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Thread: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

  1. #16
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default More Roger analysis

    (movie been kicking butt at the box office though)

    Roger Ebert's Journal: Roger Ebert: May 2009 Archives

    The day will come when "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" will be studied in film classes and shown at cult film festivals. It will be seen, in retrospect, as marking the end of an era. Of course there will be many more CGI-based action epics, but never again one this bloated, excessive, incomprehensible, long (149 minutes) or expensive (more than $200 million). Like the dinosaurs, the species has grown too big to survive, and will be wiped out in a cataclysmic event, replaced by more compact, durable forms. Oh, I expect the movie will make a lot of money. It took in $16 million just in its Wednesday midnight opening. Todd Gilchrist, a most reasonable critic at Cinematical, wrote that it feels "destined to be the biggest movie of all time." I don't believe "Titanic" and "The Dark Knight" have much to fear, however, because (1) it has little to no appeal for non-fanboy or female audiences, and (2) many of those who do see it will find they simply cannot endure it. God help anyone viewing it from the front row of a traditional IMAX theater--even from the back row. It may benefit from being seen via DVD, with your "picture" setting dialed down from Vivid to Standard.
    The term Assault on the Senses has become a cliché. It would be more accurate to describe the film simply as "painful." The volume is cranked way up, probably on studio instructions, and the sound track consists largely of steel crashing discordantly against steel. Occasionally a Bot voice will roar thunderingly out of the left-side speakers, (1) reminding us of Surround Sound, or (2) reminding the theater to have the guy take another look at those right-side speakers. Beneath that is boilerplate hard-pounding action music, alternating with deep bass voices intoning what sounds like Gregorian chant without the Latin, or maybe even without the words: Just apprehensive sounds, translating as Oh, no! No!


    The action scenes can perhaps best be understood as abstract art. The Autobots® and Decepticons®, which are assembled out of auto parts, make no functional or aesthetic sense. They have evolved into forms too complex to be comprehended. When two or more of the Bots are in battle, it is nearly impossible to distinguish one from the other. You can't comprehend most of what they're doing, except for an occasional fist flying, a built-in missile firing, or the always dependable belching of flames. Occasionally one gets a hole blown through it large enough to drive a truck through, pardon the expression.

    You want to talk about incredible? I think it's incredible that any of the tiny flesh-and-blood human beings are still alive at the end of the story. As is conventional in action epics about gigantic monsters, the creatures seem to exist on a sliding scale--always possible in theory, I suppose, for a Bot, but disorienting for the audience. On the one hand, you have Bots large enough to rip the top off the Great Pyramid with its bare hands, and on the other, small enough to fit in the same frame with a human, and this movie is widescreen (2:35: 1). To be sure, a Bot can lean down to talk to a human, as Starscream® is doing in the pic with Shia. But when they're seen standing up there's a problem. Their heads are small to begin with, and the effect of perspective from the human eye-level makes many of them unfortunately look like pin-heads.
    I didn't have a stop watch, but it seemed to me the elephantine action scenes were pretty much spaced out evenly through the movie. There was no starting out slow and building up to a big climax. The movie is pretty much all climax. The Autobots® and Decepticons® must not have read the warning label on their Viagra. At last we see what a four-hour erection looks like.

    The action is intercut with human scenes that seem dragged in kicking and screaming from another movie. There are broad sitcom situations and dialog as Shia Lebouef goes off to Princeon, and comic relief from his madcap mother (Julie White), who actually plays the most entertaining character in the movie. Then some romances that cement emotional bonds with the speed of Quick Glue, and are well within the PG-13 guidelines. Kevin Dunn and Miss White, as Mr. and Witwicky, are the only characters allowed the slightest dimension, confirming my suspicion that the most interesting conversation at a high school dance is likely to be had with the chaperones.
    As is frequent in CGI action, the younger women are made to behave like he-men with boobs. College girls are able to turn instantly into combat-ready participants, except when they have to be dragged to safety by boys. They can out-run explosions with the best of them. Their hair, after countless explosions and long days in the desert heat, is always perfect enough for a shampoo commercial. I suspect many young lads prefer their women like this--at arm's length, if you see what I mean.

