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Transfomers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

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How excited are you for the upcoming Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen?

Sign me up! It looks freakin' awesome! I can't wait to see what they have in store!
5
15%
Meh. I'm interested, but I'll wait for more previews before making my decision.
13
39%
Ugh! More robots? I hate Bay and sequels! This franchise is way overhyped!
15
45%
 
Total votes : 33

Postby ffdude1906 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:21 am

Hehe, I was just making sure no one was gonna lose their head over this. I have a really overbearing tendency to want to fix things like that when they go awry, try to keep the peace, so to speak. You seem like the kind of guy that takes pride in speaking his mind, and enjoys a bit of controversy. With many subjects, I tend to feel uncomfortable around that kind of thing, but when it involves my interests, I usually enjoy the variety (unless they decide to flame me or something like that). I didn't mean to imply that I thought you were a freak or anything (which I'm sure you realize, :P ), just that you bring something to the board most people don't expect, and offer unique views and opinions that most people wouldn't think of.

Back to the subject of the movie, do you think it's too naive of me to reject it based on what my friends think? Keep in mind, they're more like acquaintances than full-fledged friends, and I don't really know if I share their interest in movies. I've heard good and bad, but nothing really worth keeping a decision on one side for. I'm really not interested in a movie that's quality is it's special effects and giant fight scenes. A story has to have great characters and development between those characters. If these are shallow and/or nonexistent, then I really don't see a reason to spend my money on it.
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Postby Dragon of Omnipotency » Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:27 am

thedriveintheatre wrote:That's what I disliked about the first movie too. Hopefully the second will devote more screentime to the 'bots.

Yes, it did, but less dialogues for them. In other words, they are just there on-screen, standing around.

thedriveintheater wrote:FYI, I did.

That's why I used the term, 'apparently' in case you did.

thedriveintheater wrote:You're right I got upset. I get annoyed when people start dissing a film using strong (albeit censored) language.

Remember this rating I always used on my reviews? No bull... well, you know how the rest of that rating is supposed to go. But anyway, that rating means nothing's held back, that the review is as truthful as I could make it out to be, and as you know, censorship holds back the truth, and not just in terms of profanities, either. Some ratings were used for movies that have 'mature themes,' dark themes (not necessarily inclusive of blood and gore) that children are not ready to accept yet, hence keeping away some parts of the truth.

In my case, as I said, I tend to express my feeling genuinely, thus not holding it back to a good level, which I hope you would pardon.

thedriveintheater wrote:So we is still friends? :)

Still? We were never enemies. You were just being paranoid because my profanities got a little loose. :P Well, maybe more than a little. ;)

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Postby Fett101 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:51 pm

ffdude1906 wrote:There is no absolute good when it comes to opinions, it's a matter of preference. A person either likes it, or they don't. It can be successful and popular, sure, but calling a movie good or bad is purely subjective.


Except that TF2 takes every basic convention of good film making and drowns it in the ocean.
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Postby ffdude1906 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:57 pm

lol, that's still an opinion, but one I agree with. :P (from what I've heard and read)
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Postby thedriveintheatre » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:17 pm

Well, I just got back from my trip to the local IMAX theatre with my bro and two friends, and here is my review.

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In case you're new to the series, there's only three things you need to know:

1. The good guys are the Autobots. They are led by a semi called Optimus Prime.

2. The bad guys are the Decepticons. They are led by a jet called Megatron and a former Prime called The Fallen.

3. The humans in the middle are Sam Witwicky and Megan Fox.

The rest, unless you're a handcore fan, are immaterial. It's okay if you didn't even watch the first movie, because it was summamised by an annoying government official in a scene near the beginning. If you must know, the humans are after something that can stop the Decepticons, and the Decepticons are after something that can destroy the humans, and the entire movie is a race of who gets there first. Somewhere between the explosions and dust clouds is a semblance of a plot, but is largely overshadowed by stereotypical characterisations, infantile humour, and a woeful lack of downtime.

To the uninitiated, this is classic Michael Bay. Sweeping 360 camera rotations, shakey-cam during chase scenes, and an explosion every two minutes. The humour is pretty much hit-and-miss, I laughed at some of the wittier insults and one-liners (as well as the in-joke with [spoil]a Bad Boys 2 poster in Leo's room[/spoil]) and groaned at the anatomical and scatological jokes. Of the entire movie, there only seems to be three set-pieces, with the rest filled up with lots of running away from and after robots, hunting for treasure Indy-style, and shots of the US Defence Force in action. It is the last bit that annoys me, as Mr Bay seems to have more devoted more screentime to shots of the various arms of the military when all we really want to see are the Transformers beating the living crap out of each other (unless you're an army afficianado). This is not surprising, given that Mr Bay has good ties with the US military, who frequently lend him their men and equipment to use in his movie, in return for promoting them in his feature film to potential recruits. The effect though, came off as more of an army advertisement than a regular action-oriented movie that incidentally had soldiers in it. The same could be said with GM and Cisco with their blatant product placement shots. On a side note, it's interesting that the ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement) guys managed to sneak in some contemporary references to Obama and the swine flu.

