"Battleship" is getting shelled by critics, who are calling the $220 million board game adaptation a loud and joyless exercise in blockbuster filmmaking.
The action film hits theaters this weekend and faces a threat greater than a horde of Kamikazes. That would be "The Avengers," a remarkably resilient box office phenomenon, now in its third week of release.
"Battleship" hopefully wasn't counting on critical raves to help it enlist audiences. It received a limpid 36 percent "fresh" rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Peter Berg's naval adventure did have a few admirers, including TheWrap's own Alonso Duralde. Well, maybe not admirers, but at least they weren't detractors.
"This thing lasts 131 minutes but almost never drags, and there’s something to be said for keeping this much baloney aloft for that long," Duralde wrote. "Like the bulky and unwieldy vessel for which it’s named, “Battleship” is both indefensible and unassailable."
Clearly not enjoying the ride was New York Post critic Kyle Smith, who compared the film and its cocksure star Taylor Kitsch to a Tom Cruise rah-rah classic from the 1980s, only to find it lacking.
"It makes 'Top Gun' look like the work of Orson Welles," Smith wrote. "At least the Tom Cruise movie remembered to cast actual actors."
Also feeling seasick was Slate's Dana Stevens, who declared that "Battleship" softens viewers' brain tissue, it's so stupifying.
"You know how, even in a terrible movie, there’ll often be one subplot or performance that you find yourself looking forward to during the dull parts?" Stevens wrote. "This film offers no such respite. Every storyline, from the ne’er-do-well Navy lieutenant who suddenly finds himself in charge of defending his ship from aliens to the physical therapist scaling a mountain with her double-amputee client, is equally worthy of dread."
Also read: How 'Battleship' Enlisted the Navy
Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan is also not clearing off any space on his 10 best list for "Battleship. Turan said the film was "ordinary" and "pedestrian," a lot of sound and fury signifying… you guessed it.
"If 'Scrabble: The Movie' or 'Qwirkle or Death' appears on a future marquee, don't say you weren't warned," Turan writes.
One fan in a sea of haters was Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum, who hailed Berg for crafting a stirring salute to the U.S. Navy.
"The surprise, for this veteran of board games, is that 'Battleship' is also the rousing, engaging, and emotionally complex action war picture the silly 2001 action war picture 'Pearl Harbor' only wished it could be," Schwarzbaum wrote. "It's 'Pearl Harbor' with greater intelligence, less hokum, and more aliens."