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Angela Jun 15, 2009 (edited Jun 22, 2009)

Piggybacking off the FILMS 2009 thread, let us celebrate the return of cinematic thread individualism (sorry, couldn't help myself. ;P) by unveiling the official thread for what is sure to be the biggest summer blockbuster of the year.  Early reviews of the new Transformers flick have been made available from the press who attended the Tokyo and UK premieres.  Impressions, perhaps unsurprisingly, tend to linger on these common phrases: "Bigger, badder, longer, mindless, and stupid & proud." 

I've found theshiznit.co.uk's review the best read, since they appear to have surmised a fair evaluation on what Transformers as a film is all about.  There are some potentially minor scene spoilers to be found in the full review, but here are some of the more notable quotes:

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"In truth, Revenge Of The Fallen doesn't stray too far from the solid framework built in the first movie. It mixes superb action sequences – directed with panache and almost pornographic glee by a never-better Bay – with frequent scenes of light comic relief, some of which work, some of which don't." 

"Similarly, Revenge Of The Fallen shares its predecessor's tin ear for the spoken word.  Dialogue, as if it even matters, is delivered at breakneck speed and is barely audible amongst the cacophony of metal on metal. What can be heard isn't much worth listening to – it doesn't feel much like a script, rather a transcription of Action Man's greatest pull-string catchphrases." 

"Transformers was built from the ground up to be a popcorn-devouring, eye-popping, nostalgia-sparking crowd-pleaser – and Revenge Of The Fallen sees Michael Bay tick all those boxes and more."

---

To address XLord007's beef with the first film, regarding the robot fights, IGN's Parfitt has this to say: "It is also clear that Bay has refined and improved his technique when it comes to directing action since the first Transformers. Many found the robot-on-robot fighting in T1 over-edited and made even more confusing because they took place in unclear backgrounds (i.e. a smashed-up downtown LA) - often you couldn't even tell which Transformer was fighting which.  Bay has - to an extent anyway - cleared this up in ROTF, with more lingering tracking shots, cleaner environments and establishing framing."

However, it doesn't look like they've done much in the way of polishing up the character development, which was MY beef with the first film.  But mayhaps I'm placing my expectations in the wrong places; chances are, I'm going to have a good time with the sequel all the same.  Mindless, stupid & proud fun. 

And as a heads-up, according to Blu-ray.com, those who own the Blu-ray edition of the first film will be treated to a BD-Live update starting on 6/16/09.  The update includes a new preview to Fallen, as well as access to an additional 25 minutes of exclusive, all-new bonus material for the original film.

shdwrlm3 Jun 15, 2009

Angela wrote:

However, it doesn't look like they've done much in the way of polishing up the character development, which was MY beef with the first film.  But mayhaps I'm placing my expectations in the wrong places; chances are, I'm going to have a good time with the sequel all the same.  Mindless, stupid & proud fun.

The fact that they even attempted human character development was my biggest problem with the first movie. The movie is titled "Transformers," not "Humans."

That said, I pretty much squealed when I saw Devastator in the commercials for RotF. I'm sure I still have my old figures somewhere. I feel the need to put it together again. Now, if only we could get the Dinobots into the movies.

Nemo Jun 15, 2009

I only care about this movie because Megan Fox is in it, and she's the sexiest woman alive.

Angela Jun 15, 2009

Nemo wrote:

I only care about this movie because Megan Fox is in it, and she's the sexiest woman alive.

And John Duhamel provides the eye-candy for us ladies.

I mean, seriously.

Wanderer Jun 15, 2009

I consider the first movie a guilty pleasure. It's far too long and the second half isn't nearly as entertaining as the first but there's something to be said for lots of explosions and the usual high-budgeted mayhem.

And yes, there's plenty of human eye candy as well. tongue

Idolores Jun 16, 2009 (edited Jun 16, 2009)

Nemo wrote:

I only care about this movie because Megan Fox is in it, and she's the sexiest woman alive.

I'd murder my grandmother to wake up next to that woman.

Nemo Jun 16, 2009

Idolores wrote:
Nemo wrote:

I only care about this movie because Megan Fox is in it, and she's the sexiest woman alive.

I'd murder my grandmother to wake up next to that woman.

