Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Would Two Tickets For... Do?: "Battleship"


Andrew: Hello readers! Personally I'm very excited about today's post because it is the first entry of a new column Sarah and I are going to start writing called "What Would Two Tickets For... Do?" (or WWTTFD?) The basic idea is that every now and then we'll see a movie in theatres, on DVD or on TV and we talk about what we didn't like about it, or what didn't work for us, etc. And sometimes we'll talk about what we would have done differently or what we think the film-makers should have done differently that would have made the movie better (in our opinion, of course).
So this column is essentially going to be taking a look at one movie and what Sarah and I think should have been done differently to make it better. A simple premise, no? It's not meant to be holier-than-thou, of course, just a simple exercise in looking at what could have been done differently in a film to make it a bit better. SPOILER ALERT: DON’T READ THESE COLUMNS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE WE TALK ABOUT AND DON’T WANT ANYTHING TO BE SPOILED. We are writing these under the impression that if you’re reading it, dear reader, then you know what we’re talking about because you’ve seen the film, too.
Sarah, for our first WWTTFD? column we are going to talk about a recent blockbuster that's received a very tepid response for many reasons - Universal and Hasbro's Battleship. (Read our 1.5/5 review of it HERE)
Sarah: Ooo this promises to be a fun column! Yes, as many of you know, we were not a huge fan of this movie, me in particular because of the whole "game as a movie" thing, but I have to say the whole idea might be growing on me a bit. Now, I will give the good people at Universal and Hasbro credit for taking a game that really didn't have much to go on in the first place and try to develop a movie around it, but we here at Two Tickets For... think they went about it the wrong way. Why aliens? Why not keep it to the original game of ship vs. ship?
A: That's exactly the first thing I would have changed if I were involved in the making of this movie. I get that their rationale was probably something like this, "Hey, Transformers has made us a boatload of money, let's make this one look exactly like a Transformers movie!" But that's not good rationale. People went to see those films because they were already big fans of the Transformers and wanted to see it on the big screen, and Michael Bay is a master at making big, stupid action tent-poles.
So the first thing to do is get rid of the aliens altogether. I don't see why they couldn't have set the movie in the mid-1900's during a time when the United States might still have need for actual battleships, and make the story about a fictional World War III or something, and make it more of a character story revolving around Taylor Kitsch's Alex Hopper and how he has to mature in a time of war. (They sort of did, but it involved aliens, so.......yeah.)
"What are we doing in a movie about battleships?"
I mean, they already make very heavy-handed allusions to the old tensions between the USA and Japan throughout the film, why not just cut to the core of it and make it about a war between the two again? Just anything other than aliens, and if you’re going to include aliens, give us a reason why they came in the first place.
S: Yeah, and make it so that the audience actually cares what happens to Alex. Make it so that when he loses his brother, the audience is shocked and really feels for the loss of him and his crew. If you’re gonna keep the aliens, turn them into a real-life threat.
This could have been a whole new take on a World War or the Cold War. If you get rid of the aliens, bring in Liam Neeson in a bigger role. He has such a small role in this movie, and it really is a shame. Making him a bigger part of the movie could really bring some of that character developoment back to the film. I would love to see him get a chance to see Alex grow and mature into the perfect man for his daughter.
A: That's a good point on Neeson's Admiral Shane. Director Peter Berg and the screenwriters Erich and Jon Hoeber make a critical mistake in leaving him out of the action for most of the movie. You're absolutely right that they should have had Neeson and Kitsch's characters on the same boat in the middle of the action and had more of a bonding experience. Honestly, they probably could have done completely without Alexander Skarsgard's Stone Hopper and focused more on Neeson. I was far more interested in Alex’s troubles trying to man up and ask Admiral Shane for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
WWTTFD? We'd make it so that Liam Neeson has a MUCH bigger role in Battleship
There's also a small part of me that says they miscast Kitsch in this film, mainly because there's just something about him that does not scream LEADING MAN, but he fit in better here than he did in John Carter. Much like John Carter, if we recasted Alex Hopper, I think it should have gone to someone like Jake Gyllenhaal or Chris Pine. In fact, we’ve seen a better version of Battleship with this exact story of a hot-headed, immature member of the armed forces grow into a leader with Pine in Star Trek. I want to say Rihanna was miscast (because she was) but because we would have set this film in the past, her character would probably have to be male anyways.
S: The last thing that I would say could be different was to put Brooklyn Decker's character in greater peril. Yes, I know it borderlines on the cheesy and predictable, but she's the heroine of the story and should be treated as such.
So, readers, what did you think of our changes? We don't want this to be another movie review on a movie we have already reviewed, but a fun way to look at the movie in a "what if?" fashion. We would love to get your feedback on this new column! Good or bad.
Photo Courtesies: zap2it, We Believe In Aliens

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