Episode 203: 2 Fast 2 Battleship

The Overthinkers (plus a special guest from the United States Navy) tackle the seminal summer flick Battleship.

Overthinking It PodcastMatthew Wrather hosts with Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee and special guest Ben Adams to overthink the seminal summer film Battleship.


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Further Reading

Naval officer ranks

Starfleet ranks

NBDC Dial-a-bouy

The TRUE meaning of Battleship on IMDb

23 Comments on “Episode 203: 2 Fast 2 Battleship”

  1. Christian Walters #

    If Brooklyn Decker had started craving a chicken burrito 10 minutes sooner, Earth would have been conquered by aliens.


    • fenzel #

      It should also be noted that if Brooklyn Decker ate a chicken burrito in this movie, it would have made $10 million additional dollars for each bite.


      • fenzel #

        Obviously $ and “dollars” are redundant. It is also not a very good joke. I’m going to rate that comment reply of mine a 2 out of 10.


      • Christian Walters #

        If she had thought to lick the burrito first, it would have beaten The Avengers. And I bet El Monterey would have sponsored even more enthusiastically than Coke Zero.


  2. Emil #

    Football fan here (call it soccer one more time, I dare you, I double dare you!). Both USA and Japan have pretty decent teams. They delivered quite good performance in last ten years.

    Japan is currently ranked at 30th place, USA is 29th (hah!), but I can easily see both teams reaching final in semi-pro tournament.

    Last gave between USA and England (mentioned by Pete) ended in draw (1:1), last game between USA and Japan ended with USA wining in penalty shootout.



      • Emil #

        France, Chile, Holland. You might be right.


    • Chris #

      To be fair, while I would agree that Japan and the US fall into the category of pretty good teams, I also think the FIFA Rankings, which I presume you used, are ridiculous and I only pay attention to them when they are going to be used by that notoriously corrupt body for seeding major tournaments such as the World Cup.

      Maybe Battleship took place in a world where Keisuke Honda was doing some naval service.


      • Emil #

        Yeah, I used FIFA ranking and I freely admit that it’s far from being be-all-end-all type of rating, but it’s standard and I didn’t want to bore our friends with useless football facts.


    • fenzel #

      For me, the global futboll rankings are going to be permanently stuck in FIFA World Cup ’98 for Super Nintendo, just as I always assume the Oakland Raiders have an invincible running back and the Miami Dolphins are all offense and no defense because of Tecmo Bowl.


  3. Emil #

    Derp. Japan winning.


  4. cat #

    Suggested Addition to the OTI Drinking Game: Drink when fenzel repeats a reference from a previous episode.

    Examples include: Billy Zane is the real hero in Titanic, David Duchovny’s thesis on magic and technology


    • fenzel #

      Yeah, we’re like a couple who has dated for years. Eventually I run out of stories :-P


      • cat #

        It’s OK. I still find it endearing. But it’ll totally be a point of contention during shouting matches. :)


  5. UsernameTed #

    Good Podcast as always, but some questions/comments remain (as always). First, talking about Will Smith’s I am Legend, the ending was changed. It started that he actually cured the “infected” person he caught earlier in the film, as was his Motis Operandi the whole time. The vampires see this and realize he isn’t exactly the same as his legacy. The ending was changed to him blowing the shit out of all the vampires for almost no reason. The reason? Poor test results with audiences. The hell? We can’t settle for a heartwarming ending to our survival horror story? It’s a sad day in adaptation history, but it persists nonetheless.

    Why can’t we have a 15 minute scene in the middle of Battleship explaining everything that happened to the aliens? It’s not as though the film has much else going for it. We’ve been conditioned to the Micheal Bay theorum of explosive capability to realize what a good film is when it smacks us in the face!

    As for the exposition scene proposed for Battleship, it wouldn’t have worked in the narrative as it stood. By that point, I assume that the pacing and the stakes of the film are high, and that a long scene explaining the film’s hidden pro-alien agenda would have been long and bulky and stupid. Think of what would have happened in Independence Day if the doctor explained everything to President Pullman. It would have taken a longer time than “They’re locusts…” and wouldn’t have had the same effect. And think about what it really means to have the Alien physically communicate the information to Bill Pullman. They are voluntarily giving away their society’s secrets and motives. This isn’t the alien leader either. It’s a dumb grunt, a pilot who’s ship had crashed in the desert. Correct me if I’m wrong, but he had no reason to mind rape Bill Pullman with his backstory. It could have left the world in darkness of why they had arrived and the movie would have ended very differently.

    A scene to explain it all probably could have tied Battleship together nicely, but that’s not what the Battleship experience is about. It’s about Shia Lebouf pushing Eddie Murphy’s Aunt down a staircase made of Filing Cabinets.

    Another thing about Battleship, is that I think it would have worked better if it had been between two warring (human) nations and I keep proposing the question of what country would play the bad guy if it weren’t Aliens. There’s no nice answer to that question, I realize and I assume it’s why Aliens attack in the first place. It’s the only movie villain that hasn’t been PC’d into oblivion.

