Battleship is this summer's Transformers, and I mean that literally. Not only do both feature aliens with metal-like machinery which changes from mode of transportation into active weaponry, but they are also Hasbro toys turned into over-the-top, profanity-laden action films aimed at teen boys.
Transformers inspired the movie trend that brings Battleship to moviegoers today. However, the board game is one of the few toy properties that actually made it to the big screen. This year, the multiplex was supposed to be jampacked with toy adaptations like Clue, Magic 8 Ball, Ouija and Monopoly.
Hollywood has mostly abandoned development on these projects; it seems transforming an inanimate object into two hours of entertainment is tougher than expected. Transformers is the exception rather than the rule, probably because a mythology already existed for the Autobots and Decepticons.
Why did Hollywood ever think turning toys into movies would work? Audiences tend to like to see movies with familiar elements, a formula for success seen in the revival of Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Smurfs, and all of the Marvel superhero movies.
Battleship does succeed in delivering a fun payoff for everyone who played the board game: the E-11/B-5 grid, hearing "hit" and "miss" during battle, and watching each of the boats get hit and sunk.
Some toy movies are still in the works, like Stretch Armstrong, Candyland starring Adam Sandler, Major Matt Mason starring Tom Hanks and movies built around Legos and Micronauts. But on June 29, action figure fans should soak in G.I. Joe: Retaliation…it's the last toy movie we'll see for a while.
Other than Battleship, here are three other films to see this weekend:
(For The Adults) What to Expect When You're Expecting. Kids will appreciate your hiring a babysitter for this one, but the star-packed cast promises to bring back the memories of all the awkward hilarity and beauty in the process of pregnancy for parents.
The Avengers. It turns out if a bunch of superheroes are put into one movie, the result is indeed one super movie!
The Pirates! Band of Misifts. An inept pirate captain just might win Pirate of the Year Award when he teams up with Charles Darwin. The movie will appeal to kids but the sight gags and subtle jokes make Pirates! a fun film for grown-ups as well.
To read what kids think about the films mentioned here, go to www.KidsPickFlicks.com, where all kids are movie critics.