Shia does a decent job freaking out over hallucinations, Megan just looks pretty and gets to play tough-chick every so often, Julie White's character is annoying, and Peter Cullen delivers as the Autobot General's voice. A couple of Transformers that stood out were Bumblebee as the adorably emotive (poor guy even cries at one point!) and silent guardian of Sam, the obnoxious Wheelie with a foul mouth and an attitude, and Jetfire as a grumpy curmudgeon of a Decepticon-turned-Autobot defector. Contrary to what most people say, I found the twins Mudflap and Skids endearing, for some reason. Kudos too to Turtorro who returns as disgraced federal agent of the disbanded Sector 7 unit.

Make no mistake, Mr Bay used to do great movies that weren't that heavily sponsored and had a riveting storyline and hilarious dialogue (The Rock and Bad Boys are two of his early movies that I love). But it seems that with a bigger budget and a built-in fanbase, he got overconfident and threw everything (including the proverbial kitchen sink) that he thought looked awesome or funny onto the screen, without discretion. And it works, but only sometimes. I must give a huge round of applause for the CGI artists and animators who did a brilliant job bringing the giant alien robots to life, as well as the stunt and special effects crew that delivered the big guns and pyrotechnics. Unfortunately, Mr Bay (and partly the cinematographer and scriptwriters) have spoilt what is otherwise a good-looking movie with a camera that either just won't stop moving, or is too close to the swinging fists of metal to be able to see who's punching who. That was annoying, and made me wish we could return to the good ol' days of static dolly shots and none of that infernal shakey-cam business.

All in all, Transformers 2 delivered what I wanted: big, loud, summer blockbuster, epic motion-picture entertainment. The action sequences are a sight to behold and are literally breathtaking and jaw-dropping. It is a pity that some parts of it is enough to induce migraines, not to mention motion-sickness. The plot is passable, but could be cut down with less of the glorified army shots and better, more coherent editing (the characters kept hopping from one scene to the next without proper transitions). The soundtrack by Steve Jablonsky is exhilarating, and redeems the entire film single-handedly. Optimus' theme and the track played during the climax almost moved me to tears, it gives that chest-thumping, action-hero, I-can-take-on-the-world kinda emotional high, if you know what I mean. The robots prove more interesting and funnier than the humans, which is ironic, really, since we're supposed to be emotionally-invested in our own species. If you come in expecting Oscar-bait themes like poor slumdogs or Nazi soldiers, or a plotline from the animated series it was based on, or any form of "Hm... that is thought-provoking" mental stimulation, I'm sorry to say, but you will be sorely disappointed. If you entered though, expecting big, dumb, stupid summer event action, light-hearted though sometimes puerile humour, and some of the most gobsmacking special effects you'll ever see, period, this is the ticket for you. Be prepared though, like most M. Bay films, you'd be both mentally and physically exhausted when it's all over.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

P.S. Oh, and if you have an IMAX near you, I suggest you watch it there at least once. Apparently in some shots, Optimus is life-sized, and some of the sequences are shot using the IMAX cameras which fully utilise the screen sans letterboxing.

P.S.S. Look out for a couple of cameos and a Pixar film poster hidden in the movie. To those who have seen it, did you spot the [spoil]Wall-E poster during the worldwide Decepticon landing sequence?[/spoil]
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Postby Dragon of Omnipotency » Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:04 pm

My thoughts... for now:
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Postby Dragon of Omnipotency » Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:50 am

What’s up Good Movie Lovers!? Of course, we’ve all seen the new Transformers movie, but what do we think about it? Well, I know what I think of it and have been possessed to write a MOVIE REVIEW for it! So, let's get this long-awaited... or not, review started.

WARNING!!! This review contains SPOILERS. What’s the point of reviewing the movie if you can’t talk about what happened? So, I’m talking about everything. If you want the secrets to remain so, DON’T READ THIS REVIEW! Instead, check out this 'short' written preview-review:
http://www.pixarplanet.com/forums/viewt ... 530#143530

As always, this review contains mature subject matter and asterisked bad words. I will try and eliminate all mature materials, but just to play safe, this review is rated PG-13. Also, your feedback is greatly respected and appreciated. Please drop your comments and let me know what you think. In the meantime, thanks for your support, choose your movies wisely and Long Live Good Movies!

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Summer Movie Standards
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Wondering why this poster is so big on this page? Then you haven’t seen the movie yet, cause while bigger is better, super freaking huge is awesome!

June 29th, 2009 2:25am Singapore Greenwich Mean Time + 8 hours
I write that for 2 reasons:
  • 1st, Transformers introduces every scene with a date-time-location in the lower left corner (so you should imagine hearing a computer beeping sound as if the text is being written on screen letter by letter as you read that - because it’s dramatic!).
  • 2nd, I’d be asleep by now due to the lack of sleep, but the movie was seemingly six hours long and the ADD/Shell Shock hasn’t warn off yet (is it normal for my eye to be twitching like this? Oh, and I randomly yell out “OPTIMUS!!!” every minute or so. I think I should call a doctor tomorrow).
In all 'seriocity' - yeah, it’s a ruination of the term, 'serious,' but so what! if Michael Bay can bend the rules of the Transformer universe over and get in there with a nice gratuitous exploitative close up, then I’m gonna violate the purity of grammar! Remember: Nothing is sacred if you can make it look cool on screen. But for reals yo, I is gonna break it down 4u right now dog. Just keep it real. You know? Just get all Mudflap and Skids on yo butt. Cuz dats how u sounds kewl. Seriously, what the heck were they thinking when they created those characters?