    Much of the dialog falls under category of Look out! It's necessary in the editing of a film like this to punctuate the action with reaction shots. You're not really able to cut away to another Bot, because their heads are so tiny and so high up there, who knows what they're thinking? You need humans, who react to a blue screen or to a point in space and shout warnings and commands. Acting in a film like this is a season in hell, plus paycheck.
    At well over two and a half hours, the film is unreasonably long. Since it's impossible to imagine a studio applauding the extra length and thus greater expense, the running time can possibly be attributed to the ego of Michael Bay, the director: If it is indeed destined to be the biggest movie of all time, who cares how long it is? I suspect it will be trimmed down to under two hours in some overseas markets, and if it is, the human scenes will be the easiest to cut. Then the luckless foreigners will be left with an unremitting Assault on the Senses.

    Michael Bay is obviously under the impression that whatever he was doing deserved a 149-minute canvas to do it on. He likes doing this stuff. One pities the hapless animators, peering at their monitors far into the night, trying to distinguish one Bot's hub cap from another's. What we may see at work here is the paradox of rising expectations and diminishing returns . If the first "Transformers" (2007) ran 144 minutes and grossed over $300 million in North American alone, why not keep expanding?
    Same goes for the Bots. In the stills with this blog, I have traced the history of Starscream® from its origin as a children's toy through its evolution in TV animation (1984) and the 2007 movie. It has grown steadily more complex, apparently feeding on larger and larger junk yards. Starscream® is now too much to comprehend, especially in Bay's typical average shot length of not much over one second. It pains me to say this, because the designer of several of the Bots was Josh Nizzi, a fellow Illinois grad from my home town. No doubt he has many other arrows in his quiver.
    As for Michael Bay, he is only 44 and I hope he tires of this nonsense and returns to making real movies. He was only 31 when he made "Bad Boys" in 1995, and 32 when he made "The Rock." He had been in TV for years. He was a prodigy, like Steven Spielberg, But Spielberg was 47 when he directed "Schindler's List." Michael Bay seems to be evolving in the wrong direction.
    So is the hyperactive blockbuster CGI action genre. If there is one thing everyone in Hollywood thinks they know for sure, it's that the three most important words in movie development are story, story, story. This is not a story: A group of inconsequential human characters watch animation.
    The very best films in this genre, like Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" and Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 2," had compelling characters, depended on strong human performances, told great stories, and skillfully integrated the live-action and the CGI. I've been making a list of my favorite robots, those few that evoked wonder and sympathy and were simple attacks of sound and images. I think of the gentle, loveable "Iron Giant" (1999), by Brad Bird. And the genius of Jon Favreau's "Iron Man" (2008), with its final battle we really got involved in. And I think of another robot whose body was made of junk yard parts. Its name was "WALL-E." That was the 2008 film by Andrew Stanton that some people believe was robbed of a Best Picture nomination by the creation of the animation category.
    "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" will no doubt gross many millions. There will no doubt be a sequel. But when audiences fell hammered down by a film, they are less likely to fall for another marketing campaign. If Hollywood wants the "Transformers" franchise to endure, maybe they should hire one of those directors. They still know how to make a movie.

  2. #17
    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    I'm loving Roger Ebert more and more these days.

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    I have no desire to see this. I thought the first one sucked.

  4. #19
    Silver Member Queen Mab's Avatar
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    It sucked ass. My friend and I saw it and we ended up making fun of it (quietly) the whole time we watched it. None of it made sense, there was so many unnecessary explosions just to impress, two of the robots were sooo racist it was not even funny, Shia acted like a total douchetree to everyone, the characters weren't even likable, and Megan Fox (nuff said). I was curious and look what curiosity did to me! Totally kicked my ass.

    And then we watched Year One. Funny as hell. McLovin's in the movie! :'D
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  5. #20
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Well looks like it's doing pretty well at the box office, theater was crowded last nite. I'm sure Transformers 3 is already green lighted.

