The sci-fi movie Battleship is the latest Hollywood Blockbuster gaining serious attention in anticipation of its UK release in April. The spectacular CGI driven naval battles, scintillating sound and inclusion of the hottest Barbadian singer on the planet will do big business. But with moviegoers ever more sceptical of Hollywood’s recycling program, the challenge is not just recouping investments but whether Battleship can develop a brand and franchise business model out of it. Battleship looks great so far. The trailer promises everything that can be jammed into a 12A rating; romance, aliens, the usual macho posturing, Armageddon, a kick-ass rock soundtrack all in a popcorn fun sort of way. It’s the inclusion of Rihanna though, that may prove to be the masterstroke for producers Hasbro who are banking on her to bring what director Peter Berg calls an “urban swagger” to her character.
At the recent London Press conference we were privy to an audience with the golden haired Rihanna alongside cast members Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker and Director Peter Berg. The film also stars Liam Neeson and Alexander Skarsgård. Asked what they were most excited about for audiences to see, Rihanna was quick to jump in and say “The action! The CGI is incredible. I was blown away..” Taylor Kitsch mentioned the humour. He says it’s gonna hit people on the side. “It’s one of the best character roles I could of asked for. It was a lot of fun. But on a serious note. We had an unprecedented access within the Navy to shoot in Pearl Harbour on the USS Missouri. And for people who haven’t been exposed to that, they are going to learn something about modern naval warfare. I think it will be a cool for people to experience that.” A sentiment that Naval history enthusiast Director Berg echoes telling us how much he loved filming with the Navy and the many veterans, especially on the most famous of US Battleships the Missouri, the ship that Japan signed the surrender treaty on, “we had 90 year veterans acting in the film who were telling us stories of what it was like to live on these ships. I found it mesmerizing and very humbling.”
The story itself won’t come as a surprise to moviegoers. An Alien meets Transformers meets the Battleship board game with a little Independence Day for some good ol stars ‘n stripes flag waving, that’s really nothing to get excited about. The premise, however, offers those of a more astronomical or even philosophical bent something to ponder. “Goldilocks planets.” Planets that are just about the right distance away from its own sun to sustain life. Making contact with these ‘planets’ has become a contentious issue. It’s from this point of view that Director Berg has found a believable introduction to Battleship. Enticing as it sounds, the whole movie has to deliver something resolutely spectacular. This is not the film that can rest on some existential dilemma. It’s not that kind of film. Battleship is what Director Peter Berg sees as a ‘Super Movie’. He is adamant that the “defining films of this generation are the big epic ones. Where some of the biggest film makers in the business are making them, like JJ Abrams, Michael Bay, James Cameron. They have incredible global reach, a huge CG component and are given tremendous creative freedom.”
Battleship opens in the UK April 11 and in the US in May.