Hold on, all of my reactions to the movie are swirling around like the stones of the pyramid during the climatic battle between Ballcrusher(?) was that the big lumbering Decepticon’s name? The drunk Yogi Bear looking robot stumbling and struggling to climb the side of the ancient landmark mistaking it for its bed in a cave? Maybe it was Ballbanger? No, wait! Freeballer!That’s it!

It’s not like that could be Devastator, cause I thought Megatron ordered Freeballer to attack by saying “Devastator” but that couldn’t be right because it looks NOTHING F*#$ING LIKE HIM!

Ahhhh, jeez. I wish I was making this stuff up. I wish I was some cinematic vandal spreading verbal graffiti across the forumsphere in some jealous rage because Transformers Revenge of the Fallen is a masterwork by an expert celluloid craftsman. But, it’s just the tip of the pyramid that conceals the frightful truth: There’s a lot wrong with this car commercial/toy advertisement/military recruitment film/CGI promo reel. So, let’s take a step by step look at this years biggest blockbuster and find some objective movie truth....after the Ritalin kicks in. OPTIMUS!!! (no, it’s not working yet).

Yes, Im no usin proper gramma yt

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The Devastator we all know and love from the cartoon.

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A pretty awesome imagining of what he might have looked like in reality.

It’s about 20 minutes into the movie....and I was having a good time! What the F was wrong with me? I came in here prepared to hate the crap out of this! I wanted to join the army of critics pissing all over this one. Leave a dry spot for me guys!

I was sooooo ready to be the bad cop. To snap at the smallest mistake. To make a note of every slow motion shot, close up of the Bootyformer’s butt and chaotically filmed fight sequence and then to unleash an attack of verbal movie justice (right in the theater, anyway).

Here’s the thing, even though that above intro was pretty harsh, I DIDN’T HATE THIS (in the theater). I WAS JUST DEPRESSED BY IT. I treated it like the son that never lived up to his father’s demanding expectations. Yeah, you’re gonna support him and make sure he doesn’t live on the streets, but you won’t look at him (or her if you’d prefer this to be a mother daughter analogy. Or, boss and employee if that works better) the same way he does to the family golden boy.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was the offspring I’d visit in prison. Yeah, it did a lot of things wrong, but deep down inside, I thought I could see some hope for rehabilitation and with a little faith, hard work and honesty, a chance for redemption in the next movie. Though after it makes a billion dollars, I doubt there will be motivation for any growth.

This could be too far gone and the best solution might be to cut our losses. There won’t be any change, it’ll just get worse OPTIMUS!!! Let’s throw away the key and do something productive.

ImageImageImage
The official disappointing reality. Bay’s version of Devastator makes you say “WTH(eck)?!” Really, what is this suppose to be? Just when you thought it couldn’t get any crappier.

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How did they come up with this random idea? Take a Grizzly Bear. Add in some Mega-Maid from Spaceballs. And viola! You have a huge clumsy vacuum cleaner Transformer. Awesomenessosity!

I think I finally know where Optimus’ trailer goes when he transforms into a robot - to the bank! Cause it's filed with a crap load of money! As I write this, the Box Office returns, after 2 days, about $86 million! The first day, it brought in about $60 mil which was 8 or so shy of The Dark Knight’s record. If this takes in anywhere close to the 1 billion worldwide that the latter pic collected, our movie future is in trouble. More on that later.

Let’s focus on what this movie did right (there is one thing), which was, correct the mistake OPTIMUS!!! that all fans voiced after the first movie, “There aren’t enough robots!”

If that was the one major gripe audiences voiced two years ago, Bay and company seemed to have heard it and even been hurt by it. Because they really over compensated. I haven’t seen damaged ego control like this since One-Nut-Willy bought a Lamborghini (no releation to one-eyed-Willy from The Goonies).

Just Imagine the script meeting for TROTF. Bay, Orci, Kurtzman and Kruger are reading through audience feedback cards and internet blog posts.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kurtzman (picks up a comment card): “Let’s see, here’s one, Hank from Arizona comments, 'I thought this movie was about robots fighting each other, not people talking all the time.’”

Orci (clicks some keys on this laptop, an image of a Transformers blog then flickers to life on the wall via projector): “This site has over 30,000 fan views a day. Check out this post, ‘F*#$ this movie. I wanted to see Megatron and Optimus fighting, but instead I get Shia, Megan Hottie Fox and a dog named Mojo wasting 21/2 hours of my life.’”

Kruger reaches for a piece of paper: “Here’s Roger Ebert---”

Bay pounds his fist and stands up: “Enough!” (the shot here is made by a swirling camera around the conference table ah-la steady cam style, coming to a stop on Bay as he pounds his fist, continuous take, moving in for a close up as he says this line) “I’m gonna give them so many robots, they’ll be pissing oil and sh**ting lug n*ts for a month.”

Kurtzman: “So which Transformers do you want in this one?”

