When I heard they were making a movie based on the board game Battleship, I was thrilled.
The way I envisioned it, the movie opens on a suburban, single dad and his 9-year-old son: they’re in the middle of some kind of spat, maybe having to do with Absent Mom. Anyway, now the 9-year old is giving Dad the cold shoulder.
So Dad sets up the board game in the living room, a sort of invitation for Son to work through his anger issues. From there, maybe it could be like Zathura crossed with The Fall, where Son’s idea of war, as projected onto the game board, is really innocent, all blue skies and little green army men. Dad, in the meantime, is some kind of history buff or academic, so his imagined version of war is all facts and data and dehumanization and Spielberg fog.
And both versions of “war” are very inadequate and naive, at least at the beginning. But maybe, as they play on—finally broaching what really happened to Mom and Dad’s relationship, say—the Son’s idea of the world-at-war slowly becomes less plastic, grittier and more nuanced, while Dad’s version, gradually populated with people and real casualties, becomes more human and sensitive. Something eventually happens to cause neither Dad nor Son to win (a tipped coffee table, perhaps?), but you can count on a touching emotional resolution by movie’s end.
But—ha, ha!—I was wrong. That isn’t how the movie goes at all! Alas, we got this instead (via WSJ):