Once upon a time, the idea of a $200 million movie based on the board game Battleship would have been the stuff of late-night cynical jokes about “we know Hollywood’s absurd but no one could be that absurd.” But if life teaches us anything, it’s that the most unstoppable force known to humankind is our ever-escalating ridiculousness.
Yes, director Peter Berg got Universal to give him $200 million to make a movie of a board game. Yes, the kid from Friday Night Lights is playing the fastest person to become a lieutenant in the history of the military. And yes, Liam Neeson is in this for some reason (and no, the Liam Neeson cheat code will probably not work on this game).
Sure, there’ll probably be a special effects moment or two that kind of rules, and people fighting aliens is always good for a yuk, but $200 million? For a movie based on Battleship? Part of me is never going to be able to get past that, but another part of me remembers that Peter Berg has directed a couple not-half-bad movies in his day (whatever one’s feelings about Hancock, it was well-directed) and given all the toys one can buy for just under a quarter of a billion dollars, there’s a chance that this might transcend being this dumb and either be good, or at the very least dumb fun. Thoughts?