Tag Archives: Taylor Kitsch

Grizzly Review: Battleship

When bloggers first got word of a film based on the popular game “Battleship”, an eruption of laughter seated deeply within the orifices of the blogosphere was cast out into the sky. There were storms and hurricanes and tsunamis; people around the world were affected by the tragedy. I’ll admit that I participated in the royal beheading regarding the mere idea of this film. Coupled with the awful first trailer and I was set to avoid this film at all costs.

Just the idea of a film based on a simplistic board game is enough to make any critic gag with disgust. But, you know, time goes on, the laughter dies down, and things change. So when I finally got around to seeing Battleship, I was fresh off the disappointment of The Avengers, so pretty much anything this film had to offer couldn’t be more of a let down than that. Within Battleship‘s first ten minutes, I was engaged, I was cracking up, and I was ready to go along for the ride, promptly leaving my brain at the door.

Battleship follows Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), a slacker who lives on the couch of his brother, Commander Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgard) of the US Navy. After a tazer filled run in with the law, Stone leads his brother down a new direction. Fast forward seven years, Alex is now referred to as Lieutenant Alex Hopper of the United States Navy. In a serious relationship with his beautiful girlfriend, Sam (Brooklyn Decker), Alex plans to ask her father, Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson), for her hand in marriage. But Hopper will find out that surviving Sam’s father will be the least of his problems.

During an annual Naval war game, five extra terrestrial air crafts crash into the ocean, startling the fleet of ships currently occupying those waters. Hopper goes to identify the ships, bringing along trigger-happy Petty Officer Cora “Weps” Raikes (Rihanna) and Chief Petty Officer Walter “The Beast” Lynch (John Tui). Hopper touches the ship which turns it back on, causing it to lift itself out of the water and into the air. Further startled by this, the sailors back on the destroyer ships proceed to attack the unidentifiable spaceship that seems to be posing a threat. What ensues is a battle for the safety of Earth that will forever change the world.

Back on land, Sam, who works as a physical therapist for injured veterans, is taking a hike with her newest patient, a legless officer who is still adjusting to his condition. Up there, they run into Cal Zapata (Hamish Linklater), a scientist who worked with NASA to send out signals to an extrasolar planet with conditions similar to the Earth. Back when the signal was first sent out in 2005, Zapata claimed that the arrival of another life-form would be akin to Christopher Columbus and the Indians, only we would be the Indians.

The only way to ensure that alien reinforcements don’t make it to Earth is to destroy the satellite where the first signal was sent out. They have until 8:43 AM the following morning to do so, and if they fail, there could be upward of 500,000 UFOs invading Earth and all of its inhabitants.

From its first minute, Battleship differentiates itself from other similarly plotted films with its engaging characters, rather ingenious script, and breathtaking direction by cult filmmaker Peter Berg. Most people know Berg for his “blockbusters with brains” approach to big-budget filmmaking, and let me assure in saying that Battleship is no exception. Despite the shit-blows-up approach to the preview, the film has a lot more to say than one would originally think.

Berg’s decidedly anti-war film is actually a twist on an overly patriotic genre that shoves the importance of the military down the throat of its viewers. Instead, Berg forces the viewers to question the actions of the “invaders” of Earth. When analyzed from another perspective, one could make the argument that they were actually the good guys. The first major point to be made is that we, the humans, invited them, the aliens. We got a response, and what do we do? Attack.

Secondly, why do you think the aliens landed in the ocean in the first place? They could have just as easily landed on actual Earth and saved themselves a trip to land. I theorize that it’s because they didn’t want to harm any of the humans living on Earth. The simplistic weaponry used by the aliens is, in fact, not weaponry at all; it’s mining equipment. Yeah, I said it, mining equipment. It’s explained in the film that there’s only one periodic element that they can recognize which was in their fuel. So why mining equipment?

Well, for starters, they probably only had enough fuel to get themselves to Earth, but not back home. I don’t know if you know, but intergalactic space travel probably eats up a lot of gasoline. The mining equipment was so the aliens could mine out the element used in their gasoline so that they could get home. Am I making sense yet? Also, not to spoil anything, but during the battle scenes, the aliens have quite the moral complex, only attacking anything or anyone that poses an immediate threat to their safety. Misinterpreted as an attack, it was actually the humans that took the first shot.

At face value, Battleship is a mindless action movie that does nothing but aesthetically please anything that comes its way. But viewers who are willing to put in the effort will find a Peter Berg-ified blockbuster that has something to say. Furthermore, in the “cool stuff taht goes boom” department, the film delivers. I can guarantee you that Battleship is the only film that has an 80-year-old man that says, “Let’s drop some lead on these motherf***ers!”. But with that, the film never loses its sense of humanity. For that, Battleship is enjoyable on almost every level. From the gorgeous visuals to the engaging subtext, Battleship is the year’s first, and hopefully not last, intellectual action film.

4/5 Bears

Trailer Roundup: Safety Not Guaranteed, On The Road, House at the End of the Street & More!

Continue reading Trailer Roundup: Safety Not Guaranteed, On The Road, House at the End of the Street & More!

Grizzly Review: John Carter

After all of the buzz surrounding the budget of John Carter, the aggressive marketing campaign leading up to it’s release and the many clips released by Disney, was it all worth it? In my opinion, yes. John Carter was a fully realized world filled with a group of characters brought to life by a very well rounded out cast of actors. I had thought the movie would appeal to a much wider audience, but after watching the movie it’s obvious that a lot of kids would be lost upon many of the story points. Or they would just not care and want to see more of the four armed Thark aliens and John Carter’s faithful pet Woola.

