Director Peter Berg is making his bid for A-level status (box office-wise) this summer with an adaptation of the Hasbro game Battleship. That, by the way, is a complete misuse of the term ‘adaptation’ seeing as the game has zero story elements to adapt. Maybe if the movie featured naval combatants going head to head and controlled by unseen forces? Or if the aliens were manipulating ships to fight each other? I don’t know, I’m just spit-balling here, but you can see how difficult it would be to make a good movie from the game.

So why do it?

Obviously Universal is hoping to find the same success with Hasbro that Paramount has with their Transformers movies, but it’s still so nonsensical. The Battleship name offers no recognizable pull for audiences. These aren’t fighting robots that viewers have seen in action previously on TV or via toys in their hands…this is a board game with no moving pieces. The film could exist exactly as is under a different name and would end up with the exact same box office results.

Check out the new ad below.

Berg has made some good films (The Rundown, Friday Night Lights) and one great one (The Kingdom), but my expectations are still pretty low for his latest. Part of it stems from the sheer stupidity of linking this (or any movie) to a game like Battleship.

But my biggest issue here is the film’s obvious attempt to emulate Bay’s Transformers movies. The giant, bladed balls of metallic mayhem? The modulated robotic sounds? The vapid-looking cast of people erroneously referred to as “actors”?

And if the “battle for Earth begins at sea” why does more than half of the ad’s action take place on land? Did they just spoil the fact that the aliens defeat the Navy and move their forces inland? Or is the marketing department just phoning it in…

Battleship opens May 18th.

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