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'Battleship' Nasty Early Reviews: Critics Unleash Nautical Brickbats

Thompson on Hollywood By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood April 11, 2012 at 2:02PM

"Battleship," which so far boasts a paltry 45% on Rotten Tomatoes, is currently hitting screens in Europe and premieres stateside May 18, 2012.
Brooklyn Decker in 'Battleship' Looks Skeptical
Brooklyn Decker in 'Battleship' Looks Skeptical

The most entertaining thing we can expect from the upcoming "Battleship" are the puns inspired by the maritime-themed Universal tentpole. Early reviews include "waterlogged" "script overboard!" and "not sea-worthy." Expect more "sinking ship" wisecracks, as "Battleship" releases in Europe and then docks stateside on May 18. So far it boasts a paltry 45% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Based on the Hasbro board game, "Battleship" is the first film since 1985's "Clue" that had to come up with a coherent narrative not intrinsic to its source. Peter Berg's movie stars Taylor Kitsch of "John Carter" fame --who has to hope that Oliver Stone delivers with "Savages"-- Alexander Skarsgard ("True Blood"), Liam Neeson ("The Grey") and singer Rihanna.

Guy Lodge, Variety:

Proportional strategy and luck are required to win Battleship, the family board game Peter Berg's loudly, proudly ridiculous soldiers-vs.-aliens blockbuster rather fancifully claims as its source… The attractive cast does no more than Berg and the script require, which is very little indeed.

Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist:

"Battleship" is exactly the kind of film you think it's going to be. "Battleship" is a $200 million blockbuster based on the board game "Battleship." …We think that even the brains-off crowd will struggle to find anything to enjoy here. The film is so overlong (130 minutes) and sluggishly paced that the heartbeat never gets raised, and the effects never look anything other than plasticky.

Rob Carnevale, List Film:

Berg's film is at its popcorn best while setting things up, both in terms of introducing Kitsch's likeable central character, and introducing the aliens themselves by way of a tense mid-ocean stand-off. But as the film progresses the tone veers wildly between gung-ho action, unintentional humour and shameless jingoism.

Simon Miraudo, Quickflix:

"Battleship" is an early contender for “eye-rollingest film of the year,” such as its unrelenting dumbness and occasional, jarring, unearned seriousness.

Matt Glasby, Total Film:

Misguided in the extreme. A scene in which Kitsch and co aim blindly for the broadest of targets – and miss by miles – proves painfully apt.

This article is related to: Liam Neeson, Taylor Kitsch, Reviews, Reviews, Action, Alexander Skarsgård

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.