At first glance, Battleship appears to be a fairly run-of-the-mill action blockbuster where plucky humans defeat scary aliens using cunning and cleverness rather than overwhelming force. The audience is led to believe that the aliens are threatening and hostile.
However, there's a decent amount of evidence that the story as told from the hero's point of view is not the whole story:
- The film goes out of its way to show the aliens as non-hostile from the start. They only attack military targets, either when provoked or when it's necessary to further their objective.
- The camera is very quick to cut away when it appears that a defenceless target is being attacked, meaning the audience never gets to see what happened.
- Every violent act committed by the aliens is in response to aggression from the humans. (In response to a comment, I'll concede that firing into traffic at Pearl Harbor is a hostile act. However, by the time this happens, the humans have already escalated hostilities, so it's not like it was completely unprovoked).
- The protagonist constantly makes mistakes and escalates hostilities at every opportunity. He actually botches the entire first contact mission, starts a war, gets huge numbers of innocent people killed, and also kills all of the aliens. At the end he is lauded as a hero despite all this. (Not to mention that the aliens were invited to Earth in the first place).
- Every time we see an alien's face, the alien is looking scared, panicked or threatened. This includes shots of the aliens on land and in their ships.
- The aliens have multiple opportunities to kill the protagonist (and many others) and spare their life every time.
In short: peaceful aliens come to Earth after receiving a signal from humanity. Their communications ship hits something in orbit and crash lands. They attempt to use a communications satellite to phone home, but are assaulted from all sides by the hostile natives.
The subtext here is so blatant that it can't possibly be unintentional. However, I can find no reference to this anywhere (presumably because the movie was panned by critics so no-one took it seriously).
I guess I have a few questions with this in mind:
- The central assumption is that the aliens are trying to access the communications satellite to summon reinforcements for a hostile invasion. Is this ever explicitly stated in the film? Or is it simply an assumption made by an unreliable character?
- Is this reading of the text supported by the text itself, or have I missed something important?
- Has anyone involved in the making of the film ever alluded to this potential subtext?