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Sailors vs. aliens: ‘Battleship' debuts Friday

May. 15, 2012 - 06:25AM   |   Last Updated: May. 15, 2012 - 06:25AM  |  
Left to right: Beast (John Tui), Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) and Raikes (Rihanna) are stunned by invaders in "Battleship."
Left to right: Beast (John Tui), Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) and Raikes (Rihanna) are stunned by invaders in "Battleship." (Universal Studios)
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Singer and actress Rihanna stars in new action film "Battleship." (Universal Studios)

Trying to sink opponent's ships is the goal of the classic Hasbro game, Battleship. But in the movie by the same name, the opponents are aliens lured to Earth by communications looking for intelligent life, your teammates are swimsuit models and rock stars, and the hits or misses will determine the fate of the planet.

"Battleship," directed by Peter Berg, will be released nationwide Friday. Check next week's edition for a review. For now, here's what you need to know:

Retired Capt. Rick Hoffman, who in real life commanded the frigate DeWert and the cruiser Hue City, brought a Navy boot camp to the set for the film's stars. Hoffman taught the actors how to act like a real sailor, giving advice like "Don't fall off the boat!" The celebrities also got a Navy crash course from sailors, who shared the set as extras.

"In every case, when we had someone in uniform on camera, he wanted real sailors," Hoffman said of Berg. "Many of the speaking parts you see, particularly on the bridge and combat information center scenes, those were real sailors."

The general public will recognize many Hollywood A-listers in the film, including Liam Neeson, recording artist Rihanna, Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl Brooklyn Decker and "Friday Night Lights" star Taylor Kitsch. Sailors may recognize another famous face from their own organization: Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.

"One of the really cool things you get to do in this job, is occasionally you get to make cameos on TV and movies," Mabus said at a Safety Excellence Awards Ceremony in July 2011. "So you all watch out next summer for the blockbuster ‘Battleship.' And pay particular attention to the captain of the USS Reagan."

The film's stars visited the troops aboard the aircraft carrier George Washington and got a tour of the ship in early April to promote the movie in Yokosuka, Japan.

"We are so excited to bring this film to everyone around the world," Decker said during the visit. "We feel lucky and blessed to have you guys defending our freedoms, and we hope we shine a light on our heroes and the military around the world as we bring it to the big screen."

Although the movie does not come out until Friday, early reviews suggest it lives up to its billing: an action-adventure film with big explosions but without much substantial dialogue. The movie review site Rotten Tomatoes rated it as a 4.8 out of 10 a week before its release.

More than 450 sailors and their families saw a sneak preview of the movie April 28 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Sequences of the movie were filmed in Hawaii in 2010, and some sailors from the base got to be extras in the film. The movie features destroyers stationed there as well as the Battleship Missouri Memorial.

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