The plot, such as it is, deserves as much of a cursory mention as the film gives it. Some years after NASA (foolishly) beams a message at a promising-looking extra-solar planet, aliens land in the Pacific and start laying siege to Hawaii. Because their own communications ship hit a satellite on entry and was destroyed, so they need the radio telescope arrays dotted atop O'ahu's peaks to summon the rest of the invasion fleet. Standing in their way are three (summarily despatched) destroyers, the battleship Missouri and a bucketful of cheese.
To say Battleship is a terrible film is like ticking the government front bench off for lack of real world experience. The effects stand in for the acting and the whole thing doesn't make sense. Of course, the
The big mystery is why Battleship was made at all. Well, apart from the obvious one. On a budget of $209m(!) it managed worldwide box office takings of $303m. Who cares if a film's rubbish if it brings in the dosh? Simply put, there is a ready market for unchallenging military romps with the razzle and dazzle of the latest special effects. On that score, Battleship does well. In a cinema the explosions and intricate alien technology would have been a spectacle. It also sits very firmly within the current climate of US culture. A declining global hegemon it might be, but its cultural anxieties are offset by a firm reliance on the capacity of the military to deal with any and every eventuality the world (or the universe) can throw at it.
Something else too. As noted in my Godzilla review, big monster/alien invasion movies are tributes to the US military. With the purview of its activity long having wound down from facing a potential existential threat in the USSR to what more or less constitute police actions in the Middle East and elsewhere, movies of this type are able to charge the military with the heroism, valour and hope that current operations do not allow for. Here as in Godzilla and countless others of their ilk, the tiny forces left to face off against the aliens put themselves in harms way almost recklessly. There's no hint of Vietnam Syndrome here - the men and women in uniform go to their inevitable deaths with iron hard square jaws.
Where Battleship differs from the crowd is traditionally the US navy loses out on box office love. What use is a destroyer when tripods are tearing up Boston? What contribution for ageing battleships against monsters indifferent to the comings and goings of marine craft? This film was clearly conceived and written to address that gap, to show they can be as meat-headed but as brave as any other arm of the US military. They can clear up the messes just as the airforce and infantry can.
Yes, an appalling movie by every measure. Still, at least Hasbro shifted a few new branded units off its back.