At The Movies



Directed by: Peter Berg. Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Liam Neeson. Cert: 12A.

When we were kids, a friend of mine owned the Battleship board game, and I recall that he tried to teach me how to play one time, but I wasn’t really interested. The game requires a certain amount of strategic thinking, and I rejected it on the grounds that if you have to think too much, it isn’t really a game. If I had known there were aliens involved, I might have been more keen.

But my friend never told me about the aliens. And he never told me about the aliens because there were no aliens. Not until Hasbro got into the movie business, and decided that if their toys can make a bazillion box office bucks on franchise trash like GI Joe and Transformers, well hey, why not start pimping out the board games as well?

All you need is a good story, some valid reason for a bunch of naval destroyers to show off their muscles on the highs seas, saving the world by blasting some dastardly enemy to the bottom of the ocean.

Only snag is, nobody really does that stuff anymore, not on a large superpower scale anyway. You could reignite to Cold War and let the Americans and Russians go at it, but then you’d have to get all boring and political. Or you could fantasize about a massive US/Iranian/Israeli conflict and bring all the hot action into the Persian Gulf. But the guys in Washington are already working on that one.

Hmmmm, what to do, what to do? Wait…wait. Aliens! Of course! It will be a cross between Independence Day, Transformers and Top Gun, with added water! As Admiral Nelson said at Trafalgar, “What could possibly go wrong?”

Lucky for the old sea dog, he doesn’t have to sit through Battleship, and perhaps conclude that there are worse things than a surprise bullet.The aliens come to Earth when scientists discover a new planet and extend a cordial invitation to its residents. The visiting party crash land in the Pacific and emerge from the sea near Hawaii. Unfortunately for them, there’s a US naval base nearby and the boys on the battleships are unaware of the new developments in intergalactic relations.