is this all our big movie businesses can do? Slam out as many potential fad-ish movies as fast as they can and hope something has that Pirates magic? A sad day for the movie industry, I think, but what makes this sadder than the release of Spy Kids XVII is that they’ve sucked real actors into it this time.
1is that a trope? I feel like it is. This is basically like half of all leading females ever (Elizabeth Swann in Pirates, Neytiri in Avatar, Lucilla in Gladiator, Jasmine in Aladdin….
2Okay, okay, or “What my daughter sees in you is a mystery to me”; they didn’t fool me by using crappy verbs and putting it in passive tense. [Also, did you know that “Liam” was short for “William”? His name just got a lot less cool and foreign, sadly (sad for him and also a sad indication of what my standards are for coolness). This is like when I found out that “Topher” wasn’t some cool nonWASP name but in fact just an abbreviation of one of the WASPiest names out there. Sigh.]