Battleship- A lesson in poor storytelling and great story telling at the same time

Hubbs just came home with “Battleship”. Yeah, he’s always good at picking out a nice romantic move for me. Bring on the explosions! Oh Yeah!

Anyway… I did not have high hopes for this movie because it was not in the theaters long… so let’s dissect why.

This movie is about aliens coming down to Earth and trying to blow everything up. For that part … well done. Excellent special effects and awesome aliens and ship designs.

But a story needs more than that, right? Characters and plot and people to root for.

Well, this movie had all that, so I was wondering half way through why I wasn’t enjoying it. Then Hubbs said, “I’m not really worried about any of these characters. I just don’t care.”

You know what? He was right.

However, at the end of the movie, a bunch of characters came in that were beautifully introduced at the very beginning of the movie, and all of the sudden you had someone to root for.

This is a horrible movie, with a great ending.

So what’d they do wrong? Let’s discuss.

Main character: We didn’t like him. Not in any shape or form. They tried to give him a “nice side” by having him break the law to get a girl a burrito so she will talk to him (don’t ask) but it just didn’t work.

The next problem is: right after this happens, the story swishes ahead years later, and he and that girl are going to get married. Huh? How’d that happen? We missed out on all that part of the story, so we were never engaged in their relationship. We didn’t feel any emotion or worry about either of them when they were in trouble because we never felt emotion between them. Make sense?

Next problem: I have no problem with a tramp troupe beautiful woman when it works. Transformers, for instance. (The first one… I try to forget the others were ever made) The troupe pretty girl worked there. In Battleship, they force-fed the beautiful girl in there that just didn’t need to be there for the story…and then they out of the blue made her a psychiatrist or something so she could be one of the secondary hero’s doctors to give her a place in the story, where the secondary hero could have done it himself. Sorry, didn’t work for me.

Poor choice of main character.

You will understand this if you’ve seen the end. The guys at the end would have been much better main characters. The end was awesome. What a testimony to retired armed forces, and good old fashioned building materials. Right?

We were on our feet, we were cheering. Oh wait, sit down, cutting back to the dumb bimbo again. Okay, back up on our feet! We’re back with the other guys!

The people at the end, to me, were the heroes… Good old fashioned heroes. These were the guys I wanted to see.

Get rid of the troupe hunky main character – especially one as unlikable as him

Get rid of the senseless bimbo factor, unless she really has a role other than driving a car and running in a poorly fit bra.

Keep the secondary hero that has a REASON for having a bad attitude. Yeah, I like the soldier without any legs. I understood why he was a jerk in the beginning. I wanted him to win. I was rooting for him.

Keep the guys at the end. (I can’t tell you who or it will be a spoiler)

Yeah, the movie would have been shorter if they’d done this, but the first half before the aliens got there was boring and pointless anyway.

I want to see a movie with the unexpected heroes at the end. People up against incredible odds, that you really and truly WANT to root for. They totally rocked!

Would I recommend this movie? Yes, totally. Awesome action… but with the exception of the end (which was great)… look at it as a learning experience about how to NOT write a story.

And yes… I’m going back to take a quick peek at a character that my betas have been saying is a little unlikable. I understand what they mean, now.

Oh!–Don’t forget that J Taylor Publishing is giving away five copies of the Make Believe anthology. Hop on over if you’d like a chance at a copy! http://www.jtaylorpublishing.com/blog/?p=1125

9 responses to “Battleship- A lesson in poor storytelling and great story telling at the same time

  1. writerwendyreid

    As soon as I heard that Rihanna doesn’t get naked even once in this movie. That, in itself, was enough for me not to be interested,

  2. Thanks for the summary. Why is it that American action movies insist breasts on legs? Dumb question I guess. Man, man, man. Also, what is it with the aliens coming to blow up the earth? Falling Skies, V, Iron Sky, Men in Black III, and on and on. Any theories?

  3. Yes, although I love action movies, this one didn’t really do it for me. And the dialogue was cheesy. Even my son left the theater saying, “That dialogue was horrible.” (Jeez, do you think his mother’s a writer?)

    As soon as the burrito/crime thing happened–which was so dorky and unrealistic–I knew I was headed for trouble. But we watched the whole thing, because we were in the theater, and there’s no sense to let good popcorn and loud noises go to waste. :)

  4. Great wrap up! Just like I felt with Avatar. 10 minutes in I was squirming to leave and didnt care about any of the characters. All stereotypes with a 2nd rate plot and 2-dimensional characters. Was painful to sit thru but we did have a sitter after all. Night out! It was all special effects and nothing else. Like a giant comic book. You said it here “But a story needs more than that, right? Characters and plot and people to root for.” And that’s what makes all the difference. I wont be seeing Battleship, thats for sure! :)

  5. I really enjoyed the movie. In fact, I’ve watched it several times. Is it an Oscar winning film? Nah, but enjoyable just the same. I did like the MC and loved his interaction with Liam Neeson. I also felt a lot for the MC when the events with his brother unfolded, and I understood the MC’s reaction. I’ve read books that were like this…good, enjoyable reads but nothing to hit the best-seller list. I think that’s what they were aiming for here. Lots of action (loved the alien’s weapons), and loved the ending. It’s certainly not another Independence Day, but it wasn’t a flop, either. I’d give it 3 stars.

  6. Is this the film with Rhianna in it, or am I thinking of something else? It doesn’t feel like my sort of book, but I understand what you mean about the pretty girl being there for the sake of being there. It’s such a cliche way to try and attract a male audience.