Hell yeah, she's incredible, and she gets extra points for tats.  What's amazing is that she's with Brian Austin Green, who was once dating the almost-equally gorgeous Vanessa Marcil.  I'm not at all one to get gaga over "hot celebs" and this man has been with 2 of the 3 celebrities I could ever care about (the 3rd being Tiffani Thiessen).  I don't know what kind of mojo this man is running (I don't see it), but I need some.

Amazingu Jun 16, 2009

Nemo wrote:

Hell yeah, she's incredible, and she gets extra points for tats.

She gets plenty of points as it is for tits, bro wink

Nemo wrote:

this man has been with 2 of the 3 celebrities I could ever care about (the 3rd being Tiffani Thiessen).

A-f*cking-MEN!
Tiffani Thiessen is probably at the top of my list, to this day.

Angela Jun 17, 2009

Amazingu wrote:

Tiffani Thiessen is probably at the top of my list, to this day.

That one episode of Saved By The Bell that featured Kelly's little sister, Nicki..... I vividly recall the boys in my elementary school falling head over heels for her instead.  Maybe it's because she more within our age bracket at the time.

Is it wrong that I preferred Screech over Zack and Slater?  ;p  Though I gotta admit, Mario Lopez still looks damned good even today.

Angela Jun 17, 2009 (edited Jun 22, 2009)

Okay, so I admit to being naughty and listened to the leaked score for Fallen today.  Since Jablonsky's outing from the first is still fresh in my mind after seeing the film last weekend, I wanted see how it directly compares.  I was also curious to see how it stacks up against my current favorite Jablonsky score, Gears of War 2. 

My initial listen yielded a far more favorable response than the first Transformers did.  Two years has certainly made a difference, and Jablonsky, assuming that this is entirely his work, turns in a tighter, more coherent soundtrack.  It's darker and edgier than its predecessor, and wisely cuts down on the faux epic-bombast that smacked you upside the head from every corner before -- as a result, action cues and quieter moments alike carry much more weight.  There's also greater use of voice and choir, which, like Gears 2, gives off an otherworldly feel for which some of the film's settings could greatly benefit from.

Thematically, there are a number of carry-overs from the first, with the most prominent being the Autobots theme.  There are some terrific reprises in the tracks Infinite White, Forest Battle, and I Claim Your Sun.  The final track I Rise, You Fall offers the theme its most proper statement, and it's at this point that I've grown to like the theme a lot more than I did before.  Some of the more frenetic battle cues take shape through the Decepticon motif, but it's with these tracks the score relies on its hard-hitting presentation rather than attempting to be thematically sound.

Make no mistake, there's zero ground being broken with this score - it borrows from just about every RCP cliché in the book.  The time length clocks in relatively low, too; 44 minutes out of a 110 minutes worth of score practically assures that an extended soundtrack, either through official or unofficial channels, is in the works.  Despite that, though, Fallen is an entertaining listen, and has poured a little more fuel (check that: in Bay's case, super-high-premium grade octane fuel) onto my desire to see the flick.

Angela Jun 18, 2009

Yep, it's time for another useless (but fun!) "Which are you?" quiz! 

So, "Which Transformer are you?"  I turned out to be a Decepticon, heh.

You are 59% Frenzy!
"Frenzy is a chaotic spy turned boom box, sent by the Decepticons to infiltrate enemy strongholds.

Like Frenzy, you are not compassionate and harbor evil thoughts. You want to be a leader and show some promise, but you have much to learn. In addition, you use technology when you need to, but you do not embrace the latest trends."

Idolores Jun 18, 2009

Angela wrote:

Yep, it's time for another useless (but fun!) "Which are you?" quiz! 

So, "Which Transformer are you?"  I turned out to be a Decepticon, heh.

You are 59% Frenzy!
"Frenzy is a chaotic spy turned boom box, sent by the Decepticons to infiltrate enemy strongholds.

Like Frenzy, you are not compassionate and harbor evil thoughts. You want to be a leader and show some promise, but you have much to learn. In addition, you use technology when you need to, but you do not embrace the latest trends."

I got 71% Autobot. I'm Bumblebee. Thank the allspark I didn't get the cartoon version Bumblebee.

