|Battleship is a 2012 American science fiction action naval war film named after the Hasbro board game. The film was directed by Peter Berg and released by Universal Pictures. The film stars Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, and Tadanobu Asano.
The film was originally planned to be released in 2011, but was rescheduled to April 11, 2012 in the United Kingdom and May 18, 2012 in the United States. The film’s world premiere was in Tokyo, Japan on April 3, 2012.
In 2005, NASA discovers an extrasolar planet with conditions similar to Earth. On the chance that it contains intelligent life, NASA transmits a powerful signal from a communications array in Hawaii, which will be boosted by a satellite in orbit. Around the same time, the talented but undisciplined slacker Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) attempts to impress a woman by getting her a chicken burrito, the result of which sees Alex breaking into a convenience store and consequently being tasered by the police. The woman is Samantha Shane (Brooklyn Decker), daughter of COMPACFLT Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson), who in turn is the superior of Commander Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgard), Alex’s older brother. Fed up and infuriated at Alex for lack of motivation and possibly ruining his own career, Stone forces him to join the United States Navy.
By 2012, Alex is a lieutenant and the Tactical Action Officer aboard the Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS John Paul Jones, while Stone is the commanding officer of USS Sampson. Alex is also in a committed relationship with Samantha and wants to marry her, but is afraid to ask her father for permission. During the opening ceremony for the RIMPAC naval exercises, Alex brawls with Japanese officer Captain Nagata (Tadanobu Asano), the latest in a string of incidents that could result in his discharge at the end of RIMPAC. Meanwhile, Samantha, a physical therapist, accompanies retired Army veteran and amputee Mick Canales (Gregory D. Gadson) on a hike on Oahu to help him adapt to his prosthetic legs.
Five alien ships arrive in response to the NASA signal. One ship collides with an orbital satellite and crashes in Hong Kong, while four others land in the water near Hawaii. Sampson, John Paul Jones, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kongo class destroyer JDS Myōkō investigate, but are trapped when one of the alien ships erects an impenetrable force field around the Hawaiian islands, blocking the rest of the RIMPAC participants outside. The destroyers attempt to establish contact by sounding a horn, and in response, the aliens release a powerful sonic blast that damages the ships. The Sampson fires a warning shot, but the aliens then respond with a full-on assault: Sampson and Myōkō are destroyed, John Paul Jones is damaged with the commanding and executive officers killed, and the alien force field ship launches drone attacks on the islands, devastating local infrastructures and military installations. Initially attached to Sampson, Alex, who was one of the few out to take a closer look at the alien vessels, now boards John Paul Jones and takes command as the most senior officer left on the ship. Although initially wanting to attack the alien ships in retaliation for his brother’s death, Alex is convinced to break off and recover survivors from Myōkō, with Captain Nagata among them. This act prompts the aliens to call off another attack. Since the barrier prevents the use of radar and sonar, Nagata reveals that they can use tsunami warning buoys around Hawaii to track the alien vessels’ movements.
During a night-time battle, the aliens and the humans exchange pot shots (in a manner similar to the actual game Battleship, using the buoy system to locate areas to fire upon), with the John Paul Jones sinking two alien ships but unable to lock onto the third. Meanwhile an alien soldier is recovered from the water; from the brief contact with the alien, the humans determine that the aliens are very sensitive to sunlight. Alex uses his ship to lure the alien vessel close to shore, where he and Nagata shoot out its bridge windows at sunrise with anti-material rifles in order to blind the aliens and prevent them from firing, then proceed to fire at the alien vessel full-force. Both vessels are destroyed in the ensuing battle, John Paul Jones being sunk by drones fired from the force field ship.
Because the ship that crashed in Hong Kong was their communications ship, the aliens take over the NASA array, using it to signal their home planet. Samantha and Mick, who are near the array at the time of the attack, manage to avoid detection and run into a fleeing NASA scientist. Finding out on their own the hostile behavior of the aliens and believing that a larger invasion might be imminent, the scientist acquires a radio which Samantha uses to warn Alex. Alex had planned to destroy the array with his ship, but since John Paul Jones has been sunk, the survivors are forced to return to Pearl Harbor and acquire the only naval vessel left intact within the alien force field coverage, the USS Missouri. Although a museum ship, Alex and his crew are able to reactivate Missouri with the aid of the retired veterans preserving her. Discovering that the alien force field ship has re-positioned itself near Oahu, the battleship is forced to engage. Samantha and Mick manage to disrupt alien signal transmission in the meantime by crashing their car through the wires connecting the alien’s signal transmitter to the NASA array, with the Army veteran recovering his fighting spirit along the way and eventually to the point of standing up to an incoming alien soldier and fighting it hand-to-hand. Using a trick thought of by Alex involving one of the ship’s anchors and facing the cannons “in the wrong direction” (which bring the battleship’s broadside firepower to bear at the end of his maneuvers), the Missouri inflicts enough damage to the alien ship to successfully disable the force field but ends up with only one 16″ high-explosive shell remaining. Alex moves the 1,000 lb shell to the last working cannon with the help of the crew and, stuck between a still-combat-capable enemy and his mission, elects to fire it at the NASA array, but before the defenseless Missouri can be attacked one more time, air strikes from the RIMPAC fleet (which are scrambled to attack as soon as the barrier falls) arrive and finish off the last alien ship. The final 16″ shell sets off a chain reaction amidst the aliens and their equipment, in turn causing the NASA array to overload and explode.
Back on shore, the naval personnel, along with Mick (whose actions bought Alex enough time to fire that last shell at the NASA array), are honored for their actions in defeating the aliens, with Alex getting the Silver Star and is hinted at being promoted to lieutenant commander. After the ceremony, Alex asks Admiral Shane for his daughter’s hand in marriage; the admiral adamantly refuses but then invites him to talk about the matter over a chicken burrito.
In a post-credits scene set in rural Scotland, three schoolchildren and a handyman break open a car-sized object that has apparently fallen from the sky. They run off in terror after seeing an alien hand reach out and grab the opening.