Thursday, June 30, 2011
Pine Scented Shit
Well, just a few minutes ago, my brother and I walked back in after having sat down to watch "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" and, I can say that this was easily the best movie of this franchise. It was a huge improvement over "Revenge of the Fallen." It was even better than the first movie.
I hated it.
Yes, I went in with full intent to savage it, for your entertainment. I wasn't there as a fan, I was there as an amateur critic. Yes, I went in biased as hell against it. And honestly, the movie didn't even meet the low expectations. More on that in a moment. But for now, I will talk about the few things I did like, before I move on to everything else.
I liked Leonard Nimoy as Sentinel Prime a lot more than I expected to. It helps that it was Leonard Nimoy. It also helps that Sentinel had an actual motive in this that we could understand. He wanted to save his world. I still don't know what Megatron wanted with the cube in the first movie, it was really generic. The Fallen was even more generic, with no understandable motive beyond wanting to blow up the sun. So, Sentinel was a huge step up. I'd like to see this particular interpretation of the character return in other "Transformers" fiction. And just to show how honestly positive I'm being, I don't grade on a curve. I actually liked this character.
Shockwave was really cool. I would have preferred to see a lot more of him. But what we saw, I liked. He was genuinely menacing. So was his giant Sarlaac pet. I wish he was given a lot more to do, and I would have liked it if they had gotten David Warner to voice him, as Corey Burton suggested after he turned the part down. But, I guess Warner would have been wasted since Shockwave only had two lines. I'll get to that in a moment.
I think my favorite character in this movie, and in any live action "Transformers" movie had to be Laserbeak. He was pretty creepy. I liked his design. I liked that he was an assassin, and he killed annoying characters like Deep Wang. Ugh, more on Deep Wang in a moment.
Oh, and I loved seeing Buzz Aldrin. The real Buzz Aldrin make a cameo in the movie.
And now, everything else. Where do I start?
I really, really, really, really, really, really, really despise Sam Witwicky, and I despise Shia Labeouf (hereafter known as Shit the Beef) as that character. I wanted to see Sam die violently within two minutes. He spends most of the first half of the movie whining and moaning about how much his life sucks because he can't find a job. I suppose this was done to make us relate to him, especially considering the current economy, and how high unemployment is. Like Sam, I too have a college degree, and I to am having a lot of trouble finding a stable job. But, what does Sam have?
- He's living in a beautiful apartment in Washington D.C. that is two stories, and has ceilings twenty feet above the floor, so Bumblebee can walk around in them.
- He is living with and fucking an underwear model played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who is happily paying all of his bills.
- He has a medal of honor from President Obama.
- The Federal government paid for his Ivy League education, so he has no student loan bills.
Yes, being unemployed sucks. But don't give us that "woe is me" act, Sam Witwicky. You are still living the dream life. Shut the fuck up, and be fucking grateful. Most of us are really struggling. Piece of shit crybaby. I was really, really, really hoping they'd kill Sam off in this thing. Forget Skids and Mudflap, Sam Witwicky is the most annoying character in this franchise.
Skids and Mudflap weren't in this thing, but they were replaced by robots almost as annoying. Wheelie comes back, fuck me. He was joined by... what was his name? I just call him the Treasure Troll. He even had that hair.
Speaking of hair, they had this scientist/inventor who I guess was supposed to be Wheeljack, but no name was ever mentioned. He was annoying too, and he literally pulled these new anti-Decepticon weapons for the humans to use straight out of his ass. Was that supposed to be funny? I asked this question a lot.
Another time I asked that question was during the Deep Wang scene. The Asian character is named Jerry Wang, and then he assaults and almost ass-rapes Sam in a men's room, while whispering "Deep Wang, deep wang." I was so happy when Laserbeak killed this prick. My brother said "Thank you!"
John Turturo's ex-Agent Simmons returns, much to my chagrin. They didn't show us his ass and balls this time, but he was still annoying. I was nodding and agreeing with Bill O'Reilly when he called him a pinhead. This was a character I didn't need to see again, and he contributed nothing at all to the movie.
And then there was his bodyguard, played by Alan Tudyk. Tudyk played this overly effeminate gay character, straight out of the stereotype playbook. It was almost as bad as Skids and Mudflap. Bay did the impossible, he made me hate Wash. Do you know what I ended up wanting to see? This!
