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Posted at 04:59 PM ET, 05/18/2012

‘Battleship’: 10 things that make it a classic American blockbuster


Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker and American patriotism star in “Battleship.” (Universal Pictures - AP)

I must confess that I was very skeptical about the movie “Battleship.”

The trailers made it look like a loud, stupid and potentially deafening exercise in idiocy.

I had already seen Taylor Kitsch this year in a movie officially deemed a sleep aid by the American Medical Association, and feared this could be another.

I was also worried that “Battleship” would subject me to the sight of Landry Clarke murdering an alien, then trying to work through the consequences with Tyra.

But “Battleship” did not turn out to be or do any of those things. Well, okay, it was loud and, at times, kind of stupid. But it was loud and kind of stupid in a really good way, a way that makes a person feel viscerally (if not intellectually) proud to be an American.

I seriously don’t understand what’s going on with the nay-saying critics responsible for its pathetic 35 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m with my Post colleague Michael O’Sullivan on this one, who calls “Battleship” “an invigorating blast of cinematic adrenaline.”

I’ll even go a step further. As entertaining as “The Avengers” was, I’d say that “Battleship” is the most thoroughly American big-budget movie of the summer, at least so far. Here are 10 things that make it a classic “U-S-A, U-S-A” flick.

1. Stuff blows up real good. Like, really good.


( ILM/Universal Pictures)

Normally I’m not all that impressed by big explosions. During your typical Michael Bay movie, I usually yawn my way through the action sequences. To me, those sequences often come across as the work of a boy who bragged that he could score some awesome fireworks, just got his hands on them and really wants to make some noise so that stupid kid Brandon will finally shut up about how great he is at Minecraft.

In “Battleship,” director Peter Berg and crew create destruction scenes that have real impact, largely because of the devastation caused by these spherical buggers called shredders. In the words of Chippendale Joey Lawrence, “Whoa.” (See how I tied the whole blog together just then?)

2. AC/DC music is played really loudly at climactic moments.

Worked in “Iron Man,” works in “Battleship.”

3. It’s a blockbuster in the Simpson/Bruckheimer tradition.

There is actually a scene in which Liam Neeson, dressed in pressed Navy whites, yells at Taylor Kitsch, also dressed in pressed Navy whites, and pretty much tells him that if he screws up again, he’ll be “flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog [expletive] out of Hong Kong.”

Fine, Neeson didn’t say that. James Tolkan did in “Top Gun.” But I could tell his character was thinking it.


(Frank Masi)
4. “Battleship” pays homage to the military.

In addition to casting actual wounded veteran Greg Gadson as one of its heroes, the movie features vets who fought on a real battleship — the USS Missouri, also in the film — during World War II. That authenticity makes the ridiculousness of the alien battle actually have some semi-hokey but undeniably emotional resonance.

5. Americans refuse to take crap from extra-terrestrials.

As they did in “Independence Day” and “War of the Worlds,” U.S. citizens prove that they really know how to come together when beings from another planet show up. Unless those beings are benevolent, like in “E.T.” In that case, the U.S. government will nearly kill the alien then try to withhold his body from a little boy so an autopsy can be performed. But let’s not talk about that right now.

6. “Battleship” celebrates the U.S.’s capacity for diplomacy.


(ILM/Universal Pictures)

Japanese and American characters who don’t necessarily like each other find a way to work together. And they do so off the coast of Hawaii, not far from Pearl Harbor. If that’s not a teaching moment for some AP U.S. history class, I don’t know what is.

7. The hot guy gets the girl who initially plays hard to get.

Do you really think Brooklyn Decker could resist Tim Riggins?

8. A really smart Jeff Goldblum-esque character provides comic relief.

In “Battleship,” he is played by Hamish Linklater. But you may recall this Jeff Goldblum-esque character from movies like “Jurassic Park” and “Independence Day,” where that character was played by Jeff Goldblum.

9. It’s a movie whose very title is a product tie-in.

A product that sells another product — this, right here, is what makes corporate America great. Fine, I’m being sarcastic. But only a little, because that’s how much “Battleship” made be believe in the red, white and blue.

10. Tons of massively improbable stuff happens but it doesn’t matter that it’s improbable because it’s awesome.

Who cares that everyone on Earth probably would have died two minutes after the aliens showed up given the power of their ammunition? This movie has veterans! And Tim Riggins and Landry Clarke! And also, weirdly, Turtle from “Entourage”! Oh yeah, and even weirder: Perd Hapley from “Parks and Recreation” in another role as a newscaster!

And did I mention the shredders? Because those things are a-may-zing.

Whatever, just stop doubting me and go see it. If you don’t, the extra-terrestrial terrorists win.

By  |  04:59 PM ET, 05/18/2012

Categories:  Movies | Tags:  Summer Movies

 
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