On the planet Mars, known to it’s inhabitants as Barsoom, the residents of the mobile city Zodanga threaten to overrun and conquer the world after gifted with the use of an ultimate weapon provided by the mysterious Therns. The only people left to oppose them on Barsoom are the noble people of Helium (Not the stuff you put in balloons.) led by Jeddak Tardos Mors (Ciarin Hinds), the father of the beautiful princess of Helium known as Dejah Thoris. That’s the first piece of the story, while the seconds lies in the form of former Confederate cavalry man John Carter. After practically stumbling upon a Thern in a cave, John Carter is transported via the Thern’s medallion to the world of Barsoom where he will play an integral part in it’s fate and that of the princess Dejah Thoris.

The first 15-20 minutes of the movie introduce us to the character of John Carter and the life he now leads on Earth. He is obviously a bit of a haunted man, which is alluded to throughout the movie and at one point shown to us in a spectacular battle scene where John Carter takes on a horde of green martians that is interspersed with flashbacks to his past on Earth. As I said before, the movie was a bit bigger on story than I thought but still had a great mix of action in between all of that. The story was a bit more intricate than just a marriage between the Princess and the Zodangan leader Sab Than (Played by Dominic West) but involves the Therns as the main threat, and not only limited to Barsoom. I won’t spoil anything in the review, so just go see the movie!

The special effects and motion capture were of course beautifully done in the film. The Tharks and John Carter’s initial interactions with them were interesting and actually pretty damn funny. Willem Dafoe’s Tars Tharkas mistakenly thinking John Carter’s name is Virginia had me laughing more than once. The world of Barsoom was beautifully realized on screen even in the scenes in the desert wastelands. Helium and Zodanga were both unique in their own way and I can’t wait to see more of the planet’s many locales explored if they do indeed have a sequel to the movie. It’s definitely left open to one by the movie’s end, but done so in a way where if they don’t have one there is still some closure.

I found Taylor Kitsch to be reasonably likeable in the film. He showed that he could definitely be a decent leading man in a movie, and he’ll have a shot to do it once again in Battleship this summer. Almost overshadowing him in my opinion was Lynn Collins, who played the role of Dejah Thoris perfectly. I was thankful she wasn’t going to play the princess who is constantly kidnapped and held hostage. Though not invincible, Dejah can definitely hold her own with a sword. I really think that the warrior woman thing is overdone in film, but I didn’t have a problem with it in this movie. John Carter, though seemingly invincible in the movie also had his moments of weakness as he was immobilized at one point by the Thern Matai Shang, played by Mark Strong. The chemistry between Kitsch and Collins was working in the movie as well, which makes me hope we can see it develop more in a sequel. This goes without even mentioning how hot Lynn Collins looked in the film… give me a martian girl anytime. (Not a Thark though.) Also give me Lynn Collins in more movies besides another Wolverine movie.

Overall I give the movie 4 out of 5 Tharks. The movie kept me interested but did have a bit of a lull towards the middle part. Even though Dominic West and Mark Strong did a fine job of playing the villains of the story, I’d have preferred they were in it just a little more in scenes directly with John Carter. I truly hope the movie makes enough to justify a sequel, because now that they’ve got the story and many characters pretty much established the sequel could jump right into things instead of spending any time on Earth. (Pay attention Green Lantern sequel.) The movie is totally worth the price of a theater ticket, though you may as well stay away from the 3D like I did. No movie is truly worth a 15 dollar ticket.

“Ohhhh baby – Youu, you got what I neeeeed, but you say he’s just a friend. Wait, what are we doing?”

10 Minutes of Disney’s ‘John Carter’!

Disney is not messing around with it’s final big marketing push for their blockbuster hopeful John Carter, because now they’ve made what appears to be the first ten minutes of the sci-fi action flick available for all to see! Just don’t be expecting to see anything taking place on Mars or even a glimpse of any type of alien. But I have to say the creepy voice over at the end is worth it at the end. He made me very uncomfortable:

Not too shabby in my opinion. I think after seeing almost 20 minutes of the movie via various clips that have been released and all of the positive reviews thus far that John Carter is almost guaranteed to be a damn good movie not only for fans of the sci-fi genre, but even the casual movie goer as well. Disney is banking a lot on this high budget flick to spawn into a franchise and it definitely has a shot if it can draw out the moviegoers even with current box office champ The Lorax only going into it’s second weekend. The Lorax made $70 Million plus this weekend and is sure to still snag the family audiences away from John Carter and it’s PG 13 rating. Best of luck to him and all those four armed green fellas though!

Four Minute ‘John Carter’ Clip – v.s. the White Apes of Mars!

I swear I’m not being paid to promote this movie, but seriously it is shaping up to be pretty damned awesome as is evidenced by the following clip which shows John Carter in action against some crazy looking beasts in an alien gladiatorial arena that is reminiscent of the Geonosian arena on Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones (John Carter came first though):

This movie just looks better and better every time I see a new trailer or clip from it. The visual landscapes are beautiful and the CG aliens and spaceships as good as anything to come out of Star Wars and Avatar. It remains to be seen if the story and acting are up to snuff, but it looks to me from the many glimpses of the movie that it will fare just fine.

Not to mention Michael Giancchino’s score seems absolutely brilliant during the presented scene. This guy is well on his way to becoming the next John Williams who is by far my favorite composer in regards to movie soundtracks. Giancchino has been able to capture the spirit of pretty much every project he has worked on since his days as the Lost composer, none more so thus far than 2009’s Stark Trek which had one of the most invigorating soundtracks I’ve heard in almost the last ten years. I can’t wait until March 9th to see this movie!