Battleship (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

February 28, 2017 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I’ve often expressed my disdain for Hollywood and thier (it’s?) lack of imagination when it comes to feature-length films. Yes, there are some amazing films out there that really showcase the talent and creativity that the world has to offer, but there’s also films like Battleship. It’s been five years since this movie was released in theaters and I remember watching it and had figured that I’d reviewed it. I was wrong. I remember watching it and, even with my lack of knowledge of the military, was scratching my head as to how some of what happened was actually possible (can an enlisted man become a Lieutenant in two years without a college education?). The answer is “No” by the way. But it also had Brooklyn Decker, someone I’ve been a fan of for quite some time. Well, her body, not exactly her skills on screen – though she does have some. You know what, let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?

Bear in mind that this movie is based off a board game. Yes, that one. It’s not a coincidence that it has the same name, it’s really a live-action version of the game we’ve all played at least once, as kids. So here we go: aliens arrive in massive spaceships and land off the coast of Hawaii, where the Navy just happen to be conducting military exercises. The aliens put up a force field bubble thing and the scene is set for an epic maritime face-off that drags on and on for 130 minutes until you wish you could accuse your friend of peeking, flip the board over in a temper and storm off to your room. Peter Berg directs and we’ve got Liam Neeson in yet another role as a gruff commander. Also we’ve got Brooklyn Decker.

I usually try and wrap up my reviews with a nice third paragraph, but I don’t know if I can do that this time around. I’ll let the audio/video specs do the talking for me. This is a bad movie. Peter Berg has made better and if you want a battle movie set in the water with aliens, go see Pacific Rim instead.

Video: How’s it look?

If you can put aside the plot of the film and just focus on how this looks and how it sounds, you’re in for a real treat. If you can’t do that, then read no further (actually I’m willing to bet you hadn’t made it this far if you had no interest in the movie). Battleship embodies everything that home theater enthusiasts love and Universal’s Ultra HD/4K presentation hits the mark – in more ways than one. The sprawling battle scenes look great, the CGI is barely noticeable and then we’ve also got Brooklyn Decker. Ok, maybe she’s not showing her body as much as in Just Go With It, but still – it’s Brooklyn Decker. The 4K offers an uptick in detail, color (via HDR) and an all around better presentation.

Audio: How’s it sound?

While some studios are offering DTS HD Master Audio tracks on their 4K titles, Universal has upped the ante with a new DTS X mix that’s sure to please. This mix, like Dolby Atmos mixes on other titles, is more atmospheric and really immerses the viewer in the sound. The soundtrack was already robust, but if the Blu-ray was a 10, this is an 11 – hands down. There’s simply no downside to this – vocals, surrounds, LFE and everything else are on full alert here. It’s one of the better movie sound mixes I’ve heard.

Supplements: What are the extras?

All of the supplements from the previously-released Blu-ray (also included in this set) are here and are located on the Blu-ray.

  • All Access with Director Peter Berg – This is actually a pretty cool feature and it runs a bit longer than the film itself. We get Peter Berg talking our ears off, but it’s full of insightful quips and blips from the movie. It’s more of a visual commentary which studios used to do a lot more of, though now it’s all in favor of loading up the bullet points with pointless extras (we’ve got those here too, but this is actually a nice feature to have).
  • Second Screen Experience – To be honest, I didn’t even try this. I have to assume it still works though it requires you to download the app and you can watch along on your tablet. One screen is enough for me, thanks.
  • Alternate Ending Previsualization – A more realistic, but less “Hollywood” ending that was left on the, er, sea floor?
  • USS Missouri VIP Tour – Of note, my Uncle, Cmdr. John Scott, was the Executive Officer of this ship when it was decommissioned back in 1989. How’s that for cool? I think he would get a lot more out of this tour that I did, but it’s a nice feature to have nonetheless.
  • Preparing for Battle – How do you turn a board game into a 2+ hour movie? Find out here.
  • All Hands on Deck: The Cast – We get a look at the star-studded cast as introduced by Berg, who seems to love each and every one of them.
  • Engage in Battle – This contains two shorter segments “at sea.”
    • Shooting at Sea
    • All Aboard the Fleet
  • Commander Pete – A look at the director, Peter Berg and his approach to helming this film.
  • The Visual Effects – A more in-depth (get it?) look at the visual style and CGI used for this film.

The Bottom Line

There are far better movies about ships at sea doing battle (think Pacific Rim, also available in 4K). But none of those feature Brooklyn Decker. All kidding aside, if you’re in this for the technical aspects – look no further. But if you’re in it for a good story – look elsewhere.

Disc Scores