Sunday, January 22, 2012

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

A bunch of shit all happening at the same time in Transformers: Dark of the Moon
 * out of ****

I hate Michael Bay. There are few successful directors working today who come close to my disdain for him. I dislike his movies so much, I think I need to see a shrink to find a psychoanalytical explanation for why there is an awful bad-fast-food taste in my mouth when I watch a movie by him. What is clear, is the annoying combination of kinetic visuals and maxed-out sound mix that all his movies have. There is also the shallow perspective of his characters and subject matter. If there are middle school or high school teachers who show Pearl Harbor to students in history class, they ought to be ashamed. Why? Because Michael Bay films are stupid and even with a profound historical subject like the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he couldn't help but give America a dumb outlook on it's own history.

So here's what I have to say about Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Needless to say, I didn't like the first Transformers movie and I walked out on the second one. I am honestly willing to give any of them a chance because giant robots fighting amongst the skyscrapers of a major city is cool. ILM's special effects are always guaranteed to deliver... and then Michael Bay is always guaranteed to make the action unintelligible. The extent of my respect for him is that he is a hard-working director of high production standards. That doesn't amount to much when he seems inept at knowing how to make a character like-able or how to pace a movie so that there is a sense of payoff. I'm sure that in his love-life, he skips foreplay and immediately employs a jack-hammer. You can sit down and watch a Bay movie and see a scene of great spectacle, top-notch special effects, intense editing, and music that is coming to an apocalyptic swell -and it's only thirty minutes in. He's skipped over giving the audience a reason to care about what's going on. That could be perceived as a movie that's like a ride -but it's not. He cuts way too much and his shot's don't manage lead from one to the next with any kind of grace. It's disjointed chaos and the closest thing I could relate that to is a giant videogame you can't play.

Describing how I feel about Bay films, I would think, would describe how I feel about this one. But I'll try to describe the film's highlights to the best of my recollection: All the Transformers betray their amazing design by talking like dopey cartoon characters and are given dialogue that sound's like pre-recorded cliches. In a movie that's trying to bring a cartoon to the real-world, the Transformers should be more interesting than the humans. Alas the movie's real concern lies with the deflated ego of Sam Witwicky who just wants a little recognition as a savior of the world (from the events of the previous films), is having a little trouble with the relationship stability with his replacement babe, and is stuck with an embarrassing car. In a Michael Bay film, a man's in a lot of trouble when he doesn't have his hot babe and cool car. 

He goes job-hunting in what I guess is Bay and screen-writer Ehren Kruger's excuse for comically driven character exposition. Bay says he's inspired by the humor of the Coen Brothers... I'll find another opportunity to expound on that weird claim in a future review. This portion of the movie is scarce on explosions but heavy on what Bay must perceive as awkward humor without a grain of subtlety. Craziness breaks out. Leonard Nimoy does the voice of a traitorous Autobot who joins the Deceptacons to take over the world with Chicago as their home base. The Autobots are banished but -surprise- come back anyway. Sam's babe is in trouble. The Soldiers who have been in all three films without an ounce of character development show up to resist the occupation showing off new military tech which is supposed to impress us even though it's being showcased in a movie about giant robots. Things blow up. A great amount of complication in the plot ensues and I have a headache.

Here is Half in the Bag's review.
Sometimes, I think there is a lack of objectivity when I watch a Bay film. I feel as if there is anything being offended more than my eyes and ears, it is my sense of morality. He seems to love things that I think are bad: Egotistical protagonists, materialism, negative racial-ethnic-gender-sexuality stereotypes, militarism, and American supremacism. There are people out there who will never be offended by such things. Bay has an audience and I'm afraid I don't speak for them... 

But here's someone who speaks for me:
Check out this scathing review of this movie and Michael Bay's career from AICN.

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