Our first look at the upcoming film answers the fundamental question: how does one adapt the story of a fairly boring table-game into a film?
It worked for Jumanji and Clue, right, so it should work for Battleship. Except that Jumani and Clue at least have vestigial plots, backstories to be harvested or built-upon. Battleship just has ships.
The idea, if somehow you haven’t played before, is that each player fires missiles blindly at the opponent’s ocean, only knowing if their missile hits, then basing further moves on the pattern of hits and misses, taking turns until one fleet or the other is completely covered in little red ‘hit’ markers.
Mostly it’s a game of chance, with little actual skill unless you get two players who know the game or each other very well.
So then, the plot of the film?
It seems as though an alien force has appeared in the ocean near some U.S. Navy Battleships during a wargames session. None of the alien ships seem to register on any of the battleship’s sensors (thus the blind firing, I guess), then – and this is a guess from the special effect in the trailer – the alien force puts up some kind of force field which traps the US battleship inside with the aliens.
The ships, guided by a surly Liam Neeson and a rebellious Taylor Kitsch, will have to find a way to fend off the aliens blindly from inside their limited field of engagement.
Battleship, which also stars Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, Josh Pence, Jesse Plemons and Peter MacNicol will open May 18, 2012.