Ho-hum. Anyone who's read this site for any length of time is aware that I have no love for the Bayformer movies. As is now our tradition, Dollface and I sallied forth to the theater, armed ourselves with beer and snacks, and dug in for yet another installment. I went also armed with the foreknowledge that Age of Extinction was garnering the lowest rating yet in the series on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic — which, considering how poorly reviewed the previous three installments were, is almost a feat in itself. But perhaps my greatest dread was watching my most-disliked actor, "Marky" Mark Wahlberg, for over 150 minutes.
So what did I think? Spoilers ahead ...
Honestly, I'd have to say that more than anything I was bored. There was barely anything interesting about what was going on. I knew the core characters were never in any real jeopardy — hell, they barely got dirty. I had no investment in any of the Autobots, they were just hollow tin men (the gruff sergeant, the wildly stereotypical samurai, the Aussie hothead, etc). Stanley Tucci had the best dialogue in the film and his character had a little bit of depth, but not enough to carry things. It's always nice seeing Kelsey Grammar play a bad-ass, but his role had little meat. In general, the movie was just an excuse to go from one pointless action scene to another. I was bored.
My lovely wife Heather, aka Dollface, has long been an enabler of my Transformers addiction, supporting my purchases, lending an ear when I babble about them, helping me dust and clean them, and more. I've long wanted her to do a guest-post here, offering a spouse's-eye view on the topic. After all, she's a writer! For instance, she recently started a horror movie review site, Movies In The Dark. Unbelievably, despite having watched nearly 700 horror movies, she'd never seen Transformers: The Movie, the bone-chilling 1986 animated feature. Eager to correct this oversight, and unwilling to pass up such an elegant synergistic opportunity, I happily present to you Dollface's sensational review...
When Adam and I started dating back in 1999 I thought he was the coolest guy I'd ever met. He was handsome, intelligent, funny, and he was a fucking rock star. And then he introduced me to his Transformers collection. At first I didn't know what to make of it. Sure, I grew up in the '80s and was aware that Transformers existed. But when I went to the toy store I was in the Barbie aisle. When I bought comic books at the drug store I was reaching for Archie. And when I was watching cartoons my channel was fixed to Scooby-Doo. I didn't have brothers and what male cousins I did have were playing with He-Man. I myself owned the Crystal Castle. Transformers were just that "boy's show" that I had to channel surf through to get to Duck Tales.
Not in my wildest imagination would I have anticipated that when I grew up and started dating boys (ewww, yuck!) that I would eventually meet one who, as an adult, collected these transforming robots. But there I stood, 21 years old in Astoria, Queens, in some boy's bedroom staring at a bookcase full of Transformers and thinking to myself, "huh."
With each of the two previous Bayformer movies, Dollface and I made a point of venturing to the theater on opening weekend for our lone viewing of each spectacle/disaster. (I say "lone" because to date neither of us have rewatched either film.) Seeing no reason to buck this little tradition, we sojourned out on July 4th to repeat the process. Anyone who has read my reviews of the first and second movies knows that I have not been a fan. Armed with 3D glasses and a flask of rum, I sat prepared for disappointment. So what did I think?
I do not mind admitting that I thought it was the best of the three movies.
Two improved pieces have been donated to the Back of the Box Art gallery. First, Rickie Westbrook pointed me to a greatly improved version of the 1988 Back of the Box image, featuring Powermasters and Pretenders, that was sitting in the Wallpapers section of Madman's sweet Transformers site. I figure I provided back-of-the-box image for Madman's DVD sets, it's totally fair to borrow back from them! Secondly, Ginraii offered up a more complete version of the 1990 Back of the Box Art featuring the Action Masters. Thanks, guys!
Of course, the real "widescreen action" news this week is that the third live-action Transformers movie is hitting theaters. Like the previous two movies, I feel obliged to see this new film at least once, but as I did not like the first movie or the second one, and since I really hate Michael Bay movies and the "Bayformer" aesthetic, I expect to once again be underwhelmed. It doesn't help that I am a very critical viewer. Special effects are all well and good, but nothing is more important than a good script. Sadly, that's where the Bay movies fail the most spectacularly.
