When it was announced that Peter Berg would be directing a feature version of Battleship a few months ago, everyone laughed and scoffed and noted how unbelievably boneheaded the idea was. A movie based on a (boring) board game where nothing really happens? Brilliant!
Last month, more fuel was added to the fire when Latino Review reported that the villains in Battleship would be … aliens. Well, because, of course where adaptations of board games are involved, aliens are obviously going to be the villains. When they remake Clue (currently in development), it won’t be the butler. Or the maid. It’ll be the alien! Candyland? The alien. Simon Says — you guessed it. Simon’s the fucking alien.
Anyway, once folks learned of this, there was a new round of laughter and mirth, and Universal had a huge public relations disaster on its hand: It’s sinking (ha! *groan*) a hundred million dollars plus into a film that already had the deck (double ha! *groan* ) stacked against it, audience perception wise. A board game movie with aliens? Nobody is gonna pay to see that. Right?
So, what’s a studio to do in order to turn that perception around quick and on the cheap?
Oh, I know! I know! Pick me! Pick me!
Fly a few movie bloggers out on a private jet and let them tour a naval destroyer, of course. Oh, and make sure to sit them with Peter Berg on the trip home so he can answer all their burning Battleship questions. In other words, use the movie bloggers as their own PR arm for the movie.
And it worked, too. By Wednesday, the interwebs were burning up with new details about the movie, the name of the alien race (The Regents), and even a comparison of the aliens’ intentions on Earth to something similar to A Bridge on the River Kwai. That’s right, folks: Peter Berg has put A Bridge on the River Kwai in the same conversation as The Battleship Movie. And apparently, the alien ships are sophisticated enough to get to Earth, but once they land in the water, they’re stuck in the water.
Because of course they are.
Moreover, to make the movie more like the game, The Regents will somehow render the Navy’s high tech equipment inoperable, so they’ll basically be fighting the aliens blind. Just like we do at home (on the electronic version, cause the one without the cool sounds is plain ole’ ass). But here’s the best part: Berg is “adamant” that someone will say, “You sank my battleship!” in the movie.
Well, there you go, folks. Someone will say, “You sank my battleship!” A line from a bad ’80s commercial. You’re all on board now, right? Amped as hell, huh? Lining up to get your tickets?!
If so, then Universal has done their job: They played a couple of movie bloggers and finally got some positive coverage. And all it took was a flight on a private jet and a tour of a Naval vessel, where I understand there’s even a McDonalds. I hope Universal super-sized those combos.