We’re going to kick off this week by getting up close and personal with big, bold, bonkers Battleship, the latest in a long line of awesome blockbuster.co.uk exclusives. After which, we’re going gothic with Poe-faced thriller The Raven, then we’ll get down with our fairy tale selves as Mirror Mirror arrives to keep the kids happy this summer. Read on!
Barmy is not a word I use too often, but in the case of Battleship, a no-holds-barred nautical actioner bizarrely based on the turn-based guessing game of the same name, it seems to fit. A larger-than-life tale of alien invasion with a similar look and feel to Michael Bay’s Transformers trilogy – a predictable outcome considering both properties are owned by Hasbro – it’s mental in the best way.
Often good for the right reasons, sometimes fun for the wrong reasons, by-and-large it’s a grandly foolish romp. Exciting, fun and sometimes even funny with a colourful cast whose ability to keep a straight face deserves applause. Set your expectations to Silly Season and you will not be disappointed.
Fresh from his turn as interstellar western hero John Carter, Taylor Kitsch takes the lead as irrepressible slacker Alex Hopper, a charming screw-up whose buttoned-down elder brother, as played by the cool yet goofy-looking Alexander Skarsgård, insists he straighten up, sail straight and join the navy. A year or so later, Alex is on the verge of being drummed out of said fighting force for behaving like a young Captain Kirk, when an ‘Extinction Level Event’ occurs that, after slaughtering most sensible navy-types, gives our hot-headed survivor the chance to step up, save the world, impress the girl (Brooklyn Decker) and prove himself to the girl’s dad, his boss, Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson, in a role that amounts to little more than a featured cameo).
As for the details of the aforementioned ‘Extinction Level Event’, blame NASA. It was their egg-headed scientists who, in a deluded bid to reach out to new life and new civilisations, caught the interest of aggressive extra-terrestrials who, like the villains in a first-person sci fi shooter game, immediately rocket to Earth to kill us all. As this movie is based on Hasbro’s Battleship, the plot conspires to keep most everyone stranded at sea for the duration, including co-star Rihanna, surprisingly not incredibly annoying as a kick-ass navy shooter.
Though hopelessly outclassed by the E.T.’s tech, our human heroes survive for longer than five minutes because a movie has to last longer than that. To stretch it out then, and to give humanity a fighting chance, the aliens are written quite dumb. Also, they can’t stand sunlight, which is why they should have invaded England rather than Hawaii, but then, what do aliens know? Turns out, not much, and so the playing field is levelled for an effects-heavy battle that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, much like a real war.
Though I would have liked to hear someone say, “You sunk my battleship!”, I kind of respect director Peter Berg for avoiding that one. Someone does say, late in the proceedings, “They ain’t gonna sink this battleship!”, which was enough for me. Also there’s a crazy scene where Battleship-like co-ordinates are utilised, much as they are in the game, in an attempt to bomb and sink the enemy. I have to say though, it was really well done.
Obviously this is ridiculous stuff, but honestly it knows it, and tries so hard to keep us amused and thrilled, it sneaked past my defences, torpedoed my doubts and buoyed my spirits considerably. Rent it now on Blu-ray and DVD, in store and online, exclusively from blockbuster.co.uk.
Also on Release…
A fanciful, period thriller from V For Vendetta director James McTeigue, The Raven stars John Cusack as gothic horror author Edgar Allan Poe, enlisted by a detective (Luke Evans) to halt a serial killer inspired by his darkest imaginings. Think Sleepy Hollow via Se7en via From Hell via Time After Time, and you’re on the right track. Darkly atmospheric with spurting blood, bursts of great excitement, a twisted sense of humour and the lovely Alice Eve. Buy or rent it now on Blu-ray and DVD, in store and online from blockbuster.co.uk.
The first of this year’s two Snow White movies, Mirror Mirror is as visually extravagant as you’d expect from Immortals director Tarsem Singh, a knowing modern take on the beloved fairytale with bandit dwarves and a kick ass heroine. A comedy adventure co-starring Lily Collins as Snow, Armie Hammer as her brave but goofy prince and wise-cracking evil Queen Julia Roberts, it’s lots of fun for the little ones with plenty for their grown ups to enjoy as well. Buy or rent it now on Blu-ray and DVD, in store and online from blockbuster.co.uk.
From the monstrous mind of 30 Days of Night creator Steve Niles comes Remains, a gory, ghastly, nasty, zany zombie flick focusing on a handful of human survivors holed up in a casino… Finally this week, Airborne is an engaging end-of-the-worlder set aboard a plane where the pilots are only the first to die. Co-starring geek god Mark Hamill, Julian Glover and Billy Murray it’s bruising, bloody fun. Rent both of these now on DVD, in store and online from blockbuster.co.uk.