Once again, not everyone will be saying that director Peter Berg's action thriller Battleship is "a direct hit" because of the obvious pro-America and pro-capitalist message of the film: calling upon the deep, buried history of cinema, Battleship reminds us of where we have been so we know why we are going where we are (and it's not in the direction of socialism).Jaws & the Cleansing Of America, you remember that the monster shark Jaws symbolized American guilt over the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; you might also recall the bit regarding Godzilla, and how the United States' fears of Imperial Japan wrecking havoc on the world was mirrored when the Japanese created the monster Godzilla who symbolized for them the United States and the destruction we brought. However, there was also a conversion for Godzilla, and Battleship hasn't forgotten it. (Importantly, when we see the ships under water in the Pacific, we first see a large shark swimming around them).
|Alexander Skarsgard as Commander Stone Hopper, Alex's (Taylor Kitsch) brother who forced him to join the Navy after living on his couch for so long, Stone couldn't take it anymore. Why is their last name "Hopper?" Because the opportunities in America allow them to "hop" from one social class to another. While they didn't appear to have come from much, their devotion to the Navy has allowed them to "hop" from the bottom to the top (rather like in John Carter with John "jumping" from the bottom of society to the top). After he informs Alex that Alex will be discharged from the Navy when they return to Hawaii after the RIMPAC exercises, Alex tells him to call someone to work it out for him and Stone replies, "Who do I call to teach you humility?" an accurate critique on what can definitely be attributed to an American pride that does need to curtailed when it prevents us from effectively participating in international peace-keeping teams (we see the international team in Captain America and American cockiness in Thor). Yet it's Alex who survives the film, not Stone, and we know that whenever a character dies in a film, it's because that character is all ready dead and we have to understand what the film tries to communicate to us philosophically about that death. When the alien ship blasts out all the glass from the USS Sampson, and Stone gets blasted in the face, that's an important commentary on him, because glass symbolizes "reflection" and being able to understand what is happening; Stone doesn't understand the full gravity of the alien ships and the face he's lost (compared to Alex "losing face" when he's kicked in the soccer match, then fails to make the goal) Stone--who is steadfast and reliable like a "stone"--is also inflexible and unable to "make the goal" that will need to be made but Alex can, because Alex is named for Alexander the Great who can "cut through" the Gordian Knot of conflict and politics and the problems of defeating the goliath aliens. Proof that Alex invokes Alexander the Great? Both have a passion for Homer, and Alex completes the quote from The Odyssey, Book XII, Admiral Shane begins, "Keep the ship out of surf and spray," and Alex completes, "or before you know it, the ship will veer to the far side, and plunge us to destruction." Admiral Shane lets Alex know it disgusts him that Alex knows Homer that well, why? Because it's also a disgust with the way Fate favors those we don't really see as deserving favor. Without doubt, there are those who have many poor qualities, such as Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man) but who seem to get all the breaks. But like the Greek hero Odysseus, whom the film makes a point of quoting, Alex too must be broken before he can be fixed and fulfill the destiny that is his to fulfill. Why is this important for Americans? Because, ultimately, we, too, are called to fulfill a fate like Alex's, for we have been invaded by "undesirable aliens" and we have to rid our country of them, too (please see below for one more Alexander the Great comparison with Alex).|
|Why is Alex celebrating his 26th birthday? Because, 26 years ago, the United States Justice Department declared that Austrian President Kurt Waldheim was an "undesirable alien" on US soil because of his rise and work in Nazi Germany; just as in The Hunger Games linking the 74th Annual Games to Hitler starting World War II, so Battleship links the aliens attack to socialists through the historical reference of Kurt Waldheim (who became an international problem regarding his work for the Nazis) and Alex's crew initially thinking the alien attacks were coming from the state-owned economy of North Korea.|
Hong Kong is a leading financial center in the world because it is the greatest example of laissez-faire capitalism (free of intervention by the state) but only because of the 156 years Hong Kong spent as a British colony; had Hong Kong suffered the fate of the rest of China, it would not enjoy the economic prosperity it does (it was to Hong Kong that most fleeing the Communist Party fled), hence the reason for the aliens crashing into the Bank of China Tower: the Bank of China has been sited in the past for unfair favoritism in banking practices, which goes against the capitalist spirit of the country. The "alien bombs" striking the skyscraper and its crashing to the ground, people running away from the dust and debris clouds is a clear reminder of the devastation of 9/11 and puts the current attack by the "alien socialists" on par with the "alien jihadists" of 9/11. (This can be re-substantiated by the very next shot in the film: after the skyscraper falls, we see the Pentagon in the US, which was also a target of 9/11).
