We Humans are the Bad Guys in the New Movie “Battleship”

I took my wife out to see a movie.  Each week, for over 27 years, we try to have one or more date nights or things to do once per week.  We both expected to Battleship to be a mindless action film, even more mindless than most.  Afterward, I found it was loosely based on the board game with pegs from the 70s, which is good or I would not have gone to see it.  The trailers for the movie also bothered me because it looks like a battle with naval battleships, which any dimestore military person can tell you no longer exist, and have not since one was briefly out of mothballs for the first gulf war as a bombardment vessel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT – Don’t Read if You Don’t Want to Know What Happens.

However, there is MUCH more to this movie, probably more than the casual viewer will notice.   First, the bad parts.  You have Liam Neeson who is now competing with Ben Kingsley and Nicholas Cage for one time great actors who simply cannot turn down a part in any movie.  I think the three will score a thousand movies each during their lifetime.  Then there is Brooklyn Decker, who serves virtually no purpose in the film except as the girlfriend/admiral daughter.  But what she really does is just provide eye candy to the point of distraction.  Aliens attacking explosions….flowers, Brooklyn Decker smiling, walking…explosions…  Like that.  She is way to pretty not to simply cut away the rest.  Which comes to another sad point – the pointless use of Rhianna.  Other than some up close camera shots of her amazing eyes, they let Brooklyn Decker take Rhianna out of the film essentially.  The plot between the brothers and the general knowledge of naval command and training is sickening.

Now for the interesting point.  We are the bad guys.  That’s right.  The more I watched, I realized we were the bad guys.  NASA sends this signal out to random planets that might have life.  One answers by sending out five ship, one of which is for communications that accidentally crashes into a satellite and is lost (yes, aliens get across the universe but can’t miss a 50 foot long satellite…)

So, just like the American military would, the remaining ships land in the water, throw up a defensive perimeter, and try to re-establish communications.  They do this right in the middle of our big war games.  So what do we do to communicate?  We send out three people in a rubber dinghy with a vulcan gatling cannon.  First, we pulse a warning claxon.  The aliens do the same, but theirs is too loud and causes minor damage.  So, naturally, they must mean that as an attack?  So, the people in the dinghy make one effort in English.  “Who are you, identify yourself, we are from a warship?”  Pause for five seconds.  Then they board, training their weapons on them.

The aliens respond by rising up out of the water.  So maybe they do want to talk but don’t know how?  Oh no, we fire a shot at them.  Again as a warning…  A warning against what, moving, communicating?  From then on, and throughout the entire movie, we attack the aliens.  The aliens however, have strict instructions not to fire on non-threats and civilians.  They won’t even fire at a warship next to them unless it is actively pointing its weapons at them and shooting them.  Several times they leave off a fight when a person in disarmed.  They literally let humans walk around them as long as they are not attacked.

Out of three ships caught in their perimeter, they only destroy the two that attack them.  (This is where the game comes in.  They fire things that look like the red pegs from the game.  At another point, we see a battleship like board, where each side tries to “find” the other and attack them, using sono boy points.  Otherwise, forget the game.)  In one scene, a nearly human looking alien is fished out of the water.  As the humans force open its protective suit, causing it distress and it starts to die, they look like they are going to torture it for information.  A squad of its friends blasts in, takes it, and leaves, killing no one.  Simply rescuing their friend.  No man left behind.

So, what are the aliens trying to do?  We don’t really know.  The only activity they initiate is to try to use our own equipment that we signaled them with to re-establish communications with home, since they lost their com ship.  We of course think this is hostile.  “The only reason they would communicate is to bring in more ships and attack us.”  But wait – didn’t the movie start with us using that equipment to send them a message?  Using that logic, should they think we did it to send an invasion fleet?

So, the aliens who came all this way to answer our invitation signal, and were so careful never to fire unless fired upon first, why were they here?  We never find out, because we kill all the aliens and celebrate.

I really don’t know if they meant it to be that way or not.  It certainly shows the stupidity of the rules of engagement we have in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the aliens acted more like US Navy and Marines than our humans did.  I felt like the scene from Quentin Taratino’s movie, Inglorious Bastards, where we are disgusted at the Germans for cheering a movie glorifying the slaughter of Americans, while the audience cheers a movie that shows the slaughter of Germans by Americans.

Is Battleship also supposed to show us that about ourselves, or was it an accident?

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12 Comments

Filed under Humor and Observations

12 responses to “We Humans are the Bad Guys in the New Movie “Battleship”

  1. Penny Bradley

    Once in a while, Hollywood actually makes ya think.

