In an ideal world the makers of the latest alien invasion blockbuster want you to watch the film, buy the board game and then join the US Navy.
The film has been fairly compared to the Transformers trilogy and is complete with sweeping shots of military hardware and a US flag is never too long out of shot. The film's central character is a boozy, long-haired lay about living on his older brother's sofa until he finds the solution to his life's problems - joining the navy! One short haircut later he finds himself in a snazzy uniform with access to large weapons, a stunning fiancée on his arm and put in charge of ordering Rihanna about, a classic teenage fantasy.
To aid the not so subtle recruitment nudge the actors were sent on a Navy boot camp overseen by retired Captain Rick Hoffman, who after issuing sage advice such as "don't fall off the boat", was given a cameo in the film. Canadian actor Taylor Kitsch, who plays Lt. Alex Hopper bigged up his experience with the Navy telling the media that "when you're working in Pearl Harbour and surrounded by all these vets and naval officers, it's quite infectious and so you're taking from whatever they're giving you."
Director Peter Berg admitted that he was "a big fan of the Navy and I wanted to do a Navy film." The film, which isn't in danger of winning too many Oscars, has even sparked debates on military forums about whether battleships could return to frontline service. In addition the film's other unusual heroes are Navy veterans in their 80s and 90s who were located via veterans' administrations. They provided the crew of the Missouri Battleship that save the day and Berg spoke of how "there were about forty of them, and they just had the time of their life. They were hitting on the girls, and flirting and drinking beer and telling stories, and they had more energy than anyone".
What is most interesting about the film however is its portrayal of veteran soldiers. In particular one of the films central hero's is injured US Army Colonel, Greg Gadson, who lost both of his legs in Baghdad. Brooklyn Decker plays a physiotherapist and spent time at Brooks Army Medical Hospital in Texas before acting the role. Rather than avoiding the thorny issue of the long term wounded the film takes Gadson's character into the centre of the action as he issues the rallying cry "let's see if we can buy the world another day!" before attacking an alien, at one point using his prosthetic leg as a club.
Although Battleship may be quickly forgotten amongst the glut of summer blockbusters, its portrayal of veterans may find it more memorable for recruits to the Navy both past, present and of course future.
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