Along with John Carter, the other big cliffhanger at the box office this year will be Battleship, the big action film loosely based on the Milton Bradley board game.
As you may recall, there's been a lot of hate for this film on the 'Net for quite some time because a movie based on a board game, of all things, is indicative of the kind of stupidity Hollywood spends hundreds of millions of dollars on.
There's especially been anger at Battleship because Universal spent a lot of money on it, rumor has it in the $200 million range, and they passed on more interesting projects like The Dark Tower, and At the Mountains of Madness to make a boilerplate action movie instead.
Even though it hits theaters on May 18 in the States, Battleship is coming out in Europe first, and with the film having its premiere in Australia; reviews are finally here. Variety got its review out first, and the news headline reads: "Battleship treads shallow waters."
Considering the film looks very similar to the work of Michael Bay, it's doubtful anyone's expecting an intelligent story, and as Guy Lodge writes, "Overlong and underwritten even by the standards of f/x extravaganzas, Universal's adaptation of the Hasbro board game lets the missiles do the talking." (Battleship is reportedly 130 minutes long.)
Lodge also writes, "Proportional strategy and luck are required to win Battleship, Peter Berg's loudly, proudly ridiculous soldiers-vs-aliens blockbuster rather fancifully claims as its source," and that the film "will nonetheless float with many on the strength of its boyish, eager-to-please razzle-dazzle."
Two other reviews that have come in so far had polar opposite views on the film. Digital Spywrote, "Those fearing a tedious 2 hours of slow-moving naval strategy need not worry, this is a souped-up action-fest that's big, loud, and ever-so-slightly silly (okay, very silly). This is [Director Peter] Berg doing his best Michael Bay impression – all sun-soaked money shots, blaring score, flag-waving jingoism and cutaways to the Pentagon as government officials ponder armageddon."
Digital Spy added that "Berg is able to bring a goofy charm to the proceedings, notably in its inclusion of elements of the original Battleship game." This review also mentions SPOILER ALERT "unfortunately there's no mention of the immortal line 'you sunk my battleship.' Maybe that's being saved for a sequel?"
Yet IndieWrite called Battleship "a cynical, nonsensical boring blockbuster," and unlike Rise of the Planet of the Apes, in critic Oliver Lyttleton's view the film didn't rise above the initial skepticism. Since Battleship is clearly a riff on Michael Bay style over the top spectacle, can Battleship also overcome bad reviews and be a big hit at the box office like Bay's movies? The final verdict will arrive over the weekend of May 18.