Optimus Prime, once again, did not feel like Optimus Prime. As in "Revenge of the Fallen," he was just so bloodthirsty and violent. Yes, I get he's fighting a war against a dangerous enemy. But they gave him dialogue that's fit for a Decepticon. Lines such as "we will kill them all!" and "die!" as he killed Shockwave. And then, he executed Sentinel at the end while Sentinel was begging for his life. That's fine if it's a character like Grimlock, or Ironhide. But that is so not Optimus Prime. After Megatron blasts Sentinel, he asks Prime for a truce, and Prime kills him. I liked Optimus in the first movie, when Megatron died he said "you left me no choice." He took no pleasure in it. But as of the second and third movie...
This Optimus Prime is an evil, vindictive asshole. When the government kicks them off the planet (they never really leave), Optimus just sits back and lets Chicago be destroyed by the Decepticons, at least a million people die in this. An entire city is destroyed, and all so we can "learn our lesson" that the robots with the red eyes are evil. Optimus lets a million people die. If that's not evil, I don't know what is.
Megatron was, once again, completely wasted. He's barely in the first movie, and then he dies at the hands of Sam Witwicky of all characters. In the second one, he's nothing but the Fallen's bitch and gets curbstomped with his master, quite easily I might add, by Optimus Prime. And then, in this one. The first time we see him, he transforms in Africa and announces to all the animals, "all hail Megatron!" Really? Are you expecting the animals to bow to you, Megatron? And then, he barely does a damn thing except get bitch-slapped by Sentinel Prime, allow the underwear model to manipulate him, and then when he and Optimus fight, Optimus... who has just had his arm chopped off by Sentinel Prime, kills him in three seconds. He cuts off Megatron's head, and his face is still attached to the axe.
"GIVE ME YOUR FACE!"
Okay, Optimus doesn't say that this time. And considering how unintentionally hilarious that was in the second movie, part of me would have been a tad disappointed if Megatron didn't have his face cut off. I have this scene in my head of Optimus placing Megatron's face on his wall, next to the Fallen's and other Decepticon faces and saying "at last, my collection is finally complete." Or is it, Sam mentioned earlier on that Laserbeak tried to cut his face off, and I said to myself, "no Sam, that's Optimus's job."
But Megatron is the Big Bad of the entire franchise, and he was such a puss in this series. He was even more pathetic than the Megatron of the G1 cartoon, and that's saying something. How do you pull that off? He deserved a lot better than his showing in these movies.
The rest of the robots are all, when Sentinel killed one of them, I had to turn to my brother and ask if that was Ironhide. They're all so interchangeable. And the Decepticons, forget about it. Shockwave is the only one that really stood out. Everyone looked the same, and had the same Megatron-like face. I kept forgetting which one was Soundwave. Oh, and Soundwave has a hentai tentacle mode. I guess he's been to Japan.
In his review, Spoony said that the movie is better if you walk in ninety minutes late. And he's not wrong, but the last hour, clearly the best part, was actually not as good as I expected. Bay reigned in the shaky cam, and you could actually see what was happening this time. But everything was really underwhelming. Throughout this movie, he evoked imagery similar to the Challenger blowing up, and September 11th. And while many directors do similar, it falls flat on its face because you don't give a damn about the characters. It's all exploitation, but an audience will overlook it if we care about the characters who are in jeopardy. We don't.
This especially stands out when the Decepticons are about to start executing the Autobot captives. Bay wanted you to feel something during this scene, but we spent so little time with these characters, we felt nothing. The Transformers were barely guest-stars in their own movie. I was just watching it, and I didn't care. I yawned. And I shouldn't. No one is coming to these movies to see Shit the Beef, or the underwear model, or John Malkovich, John Turturro, or any of these people. We come to see the Transformers, and we barely get them.
The scene where they are in the skyscraper that is tipping over. Imagine how much better it would have been if you actually liked these people. And never mind how comical it is that Decepticons don't look in side windows to see them hiding behind desks and columns, and they all fall through a lot of broken glass, and the underwear model's hair is still perfect, her makeup is still perfect, and she has no cuts of any kind. She looks like she stepped off a runway.
Okay, as much crap as I'm giving Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, she was leagues better than Megan Fox. While Fox came off as nothing but fake and skanky, at least Rosie was somewhat charming. She was by no means offensive, like Megan Fox was. And she was actually pretty sexy. She was a better actress than Megan Fox also. She was by no means a good actress, but she didn't detract from the movie like Megan Fox did. Although, I laughed at that scene where she stares at the camera with Megan Fox's old "DURRR!" expression while things are exploding behind her and around her for thirty seconds.