Bay: “All of em’.”

Orci: “No offense Mike, but there’s like hundreds of characters. That could be a bit much.”

Bay: “How many did we have in the fist one?”

Kruger: “About 14. But I’ve been researching this, being new and all to the team here. We could introduce some cool characters and develop a really interesting story-”

Bay: “ Were you listening to the ‘fans’ (he makes the quotations gesture with his hands) whatever your name is?”

Kruger: “Ehren, Kruger Mr. Bay. I’ve written Arlington Road, Scream 3, The Ring, The Skeleton Key---”

Bay: “Congratu-f*#$ing-lations Kruger! But that doesn’t matter right now does it? Does it!?”

Kruger: “It kind of does, because I think this movie really needs some character development.”

Orci and Kurtzman are shocked, like they’ve just watched a high school athlete tell the quarterback “1+2 = f*#$ yourself.” Orci leans over whispering to Kruger: “Never, ever, never say those words here. If you want to keep this job, learn to say two words, ‘Yes Michael.’”

Bay leans over the table, planting his fits on the edge to brace himself. He stares at Kruger (the shot should be Dirty Harry “Do you feel lucky punk?” style) “Did you just say ‘character development?’”

Kruger is about to continue his confrontation when Orci jabs him in the gut with his pen. Kruger looks over at Orci and Kurtzman, both shaking their heads, whispering, "No." Kruger slowly nods “Okay” to them. He turns to Michael kiss-butt-sheepishly, “Yes Michael.”

Bay leans in closer: “That’s what I thought. Let me ask you, did the ‘fans’ mention character or story or emotions or Oscar nomination in their feedback? Or did they say robots kicking the s*** out of each other for 5 hours would be their ultimate on-screen wet dream?”

Kurtzman, Orci & Kruger: “Yes Michael.”

Bay: “Then go to your writing room, order in some Chinese Food, get a pot of coffee working and give me a script filled with robot a** beats galore, some Army Navy, Air Force & Pentagon imagery, hot sl**s and a ton of d*ck and fart jokes. Is that clear?”

Kurtzman, Orci & Kruger: “Yes Michael.”

Bay leans back, stands up and takes his sunglasses off (tight close up of his eyes): “They’re gonna get their robots.” (Dramatic 'tune-in-next-week' style music blares as the scene fades out).
•~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~•
As much as I want to complain about the nonstop robot action, I couldn’t because I was (before this movie was released) one of those fans that said, “Boo hoo, I want more robots. Why are there so many people in this movie?”

It’s a definite improvement over the first. Yeah there’s the “Nest” team and some government peeps, but gone are the annoying side stories of hottie computer girls and comic relief car salesmen and Sector 7 Men in Black wannabes. Even though there is a poor man’s teenage version of Mulder from The X-Files as Sam’s roommate and a not so bad appearance by John Turturro.

There’s absolutely more on-screen robot time, but....but, it’s ONLY action.

I think what we, the ‘fans’ wanted was something closer to the cartoon. Sure, more fighting and destruction, but, more INTER-action, not just ACTION. That’s what made the show work, the OPTIMUS!!! relationships between the major characters.

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The Starscream/Megatron relationship was explored a little more in TROTF...in a token half-hearted kind of way with no real storyline development.

July 1st, 2009 8:53pm Singapore Greenwich Mean Time + 8 hours
The twitch in the eye is gone and so is the OPTIMUS!!! Turrets Syndrome. I guess I just needed a good night of sleep. Now (cue action movie hero close up), let’s finish this f***ing review.

There’s one great, great, super, great, perfect moment in this movie. About 30 minutes in, we visit Cybertron where Megatron and Starscream meet up with their leader: The Fallen. We learn the reason they want the Allspark and Energon - their newborns are dying.

From beginning to end, it’s a great mix of drama/character and effects! So, why isn’t the rest of the movie like that? How did this sneak its way into this cut? Maybe the writers spliced it in before the print was locked and shipped out? This really feels like a scene that belonged to a different draft. Maybe one that was character based and had a little less bang-boom-pow? It feels right, but out of place because the stakes and emotions never continue in the following scenes.

Imagine if it was, we might have had sympathy for The Fallen. Instead of being some cliché bad guy, he’d be a concerned leader fighting for the survival of his people. Their babies are dying. They need Energon to fix the problem, why not destroy the sun to do it? It’s us or them, who do you choose?

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This looks pretty cool, but who the F is it? Megatron’s dog? This is 1 of the 36 other Transformers who have no name. Like the saying goes, a name is the key to opening the door of friendship or, for us, the audience, the door of connection.

The scene also reveals how little the story actually matters in this franchise. If it did, this story point about saving the “hatchlings” would have been mentioned in the first installment.

It’s a borderline noble cause - saving the future of your race, something we, as people, could relate to, something that could connect us with these characters and is used like a pick up line to get our attention, but forgotten about once the movie has gotten what it wanted from us. Notice, it’s not mentioned ever again and most importantly, missing from the resolution/climax.