Amazingu Jun 18, 2009

I'm 63% Starscream apparently.
If I'd had to choose any vehicle from the Transformers, a Jet would definitely be it though.

Angela wrote:

That one episode of Saved By The Bell that featured Kelly's little sister, Nicki..... I vividly recall the boys in my elementary school falling head over heels for her instead.  Maybe it's because she more within our age bracket at the time.

I didn't really care for her Saved by the Bell appearance.
Now when she started to appear in BH 90210.....Yummy!

Angela Jun 21, 2009

^ It's time to embrace my compassionless, evil roots.  For this week, my avatar is..... Frenzified!

And that parody video is hilarious.  "Give me back that f-ing Matrix immediately."  Prime just went up about ten more points on the cool-o-meter here.

Adam Corn Jun 21, 2009 (edited Jun 22, 2009)

Saw it last night.  I guess I got it in my head after seeing the first movie that Michael Bay had become capable of sensible film-making.  Revenge of the Fallen brings me back to reality.  Here's my review (spoiler-free) which I've posted elsewhere.

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is the X-Men 3 of the Transformers series, sadly come one episode early.  The action and effects are enjoyable on a purely visceral level, but be willing to kick your brain back to elementary school to get anything out of the rest.

The first film wasn't exactly Oscar material but it did make some effort at establishing realism and plausibility; Revenge throws all that out the window for a far-out story and eccentric characters that would fit perfectly in the old cartoons but don't work so well in a live action movie in 2009.  Tons more robots are introduced but only a select few are interesting and a couple are just plain ridiculous.  Meanwhile some of the staple Transformers from the first movie are sadly disregarded, while fans of the old cartoons will find others straying too far from the characters they remember.

As for the humans, Shia LaBeouf's character loses much of his charm from the first movie and Megan Fox grows more tiresome with each successive Michael Bay slow-motion close-up.  Most of the supporting characters play their bit parts with little purpose as written into the story or as acted.

On the up side, the robot effects have improved noticeably over the already impressive CG from the first movie, and some of the action scenes (which are surprisingly few until the drawn out final battle) are truly jaw-dropping.  But with such a ridiculous story behind them it's just hard to care.

Angela Jun 22, 2009

Adam Corn wrote:

As for the humans, Shia LaBeouf's character loses much of his charm from the first movie

Best news I've heard so far. ;p

Good review, Adam.  Given our contrasting views on the first film, having a far-out story and eccentric characters may actually be more up my alley.  As said, something about the first film was suppressing my enjoyment, and I do think a part of that was their attempt at throwing realism into the mix.  Them going for elements more like the cartoon just may be what the doctor ordered.  Heck, it worked for Speed Racer.

By the way, I'm really digging Linkin Park's song contribution for the film, New Divide, and I'm hoping Jablonsky utilized more variations outside of the "Nest" theme featured on the score album.

Angela Jun 23, 2009 (edited Jun 23, 2009)

Angela wrote:

My initial listen yielded a far more favorable response than the first Transformers did.

I almost hate to admit it, but the first score is actually beginning to grow on me at an accelerated clip.  I picked up the official CD via iTunes, and though $17 for a digital release is steep, it's still a bargain compared to the outrageous aftermarket prices for a discontinued physical copy.  I'm finding this release to be the more favorable listen over the unofficial expanded score I came across online.  Less fluff, less filler, cleaner sound fidelity, and certainly stronger emphasis on the key themes.  The Autobots theme has some excellent reprisals in Optimus, Arrival To Earth, and You're A Soldier NowScorponok does have a great build-up to the film's main action theme (a theme worth noting has been omitted for the sequel, at least on its album release), but I can't shake the feeling that this is more of a poor man's attempt at what Pirates 2's The Kraken was.

I still prefer the darker, edgier and slightly more ethereal sound of the sequel, but I'm happy that I can now listen to both albums back to back without much listener's remorse.

Adam Corn Jun 23, 2009

Angela wrote:

Given our contrasting views on the first film, having a far-out story and eccentric characters may actually be more up my alley.  As said, something about the first film was suppressing my enjoyment, and I do think a part of that was their attempt at throwing realism into the mix.  Them going for elements more like the cartoon just may be what the doctor ordered.

