"Aw, you sunk my battleship!"
Those lines were immortalized in the 1967 TV commercial for Milton Bradley's first edition of the board game Battleship. But the game had existed in various pencil-and-paper forms since the early part of the 20th Century. Since then, the game has been adapted into electronic versions, video games, and now mobile phone apps. But next year the game is being reinvented again as a big-budget action movie.
So how are they turning a fairly simple two-player strategy game into a two-hour silver-screen spectacle? By adding aliens.
In "Battleship," Taylor Kitsch (TV's "Friday Night Lights") plays Lt. Alex Hopper, a Naval officer with a rebellious streak living in the shadow of his older brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgard of "True Blood"). Out off the coast of Hawaii for an international training exercise, Alex discovers a massive vessel floating in the water. It rises up into the air, and suddenly the war games aren't so fun anymore.
So obviously it's not a direct translation of the game, but it does promise to retain many of the fundamental elements of the original. Director Peter Berg ("Hancock," "The Kingdom") told CHUD.com that like in the game each side of the conflict will have a small fleet of five ships. The aliens are part of a scouting party, not a full-fledged invading force, and the humans will be cut off from the rest of the world. And the Naval ships will have their radar disabled, so they will have to strategize to figure out where their enemies are lurking.
As for why the villains are extraterrestrials, rather than an earthbound adversary, Berg said, "I liked the idea of something bigger, larger than life and the challenge it presented." Plus, with the global audience for Hollywood movies more important than ever, it makes sense to not alienate any particular country by making them the bad guys. The movie therefore presents an international force, with a Japanese warship joining the fight against the alien threat.
"Battleship" -- which also stars Liam Neeson, Brooklyn Decker, and Rihanna in her big-screen debut -- isn't sailing into theaters until next May. But you can see the exclusive trailer for the movie below.