Okay, I have another question. Sentinel Prime and the Decepticons bring Cybertron into our atmosphere, and the planet is at least five times larger than Earth. You look up into the sky, and all you see is Cybertron. And yet, it's still daylight out. Still bright day. Shouldn't the sun have been blocked out, shouldn't it be pitch black? Will someone out there who knows more than I do enlighten me?
Starscream dies like a bitch in this, which is appropriate since he is a bitch. But he dies at the hands of Sam Witwicky, who is swinging from his eye. Uh... what? As bitchy as Starscream is, he doesn't deserve this. That was such a lame way to go. And while I am at it, no where in this entire movie franchise did Starscream ever even attempt to betray Megatron. All he did was suck up to him and kiss his ass. Just call him Cyclonus and be done with it!
Oh, and about half way through the movie, Sentinel Prime delivers an ultimatum to the world. "We just want a few resources to restore our planet. Banish the Autobots, and will leave after we have taken them" and guess what, the humans do it! And then everyone acts shocked that the Decepticons lied! Really. Really. The Decepticons lied. Who woulda thunk it?
And while I am adding to my list of grievances, at the beginning of this film, they intercut archive footage of Kennedy with an actor playing him. The actor looks nothing like the real Kennedy, and it is obvious, especially when they are cutting back and forth between them. Either just use archive footage, or just use an actor. Don't do both. And this was not necessary either. Kennedy was only in this thing for maybe ten seconds.
Bay had to again show off his fetish for the US military. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the US military. I have nothing but the utmost respect for our armed forces. But this was downright pornographic. He wanted to show this cool scene of marine in these new parachute suits gliding into Decepticon-occupied Chicago, and while it was cool, it was pointless. Maybe three hundred troops fly in, and only twelve make it. The troops who do make it in, sneak in on foot, or come up out of the water. The para-troops were entirely pointless, and sending them in when an entire armada of hundreds of Decepticons controlled the airspace of Chicago is just terrible military tactics.
And, as much as I liked Sentinel and Leonard Nimoy, I hated that they felt the need to keep reminding us that "Spock" was in this movie. From the very beginning where Wheelie and the Treasure Troll are watching TV. "Oh, this is the one where Spock goes crazy" to Sentinel's "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" as he's about to bring Cybertron to Earth. Huh... what many? Cybertron is a dead world. The Earth has the "many." ugh.
And Sam's parents. Oh fuck, those parents. Well, his dad isn't so bad. But his mom. I cannot stand his mom. In the first movie, she asks if he's masturbating; in the second, she eats these pot brownies and behaves in a manner that no one who is high or stoned ever does; and in this one, she suggests to her son's face that he gets these girls because he has a big dick. That is not cute or funny, that is fucking retarded. I was really, really hoping she'd get eaten by a Decepticon.
I could keep on going, but I won't. I will close it out with the following thoughts on this trilogy.
There were three decent movies in this franchise somewhere. But they made the mistakes of hiring a director who didn't give a shit about the Transformers, or even the craft of filmmaking. They turned the title characters into barely present guest stars, and chose instead to focus on Shit the Beef as the most annoying movie character since Jar Jar Binks. The comic relief was never, ever funny.
I believe good live action "Transformers" movies are possible, and maybe we'll get them with the inevitable reboot. Just get a director who cares, and remember that the Transformers are your stars. Not some dweeb and his supermodel girlfriend. No one cares about them.
This trilogy sucked.
If you absolutely must see a movie about war this week, with characters you care about, great comic relief, and two great romantic leads, see this one:
And before anyone says "how dare you compare these two movies. Bay isn't trying to make Oscar winners, you pretentious douche" then let me remind you that Michael Curtiz didn't set out to make one either. He wasn't trying to make anything except the best movie he could. What was the quote? I know I'm getting this wrong but "we were contracted to make forty movies that year, and all "Casablanca" was at the time was number twenty-three."
Put a little effort into it. Create characters we care about, create a decent story. You can do that with anything, even Transformers. And if all you Transformers fans think that all you need is robots hitting each other and explosions, well, you're the ones reducing a great franchise to little more than "Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots." Not I.
Or, if you must see transforming robots this weekend, go watch the three-part "The Ultimate Doom." Similar plot, a lot of stupid, but not anger inducing stupid.