Moviegoers may currently find themselves contemplating a choice between two sea-based epics; James Cameron’s remake of Titanic in 3D and Battleship, a high-profile, big budget release courtesy of Peter Berg, currently making headlines mainly for featuring superstar of the moment, Rihanna.

Comparing these two films on the basis of their ocean landscapes is where the similarities end. Battleship is overblown and bloated in its action, uninspiring in its storyline, and features characters about as dull and heartless as you could possibly expect. Aggressive and fiery? Certainly. Interesting? Not at all.

All of which is a shame considering the start of the film, in which Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) finds himself arrested after stealing a burrito in the attempt to impress blonde beauty Samantha Shane (Brooklyn Decker), hints at the humour and character that might have followed. Unfortunately though, this is very much what the film lacks. Battleship is an all guns blazing, CGI dominated movie generally devoid of any heart or personality.

In terms of the undeniably aesthetically impressive action scenes, director Peter Berg forgets the basic principle of the law of diminishing returns. There comes a point when you are no longer impressed by the bombastic animated scenes of aliens, guns and explosions. Furthermore, it makes you no hardcore pacifist to question the taste of the extent to which Battleship is coldheartedly glorifying of the military.

Interestingly, the film sees pop superstar Rihanna embark on her maiden acting role, although at times she feels as ill-placed in Battleship as she does on the most recent Coldplay album. That’s not to disregard her future as an actress; it simply reflects on the script, which barely allows the Barbadian to string more than two or three sentences together. It’s hard therefore to see through the conclusion that including Rihanna was simply aimed at generating a buzz around what is essentially an uninspiring film.

In all, what made James Cameron’s Titanic such a national treasure is what makes Peter Berg’s Battleship forgettable at best. The great success of the former is despite the fact we all know how the story ends – the heartfelt emotion between the characters keeps us gripped. With Battleship we are less able to predict how the story will unfold but, due to the failure of its characters to connect, little do we care.

Robert Smith (@robertdgsmith)

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