Battleship Trailers: From Story to Spectacle as the Skepticism Continues


I come not to condemn the beleaguered board-game inspired movie, but to praise its recent repositioning via the trailer above. Defying the skepticism and negative critical reaction to the 209M Hasbro branded summer blockbuster, (which, by the way opened in April in Europe to a respectable 215M at the box office), this is a great looking trailer emphasizing the qualities that are most likely to appeal to audiences and sidelining those that aren’t.

For example, this trailer is all about spectacle, scale, action and effects without any of the presumably second tier romantic conflict and subplot that is the focus of the first half of the first official trailer released 9 months ago. (see below) With Battleship, from the makers of Transformers, you get wicked machines, whether those of the US Navy or those of the alien invaders. You see global assault with weapons of extraordinary mass destruction, civilian casualties and desperate, patriotic counter-attacks. Soldier Rihanna is foregrounded; Romantic love object Brooklyn Decker is sidelined. Liam Neeson gravelly voice offers de-facto V.O. and his familiar visage suggests that acting has not been entirely foregone in pursuit of event.

In this trailer, as presumably in the movie heralded, audiences are presumed to care less about characters, than about the existential conflict and video-game thrill of experiencing a world endangered by hostile invaders (“the battle for earth/begins at sea” helpfully explains the copy) and defended by our brave men and women in uniform.


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movietrailers101 by Fred Greene is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

About Frederick Greene

Entertainment Copywriter & Visiting Assistant Professor, UCLA Dept. of Theater, Film & Television. I teach a graduate seminar in new movie marketing, which focuses on the history, contemporary practice and likely future of a/v advertising for motion picture entertainment.
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