05 Jan

Battleship

“It’s time for a new course of action. A new direction; a game change. You’re joining me in the Navy.”

– Commander Stone Hopper

HATE READING? LISTEN TO US TALK ABOUT BATTLESHIP ON ITUNES OR WHEREVER YOU LISTEN TO PODCASTS.

The Setup

We’ve arrived at the end game. We’re closing out The Tabletop Series with the 2012 modern classic, Battleship. Like the movie’s tenuous relationship with the original board game, we’ve created a meal that is tangentially related to the movie. We had a very simple theme for this meal: shots. There was no shortage of shots fired in this film, both verbal (“Who do I call to teach you humility? I’m sorry. I don’t have that number.”) and in the form of the Navy fleet’s artillery. So, we leaned into that premise for our food.

The Meal

We started out with tomato-based gazpacho shooters. This chilled soup is quite literally a blend of tomatoes, onions, bread, and garlic soaked in boiling water and thrown into our Vitamix. We served ours with crumbled soft-boiled eggs, a slice of prosciutto, and a drizzle of lemon EVOO. The soup is thick and flavorful, but the addition of the egg really pulled all the flavors together. We can’t speak highly enough of the medium-boiled eggs.

Next up, we improvised some wraps. We sliced up some heirloom carrots and zucchini, coated them in olive oil and za’atar and roasted them in the oven. When the vegetables were ready, we assembled the wraps by spreading tahini and Greek yogurt over tomato-basil tortillas. We laid the vegetables out on the tortillas with some fresh dill, rolled them up, and trimmed the ends to get that shot-like appearance.

For dessert, we chose a more traditional shot: the jello shot. These were cosmopolitan jello shots made with cranberry and lime juice and equal-sized serving of Vodka and Gran Marnier. None of us usually like jello shots or even gelatin-based desserts, but these were actually surprisingly good. The lime zest garnish on top provided a welcome citrus kick making these shots easy to take. Which could be dangerous because we had no idea how much alcohol we had consumed, still are unsure how much we consumed now that we think back on it.

The Drink

We’re not really sure what we were thinking here. The image and the name on the website made this seem like an on-theme shot, but the results were pretty disappointing. We decided on the Port & Starboard as our drink which is literally just a green mint liqueur and grenadine. Unfortunately, our grenadine didn’t float and the opposing flavors mixed instantly. It kind of tasted like nighttime cough syrup mixed with the daytime one. What we’re trying to say is that it tastes like a bad idea. Take our advice and stick with the jello shots instead.

The Rules

💬  Drink when someone says “sir.”

🚢  Drink when ships shoot other ships.

📍  Drink when coordinates are on screen.

We have heard from our lawyer that you should absolutely not follow these rules as they are written. But we never really follow the rules of our lawyer.

The Movie

Battleship was bad. We all agreed on that, and you can read about how bad it was in our personal reviews below. What we want to talk about here, though, is how well the movie honored the original board game. We have to say that on this point, we were actually impressed. For a board game as drop-dead simple as Battleship, it doesn’t seem like there would be much to pull on, but Battleship, the movie, took the challenge and ran with it.

The first thing we noticed was that they incorporated battleships, destroyers, and patrol boats all into the movie – same as the pieces in Battleship! Just like in the game, the patrol boat never got hit. That little guy is just so hard to pin down. We even were treated to a top down view of these ships, which looked just like an arrangement of the pieces on a Battleship board.

The biggest surprise game reference was the alien shells. They look just like the pegs in the board game! They even sink into the ship narrow side down. We were delighted by this little detail when we noticed it.

Let’s end with the obvious: they actually play Battleship in this movie. They don’t literally whip out the board game, but incorporate the game mechanic into the naval battle itself. There is a (extremely long) section of the movie where the radar is out and the only way for the navy to know where the aliens are is by watching a monitor showing how a grid of bouys bob in the water. They would look for unusual bouy movement and fire blindly into that area, then wait to see if the irregular pattern stops or not. If they detect no more movement, they can safely assume they sunk a ship. Battleship captured the visuals of the board game with the grid monitor displaying moving red dots, and also succeeded on making the audience feel the same emotion you feel on your turn in Battleship: like you’re firing into the dark and anxiously waiting to see if you land a hit, knowing that you’re on the brink of defeat if you’re found out first. Battleship may have been the worst movie we watched, but it actually may have done the best job of honoring the original boardgame.

The Reviews

André: Miss. I’m writing this review a week or two after seeing the movie and am struggling to come up with much I remember about it, which is to say it is not a very memorable movie. The most distinct memory I have of the movie is watching the admiral or whatever essentially play battleship for roughly the amount of time it takes to play a full game of battleship. The scene was also about as exciting as watching a game of battleship, and felt like it dragged on forever, much like this movie as a whole.

Leanna: I can’t believe I watched another ad for the armed forces disguised as a movie for this blog. And you know what? I’m willing to bet I’ll do it again too. I actually did enjoy the bits of the movie that tried to connect it back to the board game mostly because I think the premise of making a movie out of a board game is an interesting one. The execution, however, was as poor as Lieutenant Alex Hopper’s attitude. I’d rather play the board game than watch this movie again.

Ben: 15%. At no point was I really on board with what Battleship had to offer. From the beginning in which a drunk white man, breaks into the convenience store owned by a person of color and proceeds to destroy the store all for a chicken burrito, run across the street, get tazed twice, and then the pretty girl at the bar basically says “no, all of that is perfectly okay, this is the man for me, he really has both his and my interests carefully considered,” this film was fighting a losing battle. And the only time I was into anything that was going on in the film was when I was just in awe of the quality of the CGI and how well it held up. Barely anyone has anything that could be closely related to an “arc” and the biggest sin of all is you have Rihanna in your film and you waste those talents (her role in Valerian undeniably confirms that she is a credible acting talent)?!!??! This film never even deserved Rihanna. You can’t really expect a lot from a film based on the board game Battleship, but this film even struggled to meet those expectations. Battleship was sunk even before it hit the water.

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