Mr. Board was bored watching a movie based on a board game. Although I think it’s false to keep stating in reviews and press releases that this is based on the Hasboro game. It’s an alien invasion film with battleships. Other than missiles shaped similar to the game pieces, this has nothing to do with the game; unless my memory from playing it with my brother 30 years ago is wrong. We’d merely yell out “F8,” and we’d hear “hit” or “miss.”
This movie is a miss.
When the scientist played by Hamish Linklater (so great in last years underrated The Future), starts the movie by telling us that trying to communicate with aliens might end up like when Christopher Columbus discovered America, but “we’re the Indians”…I wondered if I had heard that in another film. It then occurred to me that this entire film is formulaic and ridiculous. There’s not a single piece of dialogue I found remotely interesting or original. There’s an older brother lecturing the younger screw up. There’s the dilemma of going to speak to the mean dad, to ask for his daughters hand in marriage. There’s the soldier that feels worthless after losing his legs.
I won’t even get into all the unrealistic crap, like how a guy breaks into a 7-11 and is arrested. He tries to sober up in a bathtub filled with ice the next day and his brother yells at him “You’re joining the Navy with me!”
Really? They don’t do background checks? Oh, and…you go from being a felon to being an officer. Man, things have gotten a lot easier than the days where Lou Gossett Jr. punched you and made you do push-ups for nine weeks.
Those two brothers are played by Taylor Kitsch (John Carter) and Alexander Skarsgard (Straw Dogs). This will make the women happy, as they’re both good looking dudes. Now, I would prefer seeing Alexander’s dad Stellan Skarsgard (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). Instead, it’s Stellan’s lookalike Liam Neeson as the admiral. I wondered what happened to Neeson. It’s been at least two weeks since I last saw him in a movie.
There’s a soccer game in this that’s ridiculous. There’s a scene near the end with a bunch of old timers that’s ridiculous. I’m guessing the movie goers that rush out for anything with explosions will love all of that.
Oh, and remember how fun it was when the alien ship was communicating with Earth in Close Encounters of the Third Kind? In this, it’s a horn that’s a lot louder than our battleships and breaks windows. They also have better weapons – huge metal balls that roll over everything, destroying everything they roll over (unless you have a heartbeat, which I’m not sure I understand, since having the bridge collapse will probably kill lots of people with beating hearts).
And will they stop making scenes where a guy in a bar watches the news? Anybody that’s ever been in that situation is always furious that the jukebox or DJ is so loud you can’t hear the story they’re showing on the TV.
I never thought I’d say this about a movie, but…I wish Michael Bay would’ve directed this over Peter Berg.
If Hollywood is so hard-up for movie ideas they are doing board games (Clue gets a pass), I’ll be waiting for the Coen Brothers to tackle Monopoly, and Tim Burton to give us Candyland.
This movie gets 1 star out of 5, for putting Tom Morello and The Black Keys on the soundtrack, and having some good CGI stuff. One of the sinking ships did look kind of cool.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times