Berg: Aliens of ‘Battleship’ Inspired by ‘District 9’

By  · Published on December 3rd, 2009

As some struggle to recreate the invasion in a bottle from District 9, others seem to be drawing the right conclusion from the success of the film – a lesson that the gritty reality of something as beyond the imagination as an alien invasion is now acceptable and entertaining to audiences.

The real cultural resonance of the film is that its style of science fiction is a-okay around these parts (“these parts” being the box office), and that fact doesn’t seem lost on Peter Berg as he plans to take the helm of Battleship.

With the internet moving things along faster than ever, apparently studios are now doing press junkets for films that haven’t even started filming yet. Hopefully, by this time next year, I’ll be interviewing iconic directors while they’re still in elementary school. When that day arrives, we’ll have Universal to thank for starting the trend by inviting several members of the press onto a real-life battleship for a Battleship junket to dispel a lot of rumors that are apparently floating around.

I haven’t seen any, unless “What? Giant red pylons are going to fall from the sky onto littoral vessels to sink them?” counts as one. But apparently rumor, intrigue and mass confusion surrounds a film that barely anyone is talking about.

Until now. Because Universal successfully got both Drew from Hitfix (who wrote an intensely in-depth look at Berg’s concepts for the film) and Devin from CHUD (who wrote an in intensely in-depth look at the inner workings of a….battleship…and accidentally posted his piece on his film website instead of The History Channel website) onto the big boat for a big damned tour!

Amongst the revelations?

My initial thought? Thank GOD he’s keeping the alien aspect that was so central to the board game that I remember as a kid.

But seriously, even with this information, it’s sounding like my earlier prognostication that the film would either have to be 1) a straight adaptation that wasn’t cinematical in anyway or 2) an In Name Only adaptation where it’s essentially a naval war movie stamped with a Hasbro label was on the right track.

Fortunately, they’ve chosen the second option (or B-9, as I call it), but come on. It’s not like Hasbro invented the battleship or the navy or oceanic theaters of war. Nods to the game? There were two pieces in it: plastic ships and red plastic stick things that I was too busy trying to shove into a Lite Brite to understand why my brother was yelling “F-7!” at me. What else could they possibly be nodding at?

Still, I have to give credit to Berg for sounding credible and intelligent about his vision for the film. The money quote about aliens here:

They have a very specific agenda and that agenda is not global domination, but that agenda puts them into conflict with members of our Navy. And their technology is relatable. It’s not incredibly far out and unbeatable. It’s not incomprehensible. Hopefully it will make for a very fun and intense ride.”

So there’s that realistic element shining through, and I have to say that if the movie had to have aliens, I think it’s a great direction to take by presenting them as a realistic threat instead of an over-the-top one.

I just. Man, I just really don’t know about this thing. I feel like with a press junket, Universal is now daring us to have an opinion on a movie that hasn’t even come close to shooting yet, and frankly I just don’t care about it at all. The only reason I have for my apathy is the sheer audacity of it. They are making a movie about battleships. Great. I’m excited. But claiming that it’s going to be based on a game that was as minimal as calling out alphanumeric codes and moving a small piece of plastic is like making an epic about the history of colonialism in Hawaii and claiming the film is “Based on Dole Fruit Cocktail with Extra Cherries.”

At least color me skeptical.

What do you think?

Related Topics:

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector [email protected] | Writing short stories at Adventitious.