Saturday, July 2, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Michael Bay Action Movie #9. That's how many people will look at Transformers: Dark of the Moon. And I cant really say I disagree with them. But the difference is... I actually really enjoy (most of) Michael Bay's films. Do any of them have intricate and/or compelling stories? No, not particularly. But the man knows how to make a solid action flick. That is for sure. I really don't want to start this review off all "Michael Bay! Michael Bay! Michael Bay!", but I think I need to address my position on the dude. I am well-aware that his films are mindless action. I know he owns his copy of "How To Make A Movie" with the "Characters" and "Story" chapters ripped out. But guess what? He DOES know how to make a movie. He just needs to hire the proper writers. But when I walk out of a Michael Bay film (even Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), I never feel ripped off (well, that kinda also has to do with being a theatre manager and not having to pay). But what I mean by that is, he DOES give you his bang for your buck. Literally. There is a reason the films cost so much. And that's the production value. The FX, the locations, and the all-around scale of the film.

People can complain about his movies being FX-heavy. Well? Fuck off. You can complain about films being too FX-heavy if their FX are terrible. And even though I voice my pro-Bay opinion with a slightly less defensive tone, I will battle anyone who says his films' FX are "shitty" or "terrible". Feel the way you want about him (and I can totally see why people hate his films). But do NOT trash the FX. That is the one thing he is more talented at than anyone. Bringing great special FX to the big screen. And no, that doesnt make a film good. But it certainly helps a great deal. Alright, Ive said what I needed to say. Now to TFDOTM. No, not "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", "Total Fucking Destruction On The Maximum Level". Okay, so there's no "L". I thought it was clever enough to not have to waste it. Im an idiot. The review...

2007, Transformers. A fun, surprisingly entertaining movie. Didnt know how much you could do with a live action toy franchise film. But it was fun enough to lure me back for the second. 2009, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Eh. Everyone trashes it, but I look at it for what it is... Robots punching each other in the dick. And dont kid yourself, that is what they are. But the first has that element of surprise. The second was just more of the same, just longer. People seemed to think they could take more away from an orgy-of-metal film. As much as I can enjoy Revenge of the Fallen, I do admit it was a far lesser film. Now, 2011, we have Transformers: Dark of the Moon. And I can honestly say that surprise element is back. And that's only due to Revenge of the Fallen falling off the wagon a bit. Had Revenge been just as good at the first, there would be no surprise in Dark of the Moon being good. It would just be expected. But Bay hopped back on the wagon again, and really made a solid Transformers film again.

With Dark of the Moon, he made some good decisions and some bad decisions. First, the good. He erased those fucking terrible twin ebonic robots. Unlike most people, I wasnt offended by them in the second film. What is there to be offended by? So what? They speak like black people. If you were offended, just piss off. The problem with the ebonic robots was that they were FUCKING ANNOYING. And luckily, Bay had enough sense to scrap them for this film. That isn't to say that he doesnt have stupid robots in this. Just not on level of retardation as Skids and Mudflap. Another thing done right by Bay was that he scaled the film down. But by JUST enough. Pirates 4 tried to scale it down from the third film, and it just made it fucking BORING. Pirates 4 felt so damn bland because it needed to feel bigger. Dark of the Moon had just the right size and scope. Granted, the film is still HUGE. But it's not all over the world. The film mostly takes place in D.C. and Chicago.

Now... The bad. As expected, the humor. Or as I call it "Michael Bay Humor". I dont think I really need to elaborate on what that is, but I will anyway. Bay has the humor of an 5th grader. And that's not to say I dont have the humor of a child, but I dont make $200 million dollar films with 5th grader humor. And you know what? Every 15 childish jokes, does come that one guilty laugh. It sometimes CAN make you laugh. But I dont forget why Im sitting in that seat. It's because I want to hear robot dicks clanking together for 2 and a half hours. But my 5th grader humor aside, Bay is pretty terrible at humor. But when it is humorous, it's usually only humorous in the "laughing at you" kind of way.

The FX. Again, Bay and his team managed to make my brain hurt. And I mean that in a good way. Im very rarely confused with who's fighting who, as most people are. That's not the reason my brain hurt. The real reason is because I cannot understand, and probably never will understand how they manage to create such incredible FX. I still cant fathom how it's done. I understand that it is a plethora of animation artists, but that doesnt make it any less easier to comprehend. My hat goes off to all the sketch artists, the concept artists, the rendering artists, the animation artists, everyone. Each and every dollar really does show up on screen.

The 3D. This film has been praised to have the best 3D since Avatar. And I can say that I would agree with that. I dont particularly think it's better than Avatar's 3D, but it does a hold a light to it. Im happy Cameron convinced Bay to shoot in 3D before shooting. Because the last thing I would want Paramount to do with Dark of the Moon, is post-convert it as they did with their previous and upcoming releases for this year. Thor's post-conversion wasn't bad, but it doesnt really sell 3D in a GREAT light. And to my giant surprise, Bay didn't really pull any "Comin-At-Ya" 3D tricks. The film actually has less 3D gimmicks than Avatar. I would expect the opposite from Michael Bay.

The cast. Bay managed to round up an impressive cast. Well actually... They're all just Coen Brothers steals. Ill give him John Tutoro since he's been in every film since the first. But to bring John Malkovich and Frances McDormand into the mix, I liked that. McDormand was pretty okay. Nothing special. But I liked her in this. Malkovich was.. Well... Bay-ized. Michael Bay managed to turn him into a typical stupid Michael Bay character, but a fun stupid Michael Bay character. Basically, John Malkovich plays a Boston-accented Bob Barker. He talks like Matt Damon, but looks like he slept in Bob Barker's spray-tan soaked bed. As I said, his character was stupid, just not annoying stupid. Guilty-laugh stupid. And that's good enough for me in a Michael Bay film. Shia LeBeouf is Shia LeBeouf in this. Not particularly likeable, but not annoying-as-fuck as he can be. And his new girlfriend. Well, it's another case of Michael Bay casting a super model instead of an actress. So many people complain about Megan Fox's absence. Uh...What's the difference? Neither can act to save a short bus of retarded children. To me, it was like replacing a mannequin with a pull-string with another mannequin with a pull-string. Except... This mannequin looks like a duck. I dont know if Rosie Huntington-Whiteley spent money to get her lips to look like that, or needs to spend money to get them fixed. Regardless, I still think Megan Fox and Rosie Huntington were two broads who were getting boned by Michael Bay and happened to walk in front of the cameras for 3 movies.

I always hate vaguely writing about the end of the film because it's usually the worst or best part of the film. And you usually feel the most passionately about something you love or hate. Let's put it this way: If you have read any reviews on TF3, the end IS the best part of the film. For a solid 40+ minutes, it really stays strong. Ive read that it's "cant breathe great". No. There are a few minutes of down-time between each giant robot-destruction beat, but it's not dull downtime. All I can say aside from that is that THAT is where the 3D looks the absolute best. The fucking jumper pilot shots are just as good as anything Avatar 3D.

Wrapping up, see Transformers: Dark of the Moon if you are interested. If you're not a fan of Transformers, dont waste your time. And see it in 3D. It may not be as good as Avatar's 3D, but damnit, it's close. Dont feel like paying the 3D price? Steal glasses from the recycled glasses bin (have fun with that pink eye!). Just dont do it at my theatre. Ill kick your ass out.

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