Other films of mild interest include Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen....
Confession time: This weekend was the first time I had seen the first Transformers film. My capsule review: Patently awful for the first half, over-the-top "AWESOME" for the second. In other words, it's a Bay flick.
There's no denying that Transformers is a gorgeously shot film from frame one, and though obviously CG-heavy, there are enough practical elements, settings, and explosions to give the choreographed action an exciting edge. (The film looks and sounds positively staggering on Blu-ray, by the way. If nothing else, I'm glad I waited this long so that I could experience the film on said format.) The Autobot-Decepticon confrontation sequences toward the second half is bigger than huge, well shot, and lavished with some seriously slick special effects. This is essentially what you've come to see, and it doesn't disappoint on that front.
But the first half's character development was so eye-rollingly awful, so vapid, shallow, and forced, that it threatened to kill the entire movie for me. If I was sort of tired of LeBeouf before, I am now outright exhausted of him. His "No, no, no, no, no!" has got to be one of the most irritating cinematic taglines ever, and as a whole, he wades into hyper-obnoxious territory here. Don't get me wrong, he hams it up with well enough intentions, but Witwicky borders so heavily on aggravating, that the two personas are just kind of melding for me at this point. Fox's Mikaela is insipid to the point that you feel there's little sense of having her there for about nine-tenths of the film. Despite that, though, I do give credit to the fact that all of the characters introduced, supporting ones included, have something interesting to do by the second half -- and that includes Sam and Mikaela, the ragtag group of Qatar soldiers, hackers Maggie and Glen, and Turturro's excellently-smug Agent Simmons.
The excessive use of pop culture references and blatant product placement is sort of jarring, too. I can hang with a Camero and Solstice, sure, since they are character-driven - but when you throw in eBay, Visa, Nokia, a Xbox 360, Mountain Dew, Sandisk, and Dance Dance Revolution into the pot, it all does become a bit much. Also, did Optimus Prime seriously say, "My bad"?
Jablonsky's score is serviceable but hardly memorable. It's all rote textbook RCP, and nowhere as thematically tight as his more recent Gears of War 2. I'm hoping he's matured up to this point to weave a more structured soundtrack for the sequel.
So, now that I'm caught up, I'm officially ready for Revenge of The Fallen. If they can improve character development, expand and better pace the fight sequences, and just make the tone of the film tougher and grittier (all things they're taking into consideration, apparently) then I think it could seriously blow minds. We'll see soon enough.