  6. #21
    Elite Member bellini's Avatar
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    No doubt they'll make a 3. And a 4, 5, and 6.

    I was waiting for it to be over. It dragged on. It was sucky as well as hokey. I liked the first one so it's a disappointment.

    many of those who do see it will find they simply cannot endure it.
    Very true. It was a painful experience.

  7. #22
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    the one bright spot in the movie? Shia's "mom"

    I love her.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  8. #23
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    Weekend Wrap-Up
    After a few weekends of summer movies left us feeling like we had a Hangover, Michael Bay and his merry band of robots rocked the box office this weekend, taking in an amazing five-day total of $201.2 million.

    It leaves us with the following question: If we know it sucks, why do we go anyway?

    The box office is all about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen this weekend, as the super-sized sequel absolutely dominated, maybe even more than expected. David Mumpower has recapped its opening success nicely, but here is the Coles Notes version: Revenge of the Fallen actually got started late Tuesday, where it amassed the third biggest midnight tally ever at $16 million, coming in behind only The Dark Knight and Spider-Man 2, two of the biggest films of all time. By the time all the cash was counted at the end of Wednesday, Revenge of the Fallen (sounds like a Pirates of the Caribbean title, no?) had earned an amazing $60.6 million, setting the record for an opening Wednesday. As expected, Transformers 2 plunged 53% on its second day to $28.6 million, giving it a two-day running tally of just short of $90 million - and the weekend hadn't even started yet. As BOP's Tim Briody reported yesterday, the Friday figure tallied at $36.7 million, a strong but not revolutionary number. It was up 28% compared to the Thursday, where fellow Wednesday opener Spider-Man 2 rose 36% from $23.8 million on Thursday to $32.5 million on Friday. This tells us that despite the huge Wednesday, the Paramount juggernaut was slipping into Spider-Man 2's box office pattern, exceeding it slightly in overall dollars, but the huge numbers were trailing off somewhat. Revenge of the Fallen was $5 million ahead of the Spidey sequel on Thursday, and then only $4 million ahead on Friday. I'm hesitant to say that the death of Michael Jackson on Thursday could have contributed to this, but it could be.

    Transformers 2 continued to show solid numbers over the remainder of the weekend, as the final Friday-to-Sunday figure came in at $112 million, and the five-day total is an amazing $201.2 million. That's the second-best five day opening in history, behind only The Dark Knight's $203 million last year. To say that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has saved the summer box office is a bit of an understatement, as a tentpole was desperately needed, not only to provide a big uptick over last year, but to also help market some of the other big, upcoming films. In-theater marketing is still the big-ticket ad; trailers, posters and the rest keep movie-going momentum going. Consider Paramount's G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra. This film is going to get a huge awareness push moving forward thanks to Transformers 2.

    For Michael Bay, this is easily his most successful film of his career, which has been littered with these critically-reviled action films. The original Transformers was his former biggest. The original film in the series opened oddly enough on a Tuesday (after having what was basically a sneak Monday), the day before the July 4th holiday. It also had a huge opening day with $8.8 million over the soft opening on Monday, followed by a $27.9 million on Tuesday. The original Transformers earned $155 million over its first seven days, the same amount the sequel earned over about 3.5 days. The bizarre thing about using this odd release pattern is that Transformers was able to avoid a 50% drop throughout its entire run. That was a huge win for Paramount, as most loud action films that receive poor reviews drop badly over their subsequent weekends. Because of this, Transformers went on to earn an amazing $319.2 million from its domestic run. It earned even more overseas, and finished with a worldwide total of over $700 million, and then went on to earn another $300 million from DVD sales. The production cost of $150 million was shared amongst a number of players, including Paramount, DreamWorks, Hasbro, and Di Bonaventura Pictures. The same production companies came out for the sequel, but this time spent $200 million plus. Writing credits for both films go to names that have appeared more than a few times in this column so far this summer – Kurtzman and Orci, as these two wrote and executive produced the Star Trek reboot and were the executive producers of last weekend's winner The Proposal. Talk about having a good summer.

