Under the Radar

Revisiting 'Battleship' on Blu-ray


Battleship has just been released on Blu-ray and DVD, so now maybe let's separate the actual movie from the movie studio product that got flattened by The Avengers.

Our original review was positive and Battleship maybe even looks a little better a few months later if you watch the Blu-ray on a big TV if you're willing to forgive a couple of things.


The special effects in the battle scenes are really spectacular, state-of-the-art stuff and are worth waiting through some incredibly long sequences where the movie tries to make you care about Taylor Kitsch's character. Those parts are a lot like Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor movie, before he decided to throw character development out the window and embrace his destiny on the Transformers movies.

Battleship is the latest piece of Hollywood product promotes the idea that the last American warfighters worth a damn are the ones who got out before Vietnam. Massive alien invasion? Call the old guys because the modern Navy just doesn't have their stones.


The Blu-ray extras pay a lot of attention to director Peter Berg (best know for the Friday Night Lights movie). He gets his own documentary where he plays guitar for the actors, polices the craft services food tables and wanders around the set looking in desperate need of a nap. There's also a Pop-Up Video-style director's commentary, where you can watch the movie and have Peter pop up to give background and video demonstrations as to what was going on behind the scenes. It's a little exhausting to watch but probably way less exhausting than actually working for the guy.

Peter Berg also visits the USS Missouri for a VIP tour and does a pretty good job of teaching some history of the battleship alongside some "actual Navy veterans."


There's also a cast profiles documentary that includes some great stuff about retired Army Col. Greg Gadson's movie debut, a visual effects feature, a piece about the challenges of filming on open water and a doc about the military's role in making the film.

If you've got a big TV and a Blu-ray player, the transfer looks spectacular: it's definitely one of those movies you can use to show off a high-end home theater setup. The Combo Pack comes with both a digital download and an Ultraviolet streaming copy. Maybe the quality on the digital copies is getting a lot better but both the iTunes version I downloaded and the Ultraviolet stream look just about as good as the DVD. Blu-ray is definitely the way to go if you've got access.

Maybe the timing was bad for Battleship or maybe Hasbro is learning that you need more than a well-known brand to make a movie, that it's a good idea to have an actual background story to attract an audience. Battleship is a hell of a lot better than anyone could've imagined when it was first announced and a hell of a lot better than any movie that (allegedly) started production without a finished script has a right to be. Check it out.

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