Personally if I want cartoon caricatures and story I'll watch - wait for it - a cartoon.  If they're going to go through the time and expense of putting these sci-fi creations - no matter how fantastical - in a real-life setting with real-life people, I expect some amount of reality in the story and the characters' actions.

Angela wrote:

Heck, it worked for Speed Racer.

This would be another example of us having contrasting views. smile

I've been curious to read Dark Horizon's review of the movie and it's just gone up.  Site editor Garth Franklin goes into detail about several of the areas I found lacking in the film and his reviews generally make for a good read.

http://www.darkhorizons.com/reviews/944 … the-Fallen

Angela Jun 24, 2009 (edited Jun 24, 2009)

Adam Corn wrote:

I've been curious to read Dark Horizon's review of the movie and it's just gone up.  Site editor Garth Franklin goes into detail about several of the areas I found lacking in the film and his reviews generally make for a good read.

Dark Horizon does good reviews.  This one paragraph caught my eye, its sentiment in the back of my mind as I'm reading all the reviews stating Fallen's poor story:

"Even though it was the weakest element of the film, persistently middling scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman ("Eagle Eye," "The Island," M:I-3) actually seemed to improve on their usual cut and paste efforts earlier this Summer with the "Star Trek" reboot. Either they didn't care or J.J. Abrams didn't get enough credit for saving 'Trek' because their work here is so haphazard that one suspects some practical joker swapped a rough first draft for the shooting script on the first day of filming."

It's interesting how hit and miss Orci and Kurtzman are with their scripts.  I thought Star Trek was very well written, and M:I3 was solid as well.  However, Eagle Eye, The Island, and the first Transformers had some of the most piss-poor scripts I've ever seen featured in film -- which can lead one to the conclusion that there is indeed a significant impact when it comes to the collaboration between writers and the director.

Wanderer Jun 24, 2009 (edited Jun 24, 2009)

It's interesting how hit and miss Orci and Kurtzman are with their scripts.  I thought Star Trek was very well written, and M:I3 was solid as well.  However, Eagle Eye, The Island, and the first Transformers had some of the most piss-poor scripts I've ever seen featured in film -- which can lead one to the conclusion that there is indeed a significant impact when it comes to the collaboration between writers and the director.

I never felt Star Trek was a particularly good script. Granted, it's easily the best work by those writers but there's still too many plot holes and inconsistencies. What saves that movie is the direction. The movie is paced so relentlessly that there's not enough time to really think about the problems it has. Good editing (among other things) can sometimes save a bad script, which is something Michael Bay should think about as his movies are always *WAY TOO LONG*.

And of course, there's no way of knowing if the script was "touched up" by Abrams.

Adam Corn Jun 24, 2009 (edited Jun 25, 2009)

I think Orci and Kurtzman deserve kudos for being able to implement long-standing elements of properties like Transformers and Star Trek into scripts that are good enough to get greenlit.  But aside from that I would agree that their screenwriting is not that good, and when you compare the final products I think it's clear J.J. Abrams' involvement played a huge part in the quality of Star Trek and MI:3 compared to the writers' other projects.

Incidentally I saw Star Trek again last night and though it didn't hold up as well on second viewing as some of my other favorites, it was still enjoyable through and through and the brisk pacing definitely plays a large part in that.

Excess on many fronts (running length, action, number of characters) is a great part of the problem in Transformers 2.  There are so many parts of the story that are either so completely fantastical and cartoonish they would have been better off left completely to the viewer's imagination, or so random and unexplained they shouldn't have been touched on at all.  I blame it on three things:

1)  They had a release date before they had a polished script.
2)  You can't give a director like Michael Bay a blank check and a clean slate without some kind of restraint and expect anything other than a relentless yet meaningless assault on the senses.
3)  Hasbro wants to sell a lot of toys to the kiddies, so the more stuff crammed in there the better.  This is the most obvious and most irritating reason.

Roger Ebert's review has been getting a lot of attention.  I like his reviews alright but find he often focuses more on being clever than on actually discussing elements of the movie.  Same for some of the reviews from the British press I've read of Transformers 2 on Rotten Tomatoes, though the one that equates Michael Bay's "f---ing the frame" film-making philosophy to a woman faking orgasm is amusing. big_smile

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