And this is the only moment where I have sympathy for this movie because it has a wilting flower of story potential that needs a little water and sunlight to blossom, but it’s so buried beneath the flash and sizzle that the light may never reach it. Here, it’s like Hollywood has destroyed, like the Decepticons planned to do, this sun source of story light and banished our oceans of creativity so these seeds of potential will no longer grow. Maybe it’s more foolish hope than sympathy.

The first Transformers had story anorexia, barely just enough to keep it alive. That’s why there were so many comedic scenes, because the movie had to buy itself some time in-between major action/CGI set pieces. My favorite example is the Autobots sneaking around Sam’s house while he has to deal with his parents and Hottie #1 as he tries to get the glasses which will lead to the cube. It’s a 15 minute sequence that should have taken 15 seconds with Optimus punching through Sam’s house, taking the glasses and moving on to the next story point.

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If you blinked, you missed Arcee, a female Transformer who has like 15 seconds of screentime. 30 other no-name Autobots and Decepticons share a similar fate. Welcome to Hollywood baby!

Here, the story has more meat, but it’s like a freaking rare piece of half a cow with no side dishes or veggies. There’s no balance of character alongside the objective, which is to decode the symbols/find the Energon/stop the Decepticons/The Fallen from destroying the sun.

There are barely any distractions from this objective progression. Yeah, there’s Sam’s mom acting like a Desperate Housewife spazz and some nonsense about a boob-former blond T-1000 wannabe Transformer with a tail under her skank-o-tron blue panties (which of course has a close up)... Was I the only one waiting for her to turn into the Bang Bus?

So, it definitely moves forward. The characters are always moving towards something. The outer motivation is clear, but there’s no INNER motivation other than that moment on Cybertron, which is forgotten about like a one night stand, which is how the majority of robots are treated here. They’re on screen anonymously, to fill the empty screen space with some shape shifting, fire a couple of lasers and die or disappear quickly.

Don’t the Autobots use their crashed ship as a base? Fine, there’s no ship in the first movie, but couldn’t they have some Dr. Strangelove War Room oversized roundtable where they meet to plan their next move, view footage of Decepticon activity and give each other objectives?

A nice step was taken to incorporate the idea of a “Nest” team, with Optimus having dialog with a cliché government jerk bureaucrat stolen straight from James Wood’s character in 1997’s Contact.

Would it have been that much of a pain in the butt to have the Transformers talking to each other about the bigger and smaller stories - Cybertron stillborns & Sam’s mental meltdown?

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Bumblebee fights some other robot. Filmed in a 'confusing as Dory' close up.

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Let’s see... I think this is Megatron transforming?

One of the biggest surprises for me was how badly the fight scenes are still filmed! WTH(eck)!?

Here’s the classic, most basic 1920s Hollywood way to film a scene:
  • Wide establishing shot so we know where the F we’re at.
  • Medium shot so we know who or what to focus on within the larger environment.
  • Close up as the drama is exchanged between the characters we are focusing on.
The reverse works as well. Many movies start close, move out until we see the bigger picture. What good movies don't do is stay close up for 90% of the scene! ESPECIALLY DURING ACTION/FIGHTING!

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Here’s how an action sequence/or fight should be established and presented.

The other day I was watching Enter the Dragon and the fight sequences were filmed perfectly! Specifically, there’s the fight when Lee battles the dude with the face/eye scar. It starts wide for a few punches and kicks and THEN moves in close because we’ve established our arena, the fighters and how they look performing the moves, so NOW it’s okay to move in for close ups of punches, face kicks and primal screams of action death moves.

Of course you want to creatively take these basic how-to-film-a-scene guidelines. We would be bored to an i-credible level if every scene played like that. But, the goal of this basic technique should never be forgotten: Make sure the audience never asks, “What the F is going on?”

Imagine watching a UFC fight in close up. Imagine it starts close up on a fist and then just helicopters around the shoulders, legs, elbows, nose, back of the head, between the cheek and the mat and finally a hand slapping on the mat as the tap out signals the end. You’d be like, WTH(eck)?

July 3rd, 2009 6:05am Singapore Greenwich Mean Time + 8 hours
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Here’s how fights/action are/is filmed in Transformers Revenge of the Fallen.

Never before has writing a review taken me five freaking days! It’s just, every time I think, “Finally, that’s it.” Nope, another shell shock flashback distraughts me into a panicked 'was-that-real-or-just-a-nightmare' disorienting perception hiccup.

Let’s continue along this path of looking at what the film succeeds yet fails at: The action. Not only is it filmed like a far-sighted cinematographer forgot his glasses, the action is also meaningless!

You might be asking, “Do explosions need backstory? Connection to characters? Emotional impact?”

ABSOFREAKINGLUTELY!

Most of us have watched some WWE fights, right? I was into it back in the Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Macho Man Savage days (mid '80s) and again during The Rock vs. Stone Cold heyday of 1999-2001. I know UFC is the new WWE, so if you watch one or the other, the lessons are the same; fights work best with developed characters and storylines.

Think back to all the classic battles, all the Wrestlemanias and Monday Night Raws. We all watched the matches because we were emotionally invested with the fighters, we knew their motivations and stakes and followed developed storylines..

That’s the purpose of the interviews, the window/reflection/confession cam moments when we took the time to say, “I like/hate this guy.” Then when the fight date was set, the anticipation was built, BECAUSE WE KNEW WHAT WAS AT STAKE!

