Friday, April 13, 2012

Not A Movie Review: Battleship

No, I'm not going to review "Battleship." Maybe I'll just remind everybody that I love the entire alien-invasion genre. I saw "The Mysterions" when I was ten or so, loved it, and I've seen them all ever since. Hell, I even liked "Skylight." So of course I liked "Battleship." But this is not a movie review, it's more of a comment on movie making.

Alfred Hitchcock famously observed that actors were like cattle. I think that I agree with him in general, I think he meant that a director should just stick his hand up in there and work them like puppets. Whose movie is it after all? And most actors can use the help. Along these lines, "Battleship" serves to prove that sometimes a good director, with a strong assist from a good film editor, can create an acceptable performance from whole cloth, with little or no help from the actor or actress.

Rihanna has her acting debut in "Battleship," unless you want to give her an acting credit for pretending to be a singer for the last few years. She's in a lot of scenes too, but early on I noticed that the editing process seemed to be cutting off her actions what seemed like a little early. Then I realized that the film makers were preserving the good parts of her shots, and cutting away in what must have seemed to them to be just in the nick of time.

For the fact that she manages to project the odd appropriate emotion I will thank the director. Apprehension; Fear; Shock; Anger; Resolve; Relief; Happiness; Rihanna does project these things on cue. After, no doubt, careful prompting from the director, but still, she does it.

I will say this in her favor: she hits her marks, and she delivers her lines. There are people who would tell you that that is all there is to acting. There's more to acting though, and it is the director and the editor that we have to thank for ninety percent of Rihanna's performance in "Battleship."

N.B. No, I don't think that all directors are men, etc. So let all pronouns and generic terms like "actors" include both sexes. "An actor" though, generally, does not in my opinion refer to an actor of either sex, "an actor" would be a man. Unless one is referring to all of the actors in the world, an actor is a man. A woman who act is "an actress." Somehow I have no problem with women who fly planes being "aviators," instead of "aviatrixes," but I find it annoying when women refer to themselves as "actors." Maybe it's because flying a plane is not gender-specific, while PLAYING A WOMAN IN A FILM IS.

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