Sunday, May 13, 2012

You Sunk My Battleship!

I was walking along and all of a sudden I saw a poster for Battleship. I had heard about it and seen the posters before, of course, but this was the first time it really hit me: there is a movie coming out based on the game Battleship. I’ll admit, this complete revelation came out of nowhere, walloped me a good one, knocked me on my ass, and, just to make sure it really sunk in, hit me with a lead pipe. As I lifted my bruised self from the pavement under the watchful eye of the Battleship-Revelation, it finally sunk in that this was really happening. On May 18, Battleship will be in theatres and my only question is: Why?
Near the Wilshire/Vermont station

So what I got from watching this trailer is that aliens hid in the ocean because they could. And then they attack, because why not? Then we fight back… with boats. Yeah, that was pretty much what I got from it.

Who knows? Maybe it will be a great movie with a great plotline and not just some thin shadow with a bunch of special effects that is desperately trying to capture the audiences’ sense of nostalgia by forcing it into the ill-fitting frame of a board game.

I will admit now – I’m not a huge movie person. The last two movies I saw in theatres were Hunger Games a few weeks ago and The Muppets back in November. Both were movies I knew I would enjoy. Hunger Games because of the books and Muppets because of all the memories that tied to them. I also admit that I’m not super-snobby about movies. I’m not lamenting how everything is a sequel, a remake, or filled with FX instead of plot. What I am saying is that maybe not everything needs to be made into a movie.

Time to switch gears to the videogame industry and the crash in 1983 Follow me, trust me, I’m getting to a point. Anyone play ET on the Atari and think this is what caused the videogame crash? It wasn’t the cause, merely a symptom. ET was like the achy shoulder in a much, much larger flu. Basically anything was being made into a game. It wasn’t just Atari making games, they had little control over their systems and pretty much anyone could make a game for their system and did. Also a lot of games were being rushed into completion.

With the videogame market being inundated with so many low-quality games that were just made to be made, the game industry in the U.S. sank for a while. Now lets get back to the movies and my point. My thought is that, in some ways, I can see the movie industry paralleling the gaming industry of the 1983. It’s expensive to go to the movies but most of us are a fairly forgiving audience…up to a point. Battleship feels like a movie being made simply to be made and it almost feels that this may be the beginning of the inundation of movies made to be made.

Please let this one be made before the crash  Source


  1. I can see your point however we've been battling with unoriginal material for movies for ages now. Come on... remember Josie and the Pussycats? And many movie scripts begin as original stories and then rebranded for a franchise (Of course all my sources are cracked

    THAT said, there is one original movie out, Pirates Band of Misfits, that is worth a see. And I will pay money to see a movie based off Hungry Hungry Hippos.

    1. Admittedly, you're right, but even those were based on something that had characters. And whether something was original and got rebranded or not, it still got rebranded. My point is that while many movies that are rehashings of tv shows, movies, or cartoons, those were still scraping the bottom of the barrel while turning a game that really had no characters is beyond scraping the bottom of the barrel and to the point of taking the barrel apart to search for the dregs lingering between the cracks. At least Hungry, Hungry Hippos had hippos which you can kinda care about. Battleship's main characters were battleships, which you couldn't afford to get too attached to since most of them were going to get sunk.

  2. It's not the source of the film idea that is important, but the execution of the film itself. Terrible films may stem from great books and excellent films from mediocre books; bad films are lensed by directors with undeservedly great reputations while unknown directors produce sparkling gems; and even board games can be the jump-off point for terrible films (Clue) and excellent films (Battleship). To decry the source of a film (good or bad) is akin to denouncing penicillin because it comes from mould, or a book because the author got the idea while sitting on the toilet. In the case of "Battleship," the game accounted for about five minutes of the film; the rest of it was a great alien invasion film. The lack of characters and plot in the actual game forced the filmmakers reach deep into their creativity -- contrast that with the game "Clue" which has oodles of characters and resulted in a film best forgotten, along with "Super Mario Brothers" and "Dungeons & Dragons"...there is a very real danger in taking a fully formed concept and saying "film the game." The advantage afforded the filmmakers by "Battleship" is that the game offered nothing more than the targeting system, which was worked into the plot very cleverly; and, actually, the same could be said of "Real Steel" (Rock-em Sock-em Robots).

    And, yes, Hungry Hungry Hippos would make for a great film, an ecological disaster/alien invasion/love story of the first water. "There can be only one,,,pray that it is Pink."