Here’s where the Summer typically kicks into high gear, bringing out the big guns and other similar clichés – meant to signify armament and/or mechanical prowess – as a metaphor standing in for the competitive sweepstakes nature of mainstream Hollywood marketing.
To that end, June’s highlights were a visual illustration of this metaphor. Movies about giant mechanical objects wrecking shit (and each other) up.
It began in earnest, as McG rushed to get his giant robots movie out of the gate first. Did his head start pay off? I don’t know. I think this movie tanked. I also don’t remember much of it anymore. Give me a break, please. It’s been about a month since I saw it. I could barely remember it after 20 minutes. What sort of damage do you think a month would do to this ephemeral motion picture? Christian Bale was in it. He played a McGuffin who actually gets lines of dialog and entire sequences devoted to him. I hope it was fucking good because it’s useless now, isn’t it? Although, Bale got top billing because of his popularity and winning personality, the star of the film was a guy named Sam Worthington who played a busted-up action figure. Meanwhile, Anton Yelchin showed that he could build a cult following as a stand-up comic who impersonates Michael Biehn.
Other notes about my viewing experience: At some point, while looking at the spectacularly named actress Moon Bloodgood, I began to get an erection. Another actress I find attractive was also in this – Her name is Bryce Dallas Howard. I believe she played a piece of furniture (like a coat or hat rack) that occasionally speaks. There was also a cameo by a mannequin with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s face that brought down the house. Oh yeah, Helena Bonham Carter played an iMac. And, at some point, the movie was interrupted by an overblown sequel to Mad Max that takes place in a 7-Eleven. That movie was kind of cool. But then it was over and I had to sit through the other movie. The one about inanimate objects that speak and a guy who likes to yell at incompetent photographers.
That’s about all I can seriously remember about this movie.
What? Yes. Watchmen. Because the release of this film in Bolivia was held until June 11th. My initial viewing experience of this film was already covered in a previous blog. But I wanted to note that it was interesting to see the movie in a different context like this, surrounded by Hollywood blockbusters. As it is basically an intellectual popcorn movie, it seemed that much more impressive by comparison. The distributor hyped it like a summer blockbuster, complete with a television appearance featuring me as Dr. Manhattan and special effects during the premiere… Like fire effects, and an in-theater explosion with confetti falling on the audience during the film’s climactic blowout. It was unusual and the entire experience will be chronicled in an upcoming blog.
But sandwiched between Terminator and Transformers… It comes off like a gourmet smoked turkey and provolone with dijon mustard and lettuce, using toasted saltines as the bread that holds it together. But it still tastes good… Probably better if you eat it with a knife and fork. Because the crackers holding it together will crack and you’ll end up with crap all over your hands.
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
And then there was this…
In the beginning…there was THE CUBE.
In the sequel…there was THE SLIVER OF THE CUBE.
You know? I really don’t understand what all the fuss is about. I mean, I understand completely why this movie was generally disliked. That’s not hard to understand. Simply and succintly put – the movie is galactically stupid.
But so was the first one guys. Go back and see it again. I did. I watched it the night before viewing the sequel and saw what I saw two years ago… A stupid movie about giant robots kicking the shit out of each other over a cosmic cube.
It was entertaining.
I think what we have here is a case of MBSS – Michael Bay Sequel Syndrome. As I’m sure you’ll all recall, Bay’s last sequel was Bad Boys II: a spectacularly excessive piece of shit that has since picked up a bit of a cult following because of that excess. Transformers: ROTF(L) does what most sequels are supposedly made for. You liked those big robots? Here’s a couple more. You liked the funny bits? Here’s a few more. You liked the parents? Here they are again. You liked Turturro? Here he is again.
And why bother with a new script? The first one worked just fine for audiences all over the world.
The problem is that, two years ago, we had never seen a fucking stupid movie about giant robots kicking the shit out of each other over a cube. So we were thrilled by the novelty. Two years later, we’ve already seen this movie. And, a couple of weeks ago, we saw another fucking stupid movie about a giant robot busting up a 7-Eleven. So, walking out of this one, some probably felt like they had already seen this movie three times.
Three doses of stupid is a lot of stupid for some people.
But Michael Bay indulges in some interestingly daring things in this picture. To the extent that you wonder if he’s trying for something experimental and avant garde. He gives us an American film made by a major studio and released in the Summer of 2009 that features two ethnic caricatures that would be right at home in a Blake Edwards picture from 1961. He gives us two characters that could have been played by Al Jolson and Buster Keaton wearing black face in a delightful comic farce from 1929.
The film also wants to be topical by criticizing the current administration in these turbulent times. Love the way Tyrese Gibson rolls his eyes when he gets a load of the latest incompetent and pompous beurocrat that “the president just appointed.” Take that Obama! We are brave soldiers fighting a righteous war and you want us to back off?
I also love his examination of comic tropes that will probably never get old. Like your mom eating special brownies, freaking out and embarrassing you in college. Or the computer geek know-it-all who (gasp!) lives with his mom. Or the comic relief roommate who is also a computer geek know-it-all and gets dragged into the ruckus by the hero, so he can scream and say funny things about not wanting to die or go to prison.
That’s so retro.
So I guess Michael Bay’s latest big ticket is actually a pretty daring and interesting film. No one seems to see it that way and neither do I, but there it is. And it made about a billion dollars in 2 days. We’ll get another one of these fuckers in a couple of years. Don’t worry.
So, let’s recap…
The first one was about huge toys kicking the shit out of each other over a giant cube.
The second one is about huge toys beating the fuck out of each other over a little metal sliver with a blue energy crystal in the middle of it.
I look forward to Transformers: The Fall Of Galvatron. It will be just as thrilling to see huge toys tear the piss out of each other over a giant Susan B Anthony dollar, with a red button in the center of it that deactivates the universe.
I’ll be first in line and so will you.
So far, the score stands at Star Trek – 2. The rest – NIL. (With an honorable mention for Watchmen, but that doesn’t really count)
July brings us Harry Potter (if they bring a subtitled copy), the unnecessary Pelham remake and Public Enemies.
The score may shift slightly, but not in any way that actually impacts these results.