When it was first announced that Universal and director Peter Berg planned to adapt Hasbro’s Battleship to film, many wondered how they could possibly construct a compelling narrative around a game based on reading letter-number combinations and sticking pegs into holes. The answer: Throw $200 million at it, toss some aliens in there, and hope that the desire to see Friday Night Lights’ Taylor Kitsch and True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard in uniform is enough to attract the key female demographic—that, or the curiosity factor of seeing Rihanna in her feature debut.
Unfortunately, the latter isn’t sated by this just-released trailer, which mostly sticks to setting up the dynamic between Kitsch’s rebellious soldier—his nonconformity telegraphed by the rock ‘n’ roll song on the soundtrack—and Kitsch’s commander and would-be father-in-law Liam Neeson, who approves of Kitsch’s romancing of his daughter (Brooklyn Decker) about as much as he approves of Kitsch’s rock ’n’ roll rebelliousness, which is to say not at all, mister. Then out of nowhere—in a parallel to the real-life brainstorming sessions for a Battleship movie—giant space aliens attack, and it’s all hands on deck for the standard operating alien invasion procedure seen in every other would-be blockbuster of late. About the only recognizable connection to the Battleship game are the aliens' peg-shaped bombs that insert themselves in a neatly spaced array. Presumably Neeson screaming, “You sunk my battleship!” is being saved for the actual movie.