    So where does Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen go from here? World Domination. Despite being only 21% fresh at RottenTomatoes (talk about review-proof - this will be the prime example moving forward), Revenge had a huge weekend here and overseas. It's already earned over $100 million at the foreign box office, and those totals will continue to grow quickly. I predict another $300 million for this entry, as the first film was just about as rotten as this one (38% fresh at RottenTomatoes).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    It's Skyfire, but yeah.

    My take on the movie:

    1) about the same as the first, just with more kabooms

    2) Megan has SO MUCH COLLAGEN IN HER LIPS it's distracting. Her mouth looks like a fucking VAGINA. It was so irritating! I couldn't do anything but stare at that baboon ass of a face with them big flapping lips! She also can't act worth shit, and she comes across like a dimwit with bad skin and too much tranny foundation on.

    3) the racistbots were so racist.. omg, even i cringed. Gold teeth? Big fat lips? Jive talkin? They were racist and so annoying, totally the jar-jar's of the movie.

    That's it
    Ok, so the "racistbots". Here's the thing, I must be equal opportunity offensive across the board because I just don't notice these things. My hubby made a valid point last night when a Burger King commercial with them was on, "nobody bitched about Mater in Cars". I think he's right and I don't think anybody complained about Jazz in the first one.
    Snooky Wookums, prepare for the invasion!

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    Was I the only person on earth to find the first Transformers boring as fuck???

    My room mate (a guy) begged me to go see it with him and I ended up obliging because I thought, "Hey Shia LaBeouf is in this. He's eye candy. I dug the cartoon...just maaaybe."

    Wrong.

    It was a snoozefest for me, literally!

    I passed out for like the last 30-45 minutes of the movie and the most amusing thing to happen in that theater was that I happened to be wearing my roomie's hoodie and drooled all over it as I was deep within my nice, peaceful slumber.

    He was sad, I laughed, apologized and promised to clean it when we got home and then we left.

    The brain doesn't need blood. It just needs to be kept wet.

  11. #26
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    Went to see this last night with my husband. It was pretty good, but not as good as the first IMO. The so-called "racistbot" were annoying, but I guess i didn't really think they were racist. And Megan Fox was horrible. I didn't notice so much in the first movie, but she absolutely can not act. And those freakin' lips...she did not completely shut her swelled up mouth for the entire movie. The romantic scenes were crap, but overall the movie was pretty good.

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    I thought the first one was boring, and the second one a little better but still not worth the money. I noticed how Fox managed to get more and more plastic as the film went on, and her veneers appeared half way through. Continuity at its best.
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  13. #28
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    Saw it with a friend last night...I'm not a reader of the comics and have pretty much no knowledge of the series in general but they seemed to go overboard on the technological part of it, made it too far fetched.
    It was also wayyyyy too long.
    Not impressed and I wish we went out for coffee instead.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    It's Skyfire, but yeah.

    My take on the movie:

    1) about the same as the first, just with more kabooms

    2) Megan has SO MUCH COLLAGEN IN HER LIPS it's distracting. Her mouth looks like a fucking VAGINA. It was so irritating! I couldn't do anything but stare at that baboon ass of a face with them big flapping lips! She also can't act worth shit, and she comes across like a dimwit with bad skin and too much tranny foundation on.

    3) the racistbots were so racist.. omg, even i cringed. Gold teeth? Big fat lips? Jive talkin? They were racist and so annoying, totally the jar-jar's of the movie.

    That's it

    I agree with everything you said here. Those racistbots were uncomfortable to watch IMO. Overall, it was pretty good. It kept my 6 year old interested because of the non-stop action/explosions.
    Somebody blow Mel Gibson Already- Michael K

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    "'Transformers' sequel could become worst-reviewed $400 million blockbuster ever"

    'Transformers' sequel could become worst-reviewed $400 million blockbuster ever - Yahoo! Canada News

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