Sunday, July 12, 2009

Optimus Past His Prime



Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Benjamin Hickey, and Kevin Dunn.
Directed by Michael Bay.

Ugh. This movie pretty much oblitherated everything I liked about the first one. Two and a half hours of crashes and explosions where the camera never stops moving, and not once at any point did I care about character on screen.

There's no real story here that I could discern beyond more Decepticons show up to destroy stuff, and the Autobots fight back. Some bits and pieces:

- About 20 minutes in, I decided to consciously watch for any shot where the camera doesn't move and the one scene lasts at least three seconds. I gave up after another 20 minutes. I actually felt a little dizzy during one scene where Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox kiss as the camera spins around them.

- You may have heard of the two Autobots that some are referring to as the Jar Jar Twins. They do across as characters Dave Chappelle might have done in a ghetto spoof. Beyond the annoying aspects of those two (one even has a gold tooth!) there's an old British transformer that shows up. Total Rudyard Kipling type. He even uses a cane. Why do the Transformers have such modern human behaviors and characteristics? Aren't they aliens?

- College apparently is a place full of horny supermodels just waiting to be overcome with lust for geeky students in the Shia LaBeouf mold or geeky professors in the Rainn Wilson mold.

- John Turturro was one of the most irritating characters from the first movie, but in doing the same thing surrounded by this movie, he comes out as the best thing this has going.

- There's one scene where Sam (Shia) accidentally finds a shard of the original Cube that's been sitting in his closet for two years. Right. And when he drops it, it eats through the floor and brings a bunch of their kitchen appliances to life as cackling little Decepticons. Reminded me exactly of what happens when you get a Mogwai wet.

- Remember the EPA jerk so memorably played by William Atherton in Ghostbusters? This movie has one of those, a bureaucrat sent by Pres. Obama who orders the Autobots to leave Earth (well, America, anyway) to see if the Decepticons will leave too. Since he was sent by Obama, I wondered if his title was Transformers Czar.

- You telling me that a tall temple in the middle of the Egyptian desert wouldn't have encouraged some archaelogists through the decades to look a little more closely at what might be behind that hollow wall?

- Ever watch NBC's Chuck? Shia LaBeouf does a decent impersonation of Chuck having a flash.

- I don't mind quick in-jokes, but a fifteen-second shot lingering on a guy's dorm-room wall where the Bad Boys II poster is displayed was really cheesy.

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