The live action treatment of the Optimus/Megatron rivalry/storyline has been third world: malnourished and totally expendable. WWE has created the pop culture's premiere male soap opera. It’s based in drama, character and emotions. Yes, those emotions are very primal most of the time with anger being the most popular. But, there’s also some sadness, pride and even love, in a bromance kind of way, especially between tag team partners who eventually switch sides, backstab and betray which leads to vengeance, etc.

This is nothing new. History has Brutus and Caesar, Cain and Abel, Romulus and Remus, Sir Lancelot and King Arthur. Every age, every culture has a bromance gone bad. More importantly, real people that equal real drama.

One of my favorite examples that Transformers could/should have studied was the Muhammad Ali/Joe Frazier rivalry. It’s so classic and uber engrossing. On October 1st, 1975, these two modern day gladiators fought the final of their 3 battles and it’s one of the, if not, the greatest heavyweight clashes ever.

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Yes, the WWE develops characters better than TROTF.

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Fights can actually mean something.

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The Paris & Nicole/Bird & Magic/Louis & Schmeling rivalries are more interesting than the one between Optimus and Megatron.

There are two main factors for this:
  • 1) The physical fight, in the ring was amazing.
  • 2) The mental fight, outside the ring was engaging.
As an experiment, watch the match without knowing anything about their real world drama, the personal emotional war of words and feelings they waged in the months before the fight ( it was actually building up over a period of years, but let’s make it easy). Watching that fight you’ll be exhilarated just like you are watching robot butt-kicking in Transformers.

But then, watch the interviews, get all up in their 'bizness' and then watch the fight knowing what they're thinking and feeling as they throw every punch and bump gloves before the start of the fight and look into each others eyes. At the end, as the very real threat of death and permanent damage increases with the impact of each blow, then pay attention to how you’re experiencing the fight and ask yourself which way of viewing it is better.

Another great example of physical fighting that has bigger meaning is the Max Schmeling/Joe Louis rivalry of the late 1930s. It was America vs Nazi Germany, Black vs White, Freedom vs Totalitarianism. Listening to those fights (back then it was all radio), there was entertainment and meaning.

Have you ever found yourself mimicking a punch Nintendo Wii style at the screen as you watched a movie? I remember watching The Net in 1995... Yes, at the theater - yeah, I know the movie is Lifetime Channel cheesy, but I was like 5, Sandra Bullock was a new Hollywood Hottie and my parents wanted to see it... Obviously, I wouldn’t pay for that today in theaters. :) But, I guess the money was worth it because I have this memory of this older dude (in his late 60s) a row up from our seats swinging at the screen as Sandra punched out the bad guy. For some reason, this dude was really into the movie and connected to Sandra’s need for vengeance and justice (though, he might have been having a “senior moment”).

If that movie and fake wrestling and real world boxing can create, capture and connect us to it, why can’t Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen?

Because we don’t require it to. Because Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a reflection of who we are, of what we’ve become.

Junkies. All we want is The High.

So, I guess this is the part of the review where I’m gonna get all philosophical and “deep” even though I’m not trying to get on a soap box or anything “serious” like that. It just needs to be said.

First, I want you to know that I LOVE SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS! I grew up in the '90s and '00s and have seen all the big comic book movies of the 21st century. I love movies that take me away, have 'holy crap' effects, half naked love interests and rough and tough heroes that only speak in catchy one liners. I can recite all the Ah-nuld lines in Predator, Running Man and Total Recall (of which all of'em I was lucky to catch on TV, save Running Man). I saw Independence Day at the theater like 3 times (had to beg my parents to take me there repetitively) just to see aliens destroying crap. I own DVDs for Old School, Grandma’s Boy and Jacka**. I’m a regular movie loving Joe Average, not some snobby douche who only watches “films” that have to have subtitles and be in black and white. All in all, I just love stories, storytelling, storyhearing and storysaying... as long as it’s “good.”

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The deadliest Transformer of them all: Vag*n* Dentata!

Cinema is the medium for sharing stories and, whether we believe it or not, stories impact our lives.

Here are a couple thoughts on the term, "culture":
  • Definition - the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious or social group and the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting it all to succeeding generations.
  • Clifford Geertz wrote:Culture is simply the ensemble of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.
The quote by Geertz reveals how the knowledge of culture is translated: through story.

So here are some thoughts about story:
  • Kenneth Burke wrote:Stories are equipment for living.
  • Plato wrote:Be careful what is dramatized on stage. Humans are prone to reenact, to imitate what they see.
Look, I’m the last person who wants to go to movies that “preach” and “teach.” If I want that, I’ll go to school, church or check out a documentary. But what I do want is EFFORT! For the filmmakers to at least TRY!

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen takes it to the next level: It just doesn’t give a crap. Because it doesn’t have to! Because we don’t give a crap.

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Hmmm...I wonder who were the inspiration for these guys?

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Yep, that sounds right. Flava Flav!!! and Tyrone Biggums.

