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You Sank My Movie!

BATTLESHIP (2012) Director: Peter Berg  Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Rhianna, and Liam Neeson Rating: PG-13 for explosions, profanity, evil space aliens, swimsuit models and singers trying to act.

Gather round kids! Ol’ Grandpa Tom is going to tell you a painfully boring story!

When I was a fresh faced grade school lad growing up in suburban New Jersey, there was very little to do. Before the Atari 2600 Video Game System came along and introduced children to the heart stopping thrills of Yars Revenge, the only way to entertain oneself was either playing outside with that kid down the street who always picked his nose or staying inside and playing board games.

Board games had instructions to read, rules to be followed, and plastic pieces that always slid under the couch when you got frustrated and violently knocked the game off the table. Then Mom would send you to your room where you watched blurry Gilligan’s Island reruns on a 13 inch black and white TV set with a coat hanger antenna and a missing channel knob.

To sum up, being a kid in the late 70’s sucked ass. Big time.

One board game that every kid in the burbs owned was Battleship. For reasons unknown, Universal Pictures took this classic strategy game and made it into a big action movie extravaganza, also named Battleship. Again, I’m not sure why they did this. Maybe the script for Hungry Hungry Hippos: The Movie wasn’t ready yet? That’s my theory.

Battleship opens with the discovery of an Earth-like planet in a nearby galaxy. Using a high tech communications facility in Hawaii, NASA beams a powerful signal to “Planet G,” a signal which hopefully contains a message of universal peace, and not tracks from the new Ke$ha album.

A few years later, NASA craps their pants as five huge mean alien ships come to Earth and land in the Pacific Ocean. Actually, four ships land in the Pacific ocean and the fifth one crashes into downtown Hong Kong, proving that even an advanced species from another planet can mistake the gas pedal for the brake.

But don’t worry Earthlings! It just so happens the United States Navy and dozens of other fighting ships from around the world are conducting naval drills in the Pacific Ocean when the aliens arrive!  On second thought, worry a lot because the alien ships erect a giant energy dome around Hawaii, leaving 97% of the fleet commanded by Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson in a glorified cameo) on the outside looking in.  Things get really ugly when two of the three warships on the inside of the dome are quickly turned into scrap by the ferocious space aliens who wield weapons straight out of the Transformer movies and look like they bought their armored space suits at Tony Stark’s yard sale.

Only the USS John Paul Jones is left to battle the alien menace. Unfortunately, with the executive officers dead, the Destroyer is now commanded by Lt. Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), a cocky maverick on the verge of a discharge who is about as fit to wear a Navy uniform as Tom Arnold in McHale’s Navy. Can Hopper screw his stuff together long enough to defeat the heavily armed aliens who want to use the communications array in Hawaii to call their home planet, leading to a full scale invasion that will turn Earth into Planet G’s vacation home?

And more importantly, why was swimsuit model Booklyn Decker cast in this movie?

Ah. Never mind.

Even though it wasn’t the huge moneymaking blockbuster Universal Pictures wanted it to be and the critics unanimously panned it, truth be told, this ol’ grandpa of a critic kinda liked Battleship.

It’s big, loud, and dumb; which is the way I like my blockbuster movies.

And my women. But that’s a story for when you’re older.

So if you like big loud dumb movies loaded with explosions, hard charged fighting men and women kicking some alien butt, and buxom models turned actresses wearing tiny shirts, you can’t go wrong with Battleship. Heck, I’ll even go so far as to say that out of all the movies based on classic games, Battleship is the best hands down.

Yeah, I’m talking to you Super Mario Brothers. You will take your shame to your grave.

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Mars Needs Pants!

John Carter (2012) Director: Andrew Stanton  Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Defoe, Mark Strong  Rating: PG-13 for sci fi violence and hunky shirtless guys doing stuff…

Hey everybody!

It’s Tom, your DVD Critics Corner pal. You’re looking well. How’s the family? Good.

The summer is drawing to a close, and that means the kids will soon be returning to school for another fun filled year of getting up early and sitting in a classroom. Since sitting in a classroom means taking tons of tests, I thought it would be a hoot if we took a pop quiz featuring questions based on the latest movie I watched – the Disney sci fi adventure John Carter!

So take out a piece of paper and a number two pencil and we’ll get started. Eyes on your own papers please. Lousy cheaters.

Let’s begin!

1. Tom watched the John Carter DVD because:

A) He enjoys sci-fi and fantasy films.

B) Critics and audiences disliked the movie when it was released earlier this year, so Tom wanted to see for himself if the negative reviews were justified.

C) He couldn’t find his copy of Treasure Buddies.

2. Taylor Kitsch:

A) Plays the title character John Carter, a former civil war soldier turned intergalactic adventurer.

B) Also starred in Battleship, another box office bomb released earlier this year.

C) Should stop using a magic eight ball to help him pick what movies to star in.

3. When John Carter is sucked through an intergalactic portal to Mars he:

A) Discovers he can jump very high because of the planet’s low gravity.

B) Becomes entangled in a centuries old war between two Martian empires.

C) Realizes that pants and shirts are for squares!

D) All of the above.

4. Carter encounters giant warriors known as Tharks who:

A) Have four arms, green skin, and a proud heritage.

B) Are wary of the strange humanoid from another planet, but eventually befriend him.

C) Hate the blue guys from Avatar because they were in a popular movie.

5. Lynn Collins plays Dejah Thoris of the kingdom of Helium:

A) A strong willed Princess who wants her people to live in peace.

B) Who convinces John Carter to fight for a just cause.

C) A chick who buys her clothes from the Xena Warrior Princess collection.

6. While Tom watched John Carter he learned: 

A) The movie is based on a series of books written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who also created Tarzan.

B) The John Carter books have been around for nearly a century, and movie studios have been trying for decades to bring the story to the big screen.

C) The jar of salsa he consumed while watching the movie was in the fridge since Bush was in office, and he should have his stomach pumped immediately.

7. To sum up, Disney’s John Carter:

A) Is full of exciting action sequences and impressive special effects.

B) Was a noble effort by Andrew Stanton and Disney, but a disappointment.

C) Makes you wonder how an entire civilization built massive walking cities and solar powered flying machines, yet never got around to inventing pants.

Send your answers to DVD Critics Corner and your test score will be mailed back to you somewhere between 3 weeks and never. Most likely never.