Friday, July 1, 2011

The Blog That's Too Long and Too Scattered

Everyone has an opinion about Transformers director Michael Bay. Most critics say he is all style and no substance and others say he makes the most visually exciting and entertaining movies today. I’d say I’m somewhere in between. Although I find almost all of his movies to be pretty iffy in the realms of acting, plot, and geography, I am almost always entertained by the visual effects, camera work, and explosions.

It was because of these opinions I had towards Bay that I was actually excited when he was announced as the director of the first Transformers live action film. I felt Michael Bay was the right choice to bring giant alien robots that changed into cars and trucks because the idea was both visually intriguing and lacking in true logic. So it seemed like a match made in heaven, and truthfully, the first transformers film was exactly what I wanted it to be. It had just enough story to hold itself together between giant action scenes with some of the best CGI I have ever seen (and I hate CGI in most cases). There was never a point that I felt like it was trying to be more than what it was supposed to be, a high octane popcorn flick.

Then came the second film. When I first saw trailers for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen I was pretty excited. Most of the cast and crew from the first one were returning and it looked like they were staying true to what had come before, but were going to amp it up even more. Apparently you can’t capture lightning in a bottle twice because I felt that the second Transformers was silly, inconsistent, way too long, and not particularly fun to sit through. It may have been my fault, but I was expecting a lot more from Michael Bay and co. from this one.

Despite my lack of affection for the second film, I was anxiously awaiting Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Both Michael Bay and star Shia Labeouf had expressed their feelings of disappointment over how the last film had turned out and were sure that the third,and until it makes way more money, last installment was going to be the best in the series. The early buzz was positive and even the first reviews were saying it had the strongest story and stunning visuals. I was ready to give the franchise another chance so I was going along for the ride.

And what did I get with Transformers 3? Well I saw the movie at the very first IMAX 3D showing on Tuesday and ever since then I have been trying to figure out how to answer that question. On one hand, the action scenes were better than ever, and the most developed character in the whole movie was Optimus Prime. Finally a transformer and not a human gets some substance. There was also the 3D which I usually find worthless, but it was put to proper use here in certain scenes. I got a lot of robots blowing stuff up, which is exactly what I wanted.

But on the other hand I can honestly say it was the most brainless movie I have ever seen. The script felt like it was written in crayon and the story pitch had to have been a 5 year old mashing his Transformers toys together. It jumped from character to character with no flow or rhythm and never really got any further than where the impressive first five minutes took us. People complained about the annoying, jar jar binks like, robots Skids and Mudflap from the second film, and the filmmakers said they took them out of this one. They did, but the neglected to mention they replaced them with new transformers that were just as obnoxious that took away any emotional weight the film might have had.

The human characters weren’t doing much either. Megan Fox’s replacement Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wasn’t any better, but she wasn’t really worse considering that all the actor’s were doing a pretty rough if not phoned in job. There were also the forced, annoying, and worthless cameos by the likes of John Malkovich and Ken Jeong that could’ve been cut and not missed. I don’t blame them though, since the whole film felt like a series of scenes that were filmed like a jigsaw puzzle, but not put together as a whole piece.

Even with all that, I still prefer Dark of the Moon over Revenge of the Fallen. But with an extremely abrupt ending that left me asking what the hell I just watched, and still trying piece together my brain that was turned to mush, I’m not sure it’s a movie I can say was actually good.

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