|At his birthday "party" with Stone, Alex has a dilemma: does he blow out his birthday candle and wish for Sam, who just walked in, or does he blow out the candle and wish for a job? He should wish for Sam: it's very important to note, there are not any gay military personnel in the film (if this were a pro-Obama film, like The Pirates! Band Of Misfits) there would be references to homosexual military personnel because of the Obama administration lifting the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy; Alex's desire for Sam also re-enforces traditional masculinity (as opposed to the issues being brought up in the new documentary Mansome) because he will be providing for her--wanting to be with Sam means he wants to "court" her properly, which implies a job and his own means, not his brother's couch or car--and that he asks her father, Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson) for Sam's hand in marriage; this "outdated" tradition, as Alex calls it, means that it's still being done today because marriage as an institution, and traditional marriage between a man and a woman, is still being practiced despite some considering it to be "outdated." These conscious decisions being made by the film makers undermines many aspects of regrettable "social digression" which has taken place in America since World War II.|
The RIMPAC naval exercises (Rim of the Pacific) are to take place and Alex is aboard the USS John Paul Jones, his brother Commander Stone Hopper is on the USS Sampson and Admiral Shane commands from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (the only ship upon its christening to be named for a president still living). The alien aircraft have landed close to Hawaii because that's where the signal sent by scientists have come from and they need to be able to send the signal back so they have made a protection field sealing off Hawaii from the outside world; the USS John Paul, USS Sampson and Japanese ship Myoko are the only ships within the protection field, being sealed off completely from the outside world, hence, it's up to those ships to save the world.
|A wonderful character presence in Battleship, Lt Colonel Mick Canales, retired, and a double-leg amputee. Sam is a physical therapist, and Mick has had great difficulty adjusting to being without his legs, which creates the situation of a fabulous Ronald Reagan film, King's Row, when Ronald Reagan's character has both his legs intentionally amputated by a bad doctor who wants to "keep him down," and Reagan responds, does he think I am my legs? And, in defiance, gets up and resolves to go on. Mick, on the other hand, lost his will when he lost his legs (because feet/legs symbolize our will and our "standing" in society) so when he and Sam have gone on a hike and encounter the aliens who have landed to use the communications satellite, he's found another war. Symbolically, however, Mick represents other ways the military has been "amputated" by the government, which I don't need to go into here,...|
John Paul Jones, who always intentionally sought out danger. Captain Jones' bravery and confidence in his and his crew's ability to to fight is the spiritual backbone of the US Navy, and what Battleship wants to remind Americans, of the US itself.
USS Missouri wears a N. Korea veteran's hat, meaning, he helped to fight against the spread of communism in the North Korean war (which could regrettably ignite again any moment). It was in the Korean War that "Mighty Mo" sailed against the communist threat, and it's precisely for that reason it's called a floating museum, a "museum ship," (well, it is a museum, too) but the Mighty Mo carries the history of the US and her cause with her everywhere she goes, including around Hawaii to destroy aliens sending the wrong signals.
|This is a great moment for RihannaSentimental Journey which coincided with the end of World War II and the returning home of US veterans. With this simple line, the purpose of World War II has been officially re-instated because, as Nick Fury says in The Avengers, "We are at war," and Battleship gives us one of our most important weapons to fight it: US history, and the cause of why we did what we did (regardless of the thesis of The Hunger Games) and how we can win that same war again.|
The Art Of War (a Chinese work) is finally understood by Alex and applied in the last battle sequence, "Fight the enemy where he is not," and through a cunning "fake out," Alex manages a sneak attack, winning the battle (please recall that all of RIMPAC is a "war game").
|Alien bombs (the round objects) coming in for an attack. The bombs seem to adhere to certain "rules" as well, only taking out certain portions of highways and not killing children playing baseball. |
But it certainly takes out our military.
Moneyball and the Great American Economy).
|Boarding the USS Missouri for her last battle with veterans standing ready to fight.|