Monday, February 18, 2013


I finally got around to watching Battleship the other day.  I really like naval stuff in general, but everything I heard told me to stay away from this one.  But it's been on HBO on-demand, so I thought, "What the hell, I'll give it a look."  One word: Terribad.

That movie makes no sense.  In that the people in the movie don't do things for reasons.  Also the aliens have to be the most incompetent bad guy aliens in the history of cinema.  And I'm including this movie in the equation. Honestly they make no sense.

They come to earth, maybe-maybe-not from a nearby planet earth has been sending signals to, and crash their communications ship.  And they crash it by running into a dinky satellite.  Invading alien warship taken out by random space junk.  Now, random space junk can do some damage if you are traveling at relativistic speeds.  But dealing with running into random things when traveling at relativistic speeds is the first thing you need to figure out how to deal with when building a ship to travel at relativistic speeds.  I interned at a research lab where 60% of what they did was shoot frozen turkeys at airplane parts to make sure they could withstand the impact.  You'd think a species that managed interstellar travel where at least that smart.

But it's OK, because the aliens conveniently land near a communication system that they can use to phone home.  Which must have been where they where going anyway since they made no terminal course corrections.  On the other hand whenever we see this system used, it shoots some type of energy beam into space at what looks to be sub-light velocity.  So I guess the aliens are cool with waiting 150 years for their backup to arrive.

It's not clear whether the aliens are there to conquer the planet or not.  If I was going to take over a planet, and I had a supply line of over 100 light years, I'd want to come with overwhelming force.  Especially if I didn't know my enemies capabilities.  I guess they could have been a scouting force.  Yeah, again that only makes sense if they are fairly incompetent.  The aliens also bounce between having a Predator style don't kill civilians code of conduct and generic kill em all evilness.  Further muddying their motivations.

Their weapons are also impractical. One is a non-guided mortar-style weapon similar to an old Hedgehog anti-submarine rocket.  It seems to have a pretty short range with no terminal guidance, and would be a terrible weapon for a spaceship.   The weapon depends on gravity to hit its target.  It wouldn't work in space.  Another is a spinning buzz-saw thing that's massively more effective.  To the point where they should probably just shoot that one first in every situation.  The ships kind of hop about awkwardly over the water like they don't have enough anti-grav to just hover.  I'm not sure they could get these things back into space if they wanted to.  And they have wind shields that can conveniently be pierced by a .50 cal rifle.

I've come up with one plausible explanation that allows the movie to make sense.  The aliens where just a bunch of random space miners.  They got lost, ran out of fuel, and made a last ditch effort to land on a habitable planet.  They probably tracked back the signal the humans where sending out into space.  They want to call home for a pick up, but the primitive inhabitants are hostile and needlessly violent.  They can't seem to break the communication barrier so first contact get's royally screwed.  The miners have to use their mining charges and cutting equipment to defend themselves.  They hoped the primitives would get the point that they are not out for blood by only firing on people that shoot them first.  But alas the humans where dumb and kept shooting at them.

Would have been a much better movie.  There's other things wrong.  Too many to enumerate.  OK, one more.  The aliens jam radar, but the human CIWS can still shoot down the alien mortars.  CIWSs are RADAR guided!  That just annoyed me to no end.

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