    I also assumed that Battleship was shown and seen through as distincly (North) American lense, and I didn’t realize that they played Soccer with the Japanese. With the nearly racist Americans making light of another person’s nationality, I have to say that Battleship makes absolutely no goddamn sense anymore. It’s become a weird type of Independence Day movie where the world unites against the threat of Aliens. Though, are all the world’s Navy shown? Independence Day showed short clips of various nations conquering Aliens, which seems a little bit cheap, and I’m sure Battleship doesn’t give us half of that.

    Now, pile on the fact that apparently we should sympathize with the Aliens, and now the movie is an immagration sentiment. Listening to the podcast, the buzz around Arizona’s strict immagration policy and racial profiling controversy came to mind. Now, all of Earth is made an asshole, for profiling Aliens as destructive forces bent on destroying Earth.

    So now, an interesting parallel appears. I don’t know of any movies where the Earthlings go to the Planet Moogledeedoop and ravish the alien landscape for resources. The only one I can think of is Avatar, but that’s not an invasion movie from the point of view of the Na’vi.

    The humans are almost always portrayed in positive light. It’s why we still rely on Aliens. They’re our bad guy because no one else wants to be. It’s also why there aren’t alot of films like Avatar. Even that still has some human sentiments in it. The story is told by a human, and the humans are the saviours of the native society by the end of the film.


  6. Leigh #

    My father worked for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration for nearly 20 years. And I’ve never before heard anyone call it N-O-A-A. It’s pronounced like ‘Noah’.


  7. Sean #

    I hate to ‘Well Actually’ a serving Naval Officer, but at 26:20 Ben says that Australia doesn’t have F/18s.

    – Well Actually –

    With a total of 95 Hornets, F/A-18s are the primary workhorse of the Royal Australian Air Force.
    If Australia were involved in any way in the military games, there is a high probability of there being Australian Hornets present (’cause that’s all we have ;) )

    Anyway, a great podcast overall, as always.

    Keep up the good work.


    • CrazyLikeAFox OTI Staff #


      You got me on that one, I Wikipedia’d after the Podcast and realized that the fine Sailors of the Royal Australian Navy do, in fact, fly F/A-18s.

      That said, they still wouldn’t have any business flying in when they do – I’m not aware of any foreign Navies that embark fixed wing aircraft on US carriers, and it’s a long flight from Australia to Hawaii. My Wiki-Fu informs me that the RAN F/A-18s aren’t set up for catapult operations, so it’s still a stretch to have them there.

      The point I didn’t get to in the Podcast is that it’s notable which countries are seen fighting the aliens – United States, Japan and Australia: the three countries that would be a major part of any Naval war against China.

      But yeah, that’s a solid Well-Actually. I’m an East Coast Sailor, so my PACFLT knowledge is a little rusty.


      • Sean #

        You are – of course – right about the the carriers and the lack of carrier placement.

        That’s a great point on the war against China. It would probably also be the three major (external) countries involved in a Nth Korea / Sth Korea rematch.

        Maybe the ‘aliens’ in Battleship are an allegory for the ‘others’ that are the most likely opponents in a pacific conflict.

        But then, the current scare-story in Aus is that the obsolescence of the F-111 opens us up to threats from Indonesia, at least until we get F-35s, because our long-range strike capability is all but eliminated.


      • enigma #

        The RAN does not operate any fixed wing aircraft, these hornets belonged to the RAAF. Australian F/A-18s however do retain the ability to cross deck on other nations aircraft carriers, this was one of the reasons we got them. it is our Super Hornets that were stripped of this ability.


  8. Rob Northrup #

    Re: I Am Legend, Slavoj Žižek points out that the novel starts with a very multiculturalist idea (getting readers to sympathize with the vampires at the end, seeing things from the perspective of enemies or The Other), and moves through increasingly comfortable Hollywood endings, until they’ve squeezed out the multiculturalism.


    In The Last Man on Earth 1964, the vamps kill him before he can find a cure. You’re left to think about the vampires as apparently the only intelligent life left on Earth.

    In Omega Man 1971, the hero manages to “cure” one of them. If they can be cured, then there’s no need to sympathize or see things from their perspective. Vamps mortally wound him, but he manages to give his serum to a group of human survivors. We can assume that humanity goes on, maybe they overcome or cure all the vamps eventually.

    In the 2007 I Am Legend, the hero produces a cure and dies sacrificing himself to save a few other humans. At the end, they specifically say that the “legend” was his fight to find the cure. The legend of preserving his culture and struggling against The Other, total opposite of the original meaning, that he was a legend because he had become Other to them.


    (If you guys haven’t heard of Zizek before, you really might like him. He constantly uses recent popular movies to illustrate his points about philosophy and politics and psychoanalysis. He talks about Dark Knight, I Am Legend, The Da Vinci Code, what they show about society or our times, etc. Also he sounds like Bela Lugosi.)


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