Does the idea of a blockbuster based on a board game float your boat? If so, read on...

It was hardly a surprise that the success of the Transformers films spurred toy maker Hasbro into searching its warehouses for other properties to turn into potential blockbusters. But who would have ever thought that at the top of its list of contenders would be the board game Battleship?

Naturally, a few changes have had to be made for this cinematic take on the material, with the game's traditional ship-vs-ship combat replaced by the US Navy taking on alien invaders. But at least the movie shoe-horns in a sequence where the Navy is firing blind at night, trying to predict where the enemy is.

It is of course a very, very stupid film. Not to mention ridiculously long and jingoistic. But as far as dumb popcorn flicks go, Battleship is no worse than the Transformers flicks that inspired its existence, and millions of people seem to love them.

Picture: While Battleship is unlikely to end up nabbing any Oscars (a handful of Razzies is the more likely outcome), this Blu-ray platter is a real award-winner when it comes to picture quality. Indeed, the AVC-encoded 2.40:1 1080p presentation of the film is nothing short of flawless, with nary a trace of edge-enhancement, crush, noise or other encoding anomalies to spoil the sensational hi-def imagery.

The most striking elements are the depth of colour saturation and impeccable clarity, which lend the visuals a real sense of depth and dimensionality – a feeling that's supported by the insanely high levels of detail evident in almost every shot. Even the very darkest scenes hold up to close scrutiny, thanks to excellent black levels that still contain a wealth of visual information.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: As impressive as the 1080p visuals may be, Battleship's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is the true standout feature of Universal's BD release. Designed to be played loud and proud, the film's sound design pulls you into a world of shock and awe with its combination of excellent dynamic range and explosive raw power.

Once the aliens take out the first Naval destroyer in Chapter 7 the mix barely stops for breath. Between the ferocious use of spatial effects around the full speaker array (the amount of play the rears receive should serve as a lesson to all future blockbusters) and the devastating low-end frequencies, it's the kind of surround experience that will keep your windows rattling and have the neighbours banging on the walls.

Impressively, despite the multilayered and chaotic nature of the audio, the soundtrack never loses track of the dialogue either. To put it simply, audio rarely gets any more accomplished or any more enjoyable. Buy the disc for this alone.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: This UK Blu-ray release of Battleship may sink the opposition with its AV performance, but it fares less well when it comes to bonus features.

Having grown rather tired of Universal's usual U-Control functionality, it's great to see the studio branching out and trying something different with its presentation of picture-in-picture content. Or rather, it would have been great to see, if the studio hadn't made the baffling decision to ditch the All Access with Peter Berg feature from this UK disc.

Akin to Warner's Maximum Movie Mode, All Access… mixes PiP video commentary from the director with interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and other tidbits to rather impressive effect – or so I've been told by those who have actually experienced it on the US Blu-ray.

Also missing from the UK release is a Second Screen Experience that appeared on the US Blu-ray. Maybe the bigwigs at Universal are under the belief that nobody in the UK owns a tablet or laptop. But enough of what's not on the disc. Let's take a look at what is on offer instead…

The bulk of the material takes the form of short behind-the-scenes featurettes. Preparing for Battle (11 mins) is a look at the board game and the process of adapting elements from it into a film. All-Hands on Deck: The Cast (12 mins) gives director Peter Berg the chance to praise each of his actors in turn. Engage in Battle: Shooting at Sea (3 mins) and Engage in Battle: All Aboard the Fleet (4 mins) are a quick look at the difficulties of shooting at sea and onboard real ships. Commander Pete (6 mins) gives the cast a chance to offer their thoughts on Berg. And The Visual Effects of Battleship (12 mins) does exactly what it says on the tin, and lets members of the ILM VFX team prattle on about creating the film's aliens and their vessels/weapons.

Rounding off this disappointing bunch are an Alternate Ending Previsualisation (8 mins), which was thankfully ditched during production, and a 20-minute tour of the USS Missouri battleship. The Blu-ray also includes a videogame trailer and My Scenes functionality.
Extras rating: 2/5

We say: This rather average blockbuster dazzles on Blu-ray with its sensational AV performance

Universal Pictures, Region B BD, £25 Approx, On sale now