The funny thing about having standards is that if someone wants something from you, they’ll meet your requirements. In this case, since the expectation bar is lower than the United States math scores, the standards are lowered. Story here is a bimbo because it limbos down to our expectations, thus selling itself out to make a quick Opening Weekend dollar - which as of this sentence equals $200 million in the first 5 days. That's just a few million behind The Dark Night’s 5 day take.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is on pace to make as much money as The Dark Knight?! Is it okay to start crying in public now? Are there any more fallout shelters for sale? Duct tape and surgical masks, anyone? What the freaking heck?!

The Dark Knight, though not perfect, at least developed characters, story and overall drama so the action sequences actually meant something as they charged our adrenaline centers. It was the White Knight of hope in our darkening cinematic world. I guess Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is The Joker and it has won and proven that we can be driven to destroy ourselves and our movie future.

Movies used to have “isms,” now they only have “gasims.” This is where we tie back into that thought about being addicts, just wanting our CGI fix, not caring about what happens before it appears on-screen and oblivious to the ramifications of our box office dollars on the future of movies. Just give us cool looking crap and we’re happy. What are we? 4? “Just look at the pretty colors?”

When riding a roller coaster, the twists, dips and flips are fun because of the “boring” moments - the “build up” breaks. As the chains pull us towards the top of the drop, we build anticipation, we know it’s coming but need the down time to contrast the feeling and experience so that it can have an effect. Constantly whirling and twirling turns enjoyment into 'inmystomachupmythroatoutmymouthallovertherowbehindme-ment.'

I don’t want to feel like a meth fiend! Slow the F down!

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A picture is worth $200 million opening extended weekend.

If movies communicate culture because they contain story, then it looks like our expectations of story reflect our standards of culture, which anchors itself in our mating rituals.

Here's the dating or 'hook up' culture: Let’s have fun, enjoy our time together, but let’s not get too serious, because it’s gonna end predictably. We’ve heard, seen and experienced this before. Someone will cheat on someone before it inevitably ends, so let’s just get straight to the real reason we’re here instead of pretending this is all about something else like romance, love and longevity (or in the case of movies, character, drama and story). I want what you got and versa vices. This is probably so because we’re so used to clicking and hitting what we want and need in life at the speed of the Internet we’ve forgot the importance of experiencing the journey, not just the goal.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is one of the most 'department story mannequin,' plastic fruit, breast implant experiences I’ve ever been a part of at the movies. It’s good enough to sell you on the fantasy, but it always leaves you appreciating the reality. There’s so much more to CSI(nvestigate) about this cinematic crime, but lets save the discussion about the rest for a full-length review. Some of these topics to discuss are:
  • ROBOT HEAVEN!!!
  • Mudflap & Skids, really? What happened? 'Stero & Type' were already taken as names? Is Optimus so desperate for Autobots that he searched the back alleys of Cybertron and found a couple of robo crack heads?
  • The Bad Boys II poster in Sam’s room.
  • The dialog - let’s just say urbandictionary.com should have some screenwriting credit.
  • Bootyformer on the motorcycle.
  • The way Sam is basically 'Chuck' from the NBC show under the same name.
  • The destruction of the Energon weapon before we get to see it build up power and go off.
  • The ending.
  • The... ...oh, F it! Enough!
If this didn’t have 120 terabytes of CGI Pornography, this would be this decade’s Battlefield Earth. This would be our Plan 9 From Outer Space. This is the forefather of Idiocracy’s Oscar winner butt.

Wow, I guess I like this movie less than I had in the theater. The more I remember the scenes and especially see the potential, the more I feel like a parent that worked 3 jobs for 20 years to save for my kids' college fund, only to see it all pissed away in drinking games and Rock Band dorm room all-nighters. It had a chance to do something special, but it just settled for the lowest common denominator and it's not because it didn’t know better, but because it DID know better!

It knew that we would put up with it, that we wouldn’t require much of it. It knew we just wanted our CGI money shots and no one involved with the movie wanted anything more. This movie insults everything that used to be great about Summer blockbuster adventures. It insults us not with a sophisticated slap in the I-challenge-you-to-a-duel-face with a white silk glove. No, it eats a bowl of chili, washes it down with a burrito laced with Ex-Lax and stands over our face for three hours going 'Mt. Vesuvius' on us.

And just like how Mt. Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii in A.D. 79, if Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen makes a billion dollars, it will be the eruption that destroys our storytelling civilization. It will be the Megadisaster that blocks out the sun, plunging us into a dark age. Think I’m overreacting? Ask yourself, do you really think Part 3 will fix all these problems? More importantly, if we poured a billion into this, are we suddenly gonna wake up and say, “I demand more for my $10!”? I hope so. I still hold out some hope, but since the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, it doesn’t look promising. Though, it's like Harvey Dent said, “The night is darkest before the dawn." (even though the dawn he had expected didn't really arrive after the dusk)

By the time Transformers 3: Just Give Us Your F*#$ing Money Already hits theaters in 2011, the good movie lovers' resistance to the Moviepocalypse might be over. Imagine, in the theater, opening night, we gaze up at the enormous face of Megatron. Five years it had taken us to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the metal. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two popcorn scented tears trickle down the sides of our nose. But it’s all right, everything is all right, the struggle is finished. We have won the victory over ourselves. We love 'Bayformers.'