So! Aren't you even more excited now? Yeah, I know how to warm up a crowd.
Everything I disliked about the first movie, I continued to dislike about the sequel. Allow me to elaborate. [spoilers ahead]
I still HATE the designs for these Transformers. They look like Terminators, or Predators, but not Transformers. Their transformations are so ridiculously busy, they effectively "morph" from one mode to another. They are ugly, and so overly-detailed that they become a blur -- the busy-ness of the forest obstructs the trees. While I thought the CGI was very cutting edge, the designs of the robots nonetheless prevent any fight scene from actually looking good. It's just red/blue blur versus gray blur. Fail!
I know, it's been three weeks. I just haven't been in a "blogging place." Let me catch you up.
Um. Well, I got a cavity filled. As in a tooth, not butt sex. I'm not into that.
Yo, Dollface and I finally went and saw Cloverfield yesterday, and we both agreed it was AWESOME. In my opinion, it was everything the lame-ass 1998 American Godzilla movie should have been. It was monstrous in scope and horror, the characters were vivid and human, the script was transparent, the special effects were seamless and amazing, the story was an intimate blend of the microcosmic and macrocosmic. And it took place in my beloved New York City! When this comes to the second-run theaters, we are definitely going to see it again.
Other than music that plays in the background at the party in the beginning of the film, the only soundtrack is over the end credits, entitled "ROAR! (Cloverfield Overture)." This galvanizing piece was an obvious homage to early Ifukube Godzilla music and other classic monster flicks, so I naturally had to stay and listen to the whole thing. Marvelous. Highly recommended. If you haven't seen it yet, make sure you catch it before it leaves the big screen.
I don't know about you, but when I'm hungover after an evening of heavy drinking (and maybe a little purging), I like to spend the next day curled up on the couch watching movies that are familiar, moderately enjoyable, and of almost no substance whatsoever. I want something that doesn't require any effort or thought on the part of the viewer, or even necessarily all of one's attention. For this reason, the various Star Trek: The Next Generation movies are absolutely perfect.
We actually own all four ST:TNG movies on VHS. We purchased the first three all on VHS — cheaply — and for completion's sake Dollface wanted to buy the last one, Nemesis, on VHS as well. But I absolutely refused to pay even one more dollar for that failed, ridiculous and monumentally disappointing finalé to the series. However, late one night when we were walking home to our Brooklyn apartment, I stopped near a small park and directed my wife's attention to a lone VHS tape lying discarded on the edge of the sidewalk near some untended shrubbery. I pointed and said something to the effect of, "That is exactly the price I am willing to pay for that movie." In one gesture, Heather picked up the unwanted item and completed our collection.
I love it when the present day catches up with futuristic dates conceived by science fiction writers. George Orwell's 1984. Buck Rogers' ill-fated mission, "the last of America's deep space probes," was launched in 1987. (Man, I love the music in the intro to that series.) 2001: A Space Odyssey. And, of course, there's the Transformers movie, which was set 20 years from the date of its theatrical release: 2005.
When I got my DVDs of the original Transformers cartoons from Madman, since I'd already seen Seasons 1 and 2 in the last few years, I decided to watch Season Three, the post-movie season. Like the movie, the season revolves around a small ensemble cast that science fiction lovers may find... strangely familiar...
I want to produce a prequel to the movie Pretty Woman, wherein Julia Roberts will reprise her career-launching role as Vivian Ward, the "hooker with the heart of gold". Taking place in the months and years before Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) eventually pulls over to the curb and sweeps her off her feet, the movie will focus on Vivian's descent into poverty, her difficult decision to become a street-walking prostitute, and the many handjobs, innumerable back-alley blowjobs, and frequent backseat fucks she must consent to. She'll have to deal with callous pimps, unsympathetic police, jealous fellow hookers, potentially violent lowlife "johns", etc. But of course, all the while, she is still a "safety girl" (condom at the ready), and still refuses to kiss on the lips, foreshadowing her inevitable date with destiny (with her dream man, Edward, who is a really terrific guy, but just happens to occasionally pick up street-walking hookers).
Guaranteed to tug on America's heartstrings!