BATTLESHIP – The Blu Review
There was little love for Peter Berg’s waterlogged BATTLESHIP earlier this year. I like big dumb fun as much as the next guy, but BATTLESHIP was too big, too dumb, and not nearly enough fun. The aliens vs. military epic might have thrilled a few hyperactive 10-year-olds but the script was too dopey and action far too turgid to achieve anything resembling campy humor so the film died a quick and expensive box-office death. That said, BATTLESHIP makes for one spectacular-looking Blu-ray and Universal, perhaps to atone for making such a crappy movie, have loaded it with a boatload of fantastic extras that actually makes the darn thing worth buying.
Despite the dismal reception BATTLESHIP received, the Blu-ray gets high marks for the “wow” factor. The transfer is an eye-popping 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer, as flawless as they come. Contrast is spot-on, black levels are always deep, and skin tones are accurate. Often the amazing quality presented on this type of Blu-ray really points out how fake a lot of the digitized backgrounds are, but that’s not the case here. Even if you hate the movie, you gotta admit this disc is a visual knock-out from beginning to end.
The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track on this disc is almost as impressive as the video presentation. BATTLESHIP is a nonstop action extravaganza flick, and the audio represents that well. I don’t think there was a single time that I felt as if I wasn’t in the middle of the action. Subtle environmental sound effects could be heard if and when the movie ever took a second to breathe, but it’s the audio in the big action sequences that was practically trying to punch my man-cave in its face. I’d consider this to be demo-worthy material if you want to show how impressive your system can sound to your friends.
Alternate Ending Previsualization
Director Peter Berg introduces an 8-minute alternate ending that he compares to BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (I didn’t get the connection). It’s not fully rendered, making it difficult to judge whether it’s stronger than the theatrically ending or not. Nice bonus though.
The Visual Effects of BATTLESHIP
From ground-breaking water-simulation programs to cutting-edge motion capture. This 12-minute featurette shows how the wizards at ILM brought this adventure to life with some nice artwork designs, footage at various stages and comments about working with water. This was a great extra and I wish it had been longer but it also served as a frustrating reminder one just how much time and technology serviced such a lame script.
All Access with Peter Berg
One can watch BATTLESHIP occasionally interrupted by a Picture-in-Picture of director Peter Berg who point out some background information about certain scenes, complete with interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, production tidbits, and breakaway sessions with Berg. A little window at the bottom right corner pops up with footage of stunt choreography or a few comments on the science behind the plot. Very hi-tech and a nice way to watch the film that’s not as distracting as it might have been for a better movie.
USS Missouri VIP Tour
A 20-miute tour with director Berg, Michael Carr (President of the USS Missouri Memorial Association), and Reginald H. Johnson (USS Missouri Senior Tour Guide) that take viewers on a tour of the Missouri, provide an overview of its history, and explore places on the ship most visitors aren’t able to see. This is a fantastic extra where viewers can hear stories about the great ship meet the real-life Navy vets who served on it.
6 minutes of the cast and crew praising the director and his work on the set. Self-serving but Berg does come off as a nice guy who exudes a lot of energy and good will.
Second Screen Experience
A second, more interactive experience is available via your tablet or PC after downloading the pocket BLU app and syncing it with your playback of the film. In synchronization with the movie, you can experience features such as: 3D models of the aliens to view at various angles, the All Access with director Berg mentioned previously, and Flick View, a new way to interact with the movie to compare storyboards and other content. Since I don’t own a tablet, I wasn’t able to judge this feature, but it sounds cool!
The revolutionary way for consumers to collect movies and store them in the cloud and instantly stream and download to computers, tablets, and smartphones. This is so consumers can enjoy their movies anytime, but I’ll stick with my 50-inch plasma for now.
Viewers can redeem a digital version of BATTLESHIP from a choice of retails partners to watch in an array of electronics and portable devices (iPad, iTouch, etc)
Poket Blu App
This is for smartphones and results in advanced remote control so the viewer can navigate through menus, playback and BD-Live functions with ease
Preparing for Battle
A look at the Battleship board game with the filmmakers, the use of the game mechanics and pieces in the film, and the challenges of adapting a board game as a feature film.
All Hands on Deck
A 12 –minute look at the cast with various comments on the story, stunts and working with Berg as well as the other actors.
Engage in Battle
The cast and crew share their experiences shooting aboard the various ships
Also included is a DVD version of BATTLESHIP. It’s missing most of the extras except for those last three.
Unlike the movie itself, Universal’s Blu-ray release of BATTLESHIP doesn’t disappoint. Its mind-blowing visual presentation, deafening audio track, and generous supplemental package will give fans of hi-tech filmmaking and technology their money’s worth.
The BATTLESHIP Blu-ray combo pack will be released August 28th