If Safety Not Guaranteed and Battleship seem like opposites in every way, it’s probably because they are. One is an offbeat indie that’s drawn glowing reviews on the film festival circuit; the other is a big, splashy blockbuster that’s been likened to Michael Bay’s Transformers. But both have just released new clips in preparation for their summer bows, so I’ve decided to arbitrarily lump them together. Watch the scenes after the jump.

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On the one hand, Universal’s Battleship looks, frankly, kinda stupid. It’s an adaptation of a Hasbro toy, along the same lines as Michael Bay’s dumb (but occasionally fun) Transformers franchise, and early spots and footage did nothing to suggest it’d be anything more than an uninspired, cynical cash grab.

On the other, there’s some promising talent both in front of and behind the camera: Friday Night Lights director Peter Berg at the helm and his Friday Night Lights stars Taylor Kitsch and Jesse Plemons in the cast, plus Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard, Hamish Linklater,¬†and Liam Neeson. And while I wouldn’t go so far as to say the film looked smart, I respected that it seemed perfectly aware of what it was — mindless popcorn entertainment, no more and no less.

But all of that ambivalence was based more on the marketing team’s efforts than on the film itself. Now that the first early reviews are rolling out, however, we’re getting a much better sense of what, exactly, Berg is offering us next month. Read all about Battleship‘s early buzz after the jump.

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Earlier this week at WonderCon, director Peter Berg revealed that he’d taken inspiration for his new movie Battleship from an unlikely source: Stephen Hawking. Berg had been watching a documentary in which the iconic scientist discussed Goldilocks planets, so called because their distance from the sun is “just right” for sustaining life. NASA has been trying to send signals to those planets in an attempt to discover extra-terrestial intelligence, but according to Berg, Hawking believes this to be a terrible idea because aliens knowing of our existence can do just as much damage as good. Berg then spun that idea into the plot of the film.

Which sounds pretty interesting, but unfortunately, most of the trailers we’ve seen so far haven’t gone into much detail about the sci-fi storyline. So far, they’ve shown us who the characters are and what it looks like when Berg tries his best to be Michael Bay, but we’ve had no sense of what exactly the aliens are doing here. Now a new featurette focuses on just that, explaining what exactly a Goldilocks planet is and how the crew of the USS John Paul Jones¬†find themselves to be defending our planet from vicious otherworldly visitors. Watch it after the jump.

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I’ll be completely up front with you — I really have had no interest in the movie Battleship since it was announced. Even the recent action-packed Michael Bay-lite trailers didn’t win me over. I just didn’t see the point of making a big screen adaptation of the Battleship board game. And I also didn’t understand why an adaptation of that board game would involve an alien attack. It just didn’t make sense to me. Despite loving director Peter Berg‘s previous films and recently discovering the awesomeness of Friday Night Lights (the tv series), I just didn’t care.

When Peter Berg stepped onto the WonderCon stage in Anaheim, you could tell he was on a mission. Why a movie based on a board game? Why aliens? Berg made his pitch and somehow was able to change my mind — I now am excited to see this film.

Peter Berg never wanted to make a movie based on a board game. He wanted to make a naval movie but Hollywood wouldn’t let him.

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WonderCon 2012 took over the Anaheim Convention Center this year, so more Hollywood studios were in attendance than in previous San Francisco-based editions. While there wasn’t a lot of newsworthy bits to come out of the panels this year, we did get to see a lot of footage from upcoming films: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman, Battleship and Rian Johnson‘s Looper.

After the con closed its doors, I recorded a video blog with /Film writers Germain Lussier and Adam Quigley, joined by Alex Billington from FirstShowing.net. We give reactions to all the footage we saw (with exception of The Amazing Spider-Man, since it was the same sizzle reel I posted about last month). We try not to go into descriptions, and instead just give you our reactions. Watch it now embedded after the jump.

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Taylor Kitsch‘s John Carter may not quite have been the blockbuster hit that he and Disney were hoping for, but the star will take a second stab at leading a major action franchise when Peter Berg‘s Battleship hits this summer. Inspired by the Hasbro game, the film stars Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna, and Liam Neeson as naval officers dealing with an otherwordly force that threatens to destroy our planet. The new trailer downplays the plotlines and character moments we glimpsed in earlier trailers, choosing instead to dive right in to expensive, explosive Transformers-style action. Watch it after the jump.

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Battleship is the film in which director Peter Berg worked in full-on Michael Bay mode, with Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna and Alexander Skarsgard as crew members on a US Navy ship stuck inside a force field erected by some force that has its eye on Earthly resources. We’ve seen a couple trailers for the film that introduced the film’s basic scenario, and showed some of the tech of the attacking force. (We’ve been calling them aliens, but we don’t actually know what the enemies in the movie really are.)

A new one-minute Battleship spot ran tonight during the Super Bowl, and while it recycles a lot of the footage from the first couple trailers, it does offer some new images of the enemy footsoldiers, including what seems to be a showdown between one of the Hal0-like characters and a cannon that should blow it to pieces. Why do I suspect that’s not how this encounter ends?

Check out the spot below. Read More »

‘Battleship’ Japanese Trailer

If you’re on the fence about Universal’s Battleship, that being Peter Berg‘s Michael Bay-style ‘humans versus aliens’ movie which will hit next year, this Japanese trailer probably won’t help make up your mind. It has a few small new bits of footage, yes, and also a bit more footage of Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano. But otherwise it’s still the same big, goofy battle movie. Check it out below. Read More »

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