The Dragon of Omnipotency rates Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in two different ways:
  • If you’re seeing it in the theater, then yes, it’s (W) WORTHY of the big screen,
  • BUT at (M) MATINEE price.
  • Other than that it’s (EDTV) EDITED FOR TV. You don’t need to pay attention for story. You could probably watch it with the sound turned off and not miss anything, even though there is some nice action scene sound editing. Aside from that, it’s non stop action, so you don’t really need the fast forward ability of the remote.
  • All the other ratings from the Preview Review still apply, including (TS) Trilogy Syndrome,
  • (PEFBGBO) Pre-Existing Fanbase Guarantees Box Office,
  • (DF) Director Factor,
  • (AF) Actor Factor,
  • (BRO) Bromance,
  • (CGIP) CGI Pornography,
  • and it’s a (SOTMP) Sign of the Moviepocalypse

In terms of its...

Place In Movie History
It’s great for its effects, but it’s so horrible in every other area of filmmaking that it’s all in all worse than Transformers (2007) and Transformers: The Movie (1986). Again, the CGI is amazing - when it’s not in extreme close up - but that’s not enough to rank it higher.

On a final, final note, I don’t want to piss on peoples dreams, likes and passions. There’s enough crazy crap going on in this world that can bring us down, so if there’s some entertainment that helps us relax and forget all the chaos, there’s something to be said for that. Just always trust your gut, but don’t forget to use your head. Somewhere between the two you’ll find the truth.

Until next time, take care, choose your movies wisely because H-Wood gives us more of what we pay for and as always...

LONG LIVE GOOD MOVIES!

~ Flare
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Postby Disney_Guy » Sun Jul 05, 2009 8:17 am

Well I saw Transformers 2 today, and needless to say... I thought it was a complete waste of time.
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Postby thedriveintheatre » Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:18 am

Flare, Disney Guy: So did you guys have fun? :D :D Oh wait, rhetorical question.

Well, the verdict is in: Transformers is the biggest box-office grosser of 2009 (so far)! :)

Despite the film critics' whining, Transformers 2 ruled the summer box-office two weekends ago with the second biggest opening in history, a massive $201.2M in its first five days. Interestingly, the only other film to ever gross more in its first five days was last summer's The Dark Knight which hauled in a slightly better $203.8M.

As for last weekend, it tied with another sequel, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs for a $42.5M estimate for the Friday-to-Sunday span. Still, it has managed an impressive $293.5M total after just 12 days. That puts Michael Bay's tentpole pic at number 30 on the all-time domestic blockbusters list tied with 1999's The Sixth Sense. Optimus and Co. has also leaped past Pixar's Up to become this year's largest grosser and will top the $300M mark on Monday or Tuesday. Also, while the picture has since broke the IMAX opening weekend record, it has managed an impressive third among second weekends, behind Star Trek and The Dark Knight.

With no other tentpoles (unless you count Bruno :P) scheduled to open until Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's July 15th launch, it very well looks like its domestic haul alone could very well shoot past $350M in the weeks ahead.

Overseas, Revenge of the Fallen invaded 58 countries and raked in $166.1 million Wednesday-to-Sunday on 9,910 screens, highlighted by an English language record in China. :shock: It has accumulated $190.3 million thus far, bringing the worldwide total to $390.3 million. The first movie's final haul was $389 million overseas for a worldwide total of $708.3 million.

Sources: Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Guru Wrapup and Box Office Mojo's Weekend Report

Now, I am disappointed that a dumber blockbuster movie has beaten Up to become the top-grosser of 2009 so far. :-( But Up has had a great theatrical run, and if Transformer 2's stellar performance means anything, it may mean we may get a sequel (hears collective groans of film critics everywhere)! It could be a good or a bad thing, depending on whether you liked the series.

But if anything, all that statistical mumbo-jumbo I just quoted could mean one of two things. Either:

a) Michael Bay makes really good summer blockbuster motion pictures
or
b) Contemporary cinemagoers prefer their films to be loud and stupid fun which borderlines on vulgarity.

I'm inclined to think most of you would choose the latter. Whatevs. :roll: :D
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Postby CMB » Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:34 am

This movie was beyond words!

I was so impressed with not only the story line, but the modeling and texturing on the transformers. Im glad this movie was as long as it was.

Some of the jokes were bland and cheesy but i looked passed it and the movie was great!

id give it an easy 9/10
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Postby thedriveintheatre » Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:37 am

Glad you enjoyed the film more than most members here, CMB. I still stand by my decision that although it's an intellectual and narrative drought, the visuals and special effects are a sumptuous feast for the eyes.

Watching Linkin Park's New Divide music video brings back wonderful memories of big-screen blockbuster action movies and better times... :)
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Postby The Star Swordsman » Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:45 pm

I'm glad you enjoyed it too CMB.
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Postby CMB » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:07 pm

Yup, i own the first one so ill definitely be buying it once it hits the shelves! :)
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Postby The Star Swordsman » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:08 pm

I don't have either dvd/blu-ray. But I think I should. TF2:ROTF was one of my favorite movies of this year.
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Postby CMB » Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:29 pm

Blue-Rays are too expensive IMO. Im going to stick with the good ole' dvd's until they turn into old technology like VHS tapes are now.
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