Thursday, July 7, 2011
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
I did not buy the Hasbro action figures. I did not watch the cartoon. I did not see the first two Transformers movies. But it’s summer, right? What better popcorn movie than one about giant action figure robot aliens duking it out in the middle of Chicago? Yes, moments of this movie gloriously tap into my adolescent love of Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, et al smashing through Tokyo. All those Japanese Toho productions had an inherent cheese factor of men dressed like monsters stomping around a brightly lit papier-mâché set knocking over pressboard buildings and stomping model trains.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third in the series (T3), doesn’t need cardboard and plaster. Director Michael Bay has 200 million plus in our money (money we paid to see the first two movies) and he’s going to spackle the 3-D of our dreams with robot metal that shreds everything in sight.
maquiladoras. What are the Decepticons’ major industries? Who knows?
Shia LaBeouf, back after the first two Transformer flicks, as Sam Witwicky who apparently is buddies with one of the Autobots who is, during its downtime, a cool yellow sports car. Sam has a hot girlfriend, Carly, who pays the rent on the huge, old apartment they share in D.C. Carly is played by supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who is British. The accent goes a long way to mitigating her acting, which actually isn’t bad. Megan Fox was famously not brought back for T3, apparently after she publicly called Michael Bay a Nazi, drawing the ire of T3 producer Steven Spielberg. Anyway, one pretty face replaced with another. This is Michael Bay’s world; we only pay money to see it.
Battle: Los Angeles from earlier this year, where alien spacecraft hovered on the skyline, trailing tendrils and releasing deadly patrols.
Harold Lloyds on steroids. Or a Looney Tunes short. The building, meanwhile, gets gutted and sliced by the most impressive Decepticon (they all have names, but I can’t remember them all) that looks like a cross between a moving drill bit and a deadly sandworm.
sound design got to do with it?
Sound design “most commonly involves the manipulation of previously composed or recorded audio, such as music and sound effects.” The sound design for T3 seemed lacking. Too often the sound effects accompanying a particular action was sparse, stripped down. It was as if the sound designer chose to concentrate on one type or layer of sound, forgoing the entire possible sound experience. It was distracting when an explosion, car crash, or some ‘bot destruction didn’t yield expected sound results. The action could have been fuller, more potent, if they had taken more time putting together the soundtrack. The transformers all talk, and sometimes when they transform and fight, they utter clichéd aphorisms. Maybe the sound designer didn’t want to drown out the sparkling transformer dialogue of writer Ehren Kruger.
Theater location: Lowell Showcase, Thursday, June 30th, 6:40 pm. Price: 15.00! Viewed solo. Snack: Twizzlers, almonds.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Effective and disturbing, this new origins POTA cuts right into our collective primal fears. At least, one of them: apes becoming sentient and taking over. And not in a cuddly way from the look of this mesmerizing trailer. In a way that has them attacking a highway of cars and expertly throwing axes. With James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, and Brian Cox.
Cowboys & Aliens. The more I watch this trailer, the more likely I am not to see it. It just doesn't look like much fun. Harrison Ford hasn't looked like he's enjoyed himself making a movie since the early '80s. And Daniel Craig sucks any humor or lightness out of all he surveys. But hey, maybe I'm wrong and it's great. As a father said to his son in the row behind me after this trailer ended: "They've run out of stuff to make movies about." Amen brother.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Wow, this doesn't look like kid's stuff. It looks intense. It looks like they took all the money made from the previous movies and dumped it into this final installment. And it's in 3-D.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Tom Cruise still looks good running fast. This installment actually looks like it could kickstart this franchise, in a good way. This time Cruise has surrounded himself with a good cast, including Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Josh Holloway, and Tom Wilkinson.
Real Steel. Oh man, this looks bad. Hugh Jackman plays a father (?) who disappoints some kid (his son?) and makes it up to him by training his dilapidated robot to fight in the ring. Yes, robots. Fighting in the ring. I really thought this was a movie based on Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots. But I guess they couldn't get the rights. The acting looks poor, the film grainy and grimy.
Captain America: The First Avenger. This seems to strike the right balance of action and humor and awe. Which is what comic books are all about. And something last month's Green Lantern lacked. Chris Evans plays the titular Captain. He starts out as a short, 90 pound weakling transformed into Cap America through an experiment. Nice hook. Then he goes and fights Nazis during WWII. Co-starring Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones, and Derek Luke.