Shia LaBoeuf, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, John Malkovich, Leonard Nemoy
Canadian Rating: PG
Despite the following things:
- My distaste for the first Transformers movie,
- My anger toward this genre of films from all the laziness that goes into making them,
- Michael Bay,
- Too much action in a movie,
- That I saw the movie at 10 in the morning,
I kinda liked this movie.
Obviously, a part of my enjoyment was due to expecting not to like it. Normally I will argue that “expectations” don’t affect my opinion, and I am very proud of being able to form an opinion without being “controlled” by “hype” or “build-up”, whether negative or positive.
But this time, expectations was definitely a factor. If you’re going into a fight with all of your muscles tense and braced for the thrashing of a lifetime, but then you just get Mr. Burns throwing terribly weak punches, well, it’s going to feel good. It must release endorphins when something is not as bad as you expected.
Now that we got that out of the way, here is the outline for my review:
1) Stuff I didn’t hate.
If you’d like me to dumb it down a shade, let me know! I was thinking of having a section for stuff I did hate, but it’s so quick that I can run that by you right now.
1. The final action sequence could have been shorter, because you’re watching the same thing for, it feels like, a solid hour. Even the fiancé got bored and he loves action. But there are cool things in that sequence that I discuss later.
2. And that Carly girl: too much chest and butt close-ups! Trust me, we have eyes! We can see that she’s hot! It looked too much like they were overcompensating for losing Megan Fox.
Stuff I Didn’t Hate
This happens every damn time I watch a Michael Bay movie. I’m all geared up to make fun of every pathetic/cliché/badly acted/fake/thrown together line before the writers cut out early to get wasted, using their fat wallets to celebrate their paycheques that roll in after they use material which I’m sure they stole from my grade 3 creative writing notebook.
Then I realize I’m not watching Spiderman 3 and that everything’s ok, and that Michael Bay actually does spring for good writers. Not as much as for graphics, but it’s decent. And one rule for me is that if you want to win me over, use good lines. And I’ll like it. I may not always love it, but I feel like that is the most important part of a movie. So I’ll appreciate that you had your priorities in order.
The dialogue was relaxed and natural. It didn’t feel constructed or contrived, and it even seemed even a bit improvised (something I always agree with). I assume some of Shia La – (sigh, one thing I hate about reviewing films is interrupting my train of thought to google how these actors’ names are spelled) – Beouf’s lines were improvised, because he rambles a lot, and I have a friend who is just like him and he talks and rambles like crazy and he would be great at improv, so I assume it’s the same for Shia.
3) John Malkovich
Always a treat.
I have never seen Chicago get destroyed like that! I’m sure it’s happened, but for me that was new and exciting! From my observation, New York and LA are the destroyer movies, while Chicago and Miami are the feel good movies. I mean, “While You Were Sleeping”? “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”? Do you dare destroy Ferris’s hometown?
5) Leonard Nemoy
I’m not sure if it was Leonard Nemoy that I loved more, or the moment where Joel and I both realized that it was Leonard Nemoy at the same, and we turned to each other and gasped.
I feel like Leonard’s presence added something special to the movie. These autobots, especially the leaders, need powerful commanding voices that sound above-human, and Leonard’s voice is perfect for that.
Admittedly, it was very weird when he quoted Star Trek and said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” At first, I was totally having a temper tantrum. Without revealing too much, his character Sentinal used it in a way that was really out of context, so the obsessive part of me was perturbed. But then, I realized, hey, Star Trek is mostly old news if it’s not with Chris Pine, so it was a little something for the fans. Plus I got to explain the reference to Joel, so the movie wasn’t just him explaining Transformer references to me.
6) An Imperfect Hero
The whining did get annoying, trust me. And I will gladly complain about that. If I had to listen to Sam say one more time, “I saved the world twice and now I have to work in a stupid mailroom,” I would have sent a popcorn bag sailing toward the screen. But nonetheless, he is an imperfect teenager who makes silly mistakes, and that has much more appeal for the audience, especially because he contrasts with the older, more mature autobots.
One of my favorite lines is when he completely bombs his interview with John Malkovich’s character, Bruce. Then when Sam is about to leave he turns around and says, “look, I can’t tell you what I did but I’ve saved your life twice. I’ve done s**t that matters.” And he gets hired!
7) Compare/Contrast with Transformers 1
Here is another important key as to why I liked it even though many reviewers (who are kinder to these genres) did not care for it.
I really didn’t like the first Transformers. I felt like it was 20% character development and plot build-up (which was very good!) but then 80% action. And that is how to make Pertobello snore.
Giant wads of action do not impress me or win my heart over. Normally I can only handle 20 minutes at a time, but with Michael Bay, obviously I need to compromise. So I propose that he break it up more, which he did for me in T3.
Story, Action, Story, Action, Story, Action, Story, Action, Action, Action, Action.
Story, Action, Action, Action, Action, Action, Action, Action, Action, Action.
I never went to see Transformer 2, if you’ve been wondering about that. I heard that it went more like this:
ACTION x 10^12
So I figured I’d be ok if I missed that one.
8) Chicago Again
Chicago is a beautiful city. I was so impressed when I was there in February 2011. Just gorgeous. The shots of the city in this movie were breathtaking, and it felt like I was there again.
There was one scene where Shockwave, the crazy giant snake Decepticon, wrapped around this glass building and trapped the good guys inside (please excuse my ignorance if Shockwave is supposed to be an eel or something. I’m not up on my Transformers knowledge).
The graphics were amazing. Since the bulk of the sequence took place in the morning, the sun glistened off windows as the building was reshaped. With the morning light and the reflections on the building, Michael was able to get some gorgeous shots.
So that was my take on Transformers 3. Was it a perfect movie? No. But the important thing is I didn’t spend the movie wincing and doing a half-shrug, half throwing hands up in the air gesture either, which I do during painful movies.
It was fun, it was worth my money for sure, and I’d see it again.