    Like

  2. Ken

    [Late to seeing this movie but a friend sent me this review of yours]

    I can understand the Aliens attack after the warning shot, they didn’t understand what it was and thought it was an attack that simply missed but lets not forget the spinning balls of destruction going on and destroying and surely killing people driving on the highway. Gee those people in those cars on that highway were sure a threat to those innocent Aliens right? What is better, is that not once did you mention those spheres in your little review.. I know they didn’t kill that kid in the baseball field but you’ll have to be a fool to think the destruction they caused afterward and before was out of self-defense..

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    • The spheres attacked the military base with the helicopters and took out the major transportation and communication hubs. The same thing we do when we are attacked by an enemy. The few casualties we would call collateral damage.

      If they wanted the aliens to be evil, they should have written it a lot better. But why did the ball stop at the kid? Why did they not attack people just walking by? They had some parameter that if you were not a combatant, they would not fire on you.

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  3. Carlos de la Orden

    Also the “foot soldiers” aliens only weapons was more a victory nox multiple tools knife than a true weapon. They never use a gun, so they actually looked as engineers. And the spheres could have been an excavator than a true weapon.

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  4. Are you all forgetting the scene when they take the aliens helmet off, and when it makes eye contact with Hopper, he gets a vision of earths destruction and probable enslavement of humanity? He then says we will need a new planet if the aliens succeed. I’m all for an interesting twist like humans being the baddies but look at the big picture, this is a B movie and your looking too deeply into it, and I mean no offense by that.

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    • Michael Bradley

      Oh, I don’t think they intended it to be anything but a big budget picture with eye candy. I think the screen writers blew it in so many ways. The biggest being that much of the movie makes us look like the bad guys. Just poorly written all around.

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    • Bill Shields

      How about the aliens are a precursor to a mass invasion but they are sent with a priority to pretend to be peaceful and responding to our invitation while learning about our actual defenses and setting us up for the other ships to arrive later. They probably know we have nuclear weapons and I do not think the force field would have worked against nuclear weapons. The communications ship was probably a lead ship with translators and their leaders. But then their communications ship is destroyed (I agree that hitting the satellite was a simplistic way to write that into the plot) and after that they believe they are being attacked and they respond where necessary. They have orders to engage only in self defense as there number one priority is to make it seem like they are peaceful. There is also the psychology of war and the inevitable and possible bad decisions made by anyone in combat – even aliens. Some of them try to abide by this rule and some don’t. They do know that they have to communicate and that becomes priority one. We fired first and that still is an insight into humanity – shoot first and think second. In this case it may have been the right move.

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      • Michael Bradley

        I don’t disagree with you. I just think that the movie producers/writers/directors did not think through the rules of engagement for humans or aliens. As a former military man, the movie clearly makes us the aggressors. The aliens really act like a survey team, not a scout team. For one, a scout team stays stealthy. If they are a precursor for major invasion, they would either bring a lot less equipment, or bring a lot more to establish a foothold. There only plan is to build an up-link? I agree the aliens could have been up to no good, but in order to cheer on our human ‘defenders’ they certainly did not do a good job showing they had evil intent.

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  5. Chris

    I don’t think that was earth in the vision. I think it was their home planet and the last image before getting cut off was them leaving a civil war as their planet was being nuked. They’re militant refugees in my opinion. And in response to your final question, I think it was deliberately written that way and perhaps the Hoeber brothers saw it as either a joke that no one noticed or more likely producers wanted to sell copies of the game and wanted to have a purist story for anyone wanting to play the Alien faction. Was there a board came that came out with it? Might be interesting to see if they included any Bios in the set.

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  6. Comp

    One big point to add is that the aliens clearly didn’t have military weapons. No personal sidearms (Some just have a knife, and they had to slowly switch through multiple tools on their arm to get to it.) They have nothing that shoots straight (no guns of any type), so they can’t hit anything moving faster than a boat. No guided explosives (like the tomahawks that destroy them). They have the ability to create an enormous force field, but no equipment to create a much smaller field around their ships (which could easily protect them and drain much less power). A similar “field” could also easily be shot straight like a canon. They certainly had the technology for weapons. They just didn’t have any.

    Their defenses were clearly re-purposed from some other function. The guided wheels were clearly meant for burrowing. Their mortars could only hit things in a fixed position, and they dug in before exploding. These are tools for mining. They would be perfect for it. The force field covers an enormous area, which is exactly what you need to protect a mining operation in an asteroid field or meteor shower. And those 3 things (wheels, mortars, force field) were the only things they had to protect themselves.

    Added to the other things mentioned above, there is no way this could’ve been a military force, even a scouting party. They didn’t act like one, and were completely unequipped for it.

    (Just saw this movie on TV the other day and started searching the internet for this.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael Bradley

      Thank you. As former military myself, I became uncomfortable the more I watched it with just how peaceful they were compared to us. I am glad to see you noticed the same type of things that I did.

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  7. Rickie

    Man will never change. He’s a warmongering being that will enslave any form of life if given the chance. God help ET if we ever come across him.

    Like

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