About a month and a half ago, I went to the theater to see Transformers 2.
At least I went when it was $5 and not $12. The theater near me has recession-busting weeknight pricing which affords a man and his wife a nice night out every once in a while. Our choices that night, as walk-ins without a clue as to what was playing when, were Transformers 2 or The Hangover. For some reason, I convinced my wife that it would be a better idea if we hit Transformers 2. I was still under the impression that I had to see it to satisfy my childhood urges. I had mostly enjoyed the first one and was hopeful that the second movie wouldn’t ruin the franchise.
Of course, as you may already know, my hopes were dashed upon sharp pointy rocks in a CGI tide and I should have gone to see The Hangover.
Some bullet points.
* Plot? Sure, there is one. It’s overly complicated for the time allotted and not communicated well by anyone (human or cybertronian) on the screen whatsoever. When it is communicated, it’s rushed like an old man trying to make it to the bathroom. By the time you actually get there, it’s too late. Everything is lost.
* Characters? Bunches of new Autobots and Decepticons which people shouted out by name in the audience (myself included) leapt gleefully around the frame, fully rendered in CGI, and beating the living shit out of each other.
* Speaking of giant robots beating the living shit out of each other, when they fought, I often had a difficult time deciding which part of their bodies I was looking at and who what part belonged to. You would think with the myriad of brightly colored vehicles used at least by the Autobots that you would be able to tell who is who in a big fight scene. Not so. Robot parts blend in to other robot parts in a giant, metallic orgy of death.
* With the ever-present and always-irritating “super shaky high-shutter-speed action-cam”. Invented by some action director to make the action feel “more authentic” as if the viewer were actually there and also to easily conceal missed hits and blur details of stunt doubles. Simple distraction at its finest. Dude, buy a tripod so we can see clearly. Or, if you’re making giant CGI robots fight, tell the dudes to make the camera in their program steady. This garbage may lend to lower production costs, but destroys a good finished product.
All that said, we wound up not liking it. I didn’t entirely hate it until I had a few weeks to soak in how ultimately bad it was overall. Was it cool? Yes. Was it good? No.
As much as I bitch about this movie, I didn’t come here to write a review of something that was released more than a month ago. I came here to discuss what’s going on in Hollywood at large.
Since the teaser for G.I. Joe hit during the Super Bowl, I’ve been interested. I used to watch and play with G.I. Joes all the time back in the day, same as I’d done with Transformers.
Even though Transformers involved what would take outrageous amount of CGI to achieve, I always thought that Transformers would be the easier movie to make in live action. Mainly because the human characters in the original Transformers cartoon were pretty generic and could be replaced with just about any other human without difficulty. It’s not really the humans you’re going to see, anyway, it’s all about the fucking robots. Sure, they didn’t really stick to that formula with the films. Largely, it was just injecting Megan Fox’s ass into the movie to keep the male 18-35 demographic watching once they realized that this movie wasn’t the same shit they remembered growing up.
G.I. Joe would definitely be the more difficult movie to film.
An ensemble cast of both good guys and bad guys, each with their own unique personality, plus the lost explanation as to how G.I. Joe could stay so super-secret when Cobra was always trying to do something extremely public. Add in the limitless government budget, technology beyond modern comparison, and fucking Joes on the moon and in space. If a screenwriter would try to stay as true to the cartoon or comic book as possible, his head would probably fucking explode with the sheer volume of Joes and Cobra commandos.
I know, the comic book didn’t feature quite so many characters, but there were more kids who watched the cartoon who would get a kick out of all of the stupid ass characters they introduced just so they could sell more toys.
I am worried. I have to admit, the buzz I’ve heard about this flick is not good. I can’t say I’m inclined to disbelieve the negative hype. I mean, the fans have wanted to see a live-action Joe movie since the late 80s. They’ve had all this time to perfect a product and they’re probably going to throw another piece of shit out there in the world with the Joe stamp on it just to make big box office.
Most of fandom gets a chill up their spine when shit like this goes down. The main question is always “Are they going to burn to the ground something which myself and many others consider incredibly sacred?”
Hollywood has been doing this for approximately the last decade and it doesn’t look to stop. Some are hits, some are not. Look how decent the first X-Men flick was when everyone (myself included) criticized the casting and the prospective plotline before it was released.. Some random Aussie as Wolverine? Who the hell does this guy think he is, playing my childhood hero? And he’s 6’2”? Aw, hell naw. Wolvie’s supposed to be no more than 5’6”. This movie is going to suck.
And yet, it did not. Sure, some think it did. I’m inclined to agree that PARTS of it did suck (Storm’s one-liners, Tyler Mane, Ray Park…). But, my childhood dreams were not burned alive as they were when they released the Dolph Lundgren He-Man and the Masters of the Universe movie. That’s for damn sure.
Even if this movie burns the Joe franchise alive, it’ll still make tons of bank opening weekend. And, isn’t that what Hollywood is all about, anyway?
I’m not putting down the people who will probably be lining up for this joint on opening night. Were I inclined to pay weekend theater prices, I would totally be there with them. As I’m slightly on the broke-ish side right now, I’ll probably wait until the crowds die down and check it out on Monday or Tuesday (when it’s cheap as hell to catch a flick). Expect a full review. I just have to convince the wife that it’s a good idea to see another movie I know she’s going to hate.
Part of our deal was, since she had to suffer through two Transformers movies (neither of which she enjoyed, especially not when I would lean over and giddily whisper to her names of different Transformers before they were actually named on screen), I have to go with her to see the My Little Pony and Jem live action flicks if they ever come out, which should be some time right around the apocalypse. Hopefully I won’t be in the theater watching some pretty pink pony get its hair brushed while the asteroid is coming through the atmosphere or the seas are rising or the zombies are on the march. Movie theaters are dark and I would prefer not to be a sitting duck.
Keep fighting the good fight.