Now, I know that this is a Michael Bay movie.
And that being said, if you take it for what it's made to do – rumble the theater and blow your ass out of your seat, old school Maxell ad style – then you have to give this movie props.
So, our little event went off as planned, and about 25 of us went to see the show. I was too busy running around being the event planner to take any pictures, but suffice it to say that it was a nice night of meat (restaurant before the movie) and metal (the giant robots I'm going to talk about below).
[MINOR SPOILERS ALERT, BUT VERY MINOR]
Yeah, yeah. Pearl Harbor suuuuucked. I know. But The Rock rocked. And so did Armageddon, if you were able to forget logic and basic-physics-on-an-asteroid-so-relatively-small-the-main-characters-should-have-been-all-but-weightless, but it was enjoyable. In those good Jerry Bruckheimer/Michael Bay movies, what made it work were well-drawn (and overblown) main characters, good action dialogue, and action sequences that were themselves so good that you were cheering in your chair.
It doesn't take much more than that to make a summer blockbuster worthy of the large popcorn and nearly a gallon of Coke. Add in some strong air conditioning, and that's America, baby, and I was nearly home Saturday night.
I didn't like the viewing experience much at the press screening nearly a month ago, since it was a bunch of veteran journalists for whom it would be too gauche to be yelling and cheering in their seats – but I could tell they wanted to. Hehe. I heard their tittering. And that's why I wanted to watch the movie properly.
Our little audience of mostly Americans and – several of us of the darker persuasion – were joined by a much higher percentage of other folks who looked to be American; it definitely made the room a bit more responsive than usual, and I noticed that a lot of Koreans were joining in the laughter at the several good jokes and comedic elements in the film, and there was some noticeable "oohing" and "aahing" when Optimus Prime first transformed, Starscream comes whooshing in an transforms several times in midair (it was in the trailer, guys), or when Megatron and Prime throw down, downtown.
I liked the fact that the main human characters were actually likable and you did actually care whether they were stomped by a giant robot or not; the girl was actually hot, and if you were thinking about it, she actually saved the main male character's ass each time, instead of the girl panicking and needing to be saved.
All I have to say about that is that I love the fact that movies can portray the hot chick as more than just the "hot chick" – now, she can break down an engine, work a metal saw, and drive a tow truck backwards with a battle robot on the back – "You shoot, I'll drive!" – we have Aliens and Terminator 2 to thank for such characters, who also appeared in major hits that did more for imagining strong women on film than any other films had done in Hollywood ever.
It wasn't "Get away from her, you bitch!" or Sarah Connor one-hand cocking a 12-gauge and blowing the T-1000 a new asshole on his face, but I am happy to see the a leading lady taking charge become standard fare. The main male character was basically an overgrown kid named Witwicky trying to protect his pet giant robot friend. Awwww. Ain't that cute?
[END MINOR SPOILERS]
In any case, Transformers rocked me. Socked me. It did its job. Special effects were stunning. The action delivered. Much metal was mashed, buildings destroyed, respect for figures of adult and institutional authority flaunted.
A Michael Bay movie. When they're good, they're goooood. And when they're bad, they're baaaaad. This one's on the better side of good – it ain't perfect, but then again, I don't think this one was going for an Oscar for anything other than Best Whup Ass Sequences – so if you don't have unrealistic expectations of getting the richness and emotional complexity of The Last Emperor or the subtle and nuanced exploration of passion and loss that was The English Patient (a movie which I hated, by the way, except for that cool Indian guy), you should enjoy this movie immensely.
It isn't the cool-gasm that was Aliens or T2 or The Matrix, which was A+ material and forced me to take a shower when I got home; but that's a high standard, since we don't have anything in Transformers that reaches the level of Ripley in the robosuit, the metal Terminator morphing and mashing on mofos, or Neo bullet-timing on a bitch. That's asking for a lot.
But this was solid B+ material, and worth seeing twice. Harry Potter and his magic munchkin friends are fun and all, and the films well executed, but you can't get into that as an adult – I mean, like seeing it and thinking "Whup dat ass, Harry! Yeah!" You just don't think in that mode with high school kids in wizard outfits. At least, I don't.
What else do we have coming down the line? Die Hard 4. Yep – getting good reviews, to everyone's surprise. I'm gonna go see that, as well as Rambo IV (you can also watch the trailer) – yes, if you haven't been paying attention, it's coming out – and the word is that it might be just as a surprisingly kickass-a-4th-entry-in-a-series-we-all-thought-was-dead-but-turned-out-to-rock as the recent Rocky was.
My next call? Rambo. But that's 2008 and too far away. Next function? Alien vs. Predator 2: Survival of the Fittest.
It might be in the theaters here in Korea for like 3 days, so we'll have to be on top of that baby. But looks passable. And fun. And it's gonna be rated R this time, not no punkass PG-13. They say it'll be a lot better than the turd they dropped and called the first Alien vs. Predator movie, Except that the fight scenes were good. And the Aliens looked good. And the Predator was cool. So it was kinda good. You can see the directors talk about it here. December, baby.
Hehe. Yes, I am full of contradictions. But I'm gonna see that movie with a group. You game?