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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen


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Is 'Transformers' a neocon screed in disguise?

We're reluctant to read any political subtext into a movie in which much of the screen time is given over to twenty-foot, talking CGI robots.

But after nine hours of sitting through//popping Advils at the "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" premiere tonight -- and then coming right out of the Westwood theater into the teeth of an Iranian election-protest -- we are left to wonder if the movie is an allegory for the Bush Doctrine, or at least a certain kind of post-9/11 hawkishness. . . .

Steven Zeitchik, Hollywood Reporter, June 23

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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One of the more disturbing aspects of the controversy over the "black stereotype" bots is Michael Bay's defense that he put those characters in there "for kids", to make the movie funnier and more "accessible" for them.

I mean, seriously, THIS movie was made "for kids"? Seriously? A movie in which a key line of dialogue goes something like "I am directly beneath the Deceptibot's scrotum," accompanied by an image of the two giant wrecking balls hanging between the robot's legs? A movie in which a middle-aged mother semi-accidentally ingests some marijuana and then proceeds to tell her son's female schoolmates that her boy recently "popped his cherry"? Etc., etc., etc.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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One of the more disturbing aspects of the controversy over the "black stereotype" bots is Michael Bay's defense that he put those characters in there "for kids", to make the movie funnier and more "accessible" for them.

Because, racial stereotyping in films for older and more mature audiences is just downright offensive, but in a kid's movie it is all right.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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'Transformers' bows to $60.6 million

Grossing $60.6 million, Paramount

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Just when I think Roger Ebert is getting too soft in his old age, he turns in a review like this. I love it!

that has to be one of the best reviews i've read in a long time, heh. i still laugh out loud when i think about it.

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Cinematical:

Revenge of the Fallen often feels like Bay's attempt to outdo virtually every action set piece of the past three decades at the same time, and that's sort of a reason to love him: his ambition runs a mile long and an inch deep. Remember the scene in The Dark Knight where Batman goes to Hong Kong? Well, what if that scene, like, had Transformers in it? Or the climax of Titanic, where the upended ship bobs vertically in the water as passengers hang on for dear life? Hanging Transformers would make that much better. What about Indiana Jones' pursuit of rare artifacts across dusty landscapes while decoding mysterious riddles? Think what that would be like... with Transformers!

That is awesome.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I'm having the most fun reading the defenses posted (usually as comments) for these negative reviews. They can usually be summed up like this: "Critics are stupid and don't know anything! This movie was the best movie ever!" One of Travers's naysayers wrote something like, "who is this Travers guy? No one had heard of him...RS should fire him and get a good critic!"

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I just saw this um, film, today, and while I agree with just about everything negative that has been said about it, I wonder whether some critics are piling on the negative hyperbole in the same way they sometimes over-praise good movies, such as Up or the Dark Knight last year. Peter Travers' review is a good example... I totally agree with what he's saying about Michael Bay objectifying women like a porn director, but Travers is also writing for a magazine that does this in almost every issue, including a recent web article featuring a glowing interview with some famous porn star, complete with salacious photos.

Again, I thought the movie was bad. It was typical Michael Bay (ie, dreadful). But the worst film of the decade?

My favorite moment: the heroes enter through the front door of the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, but when they burst out the back door a few minutes later, they're suddenly in what looks like the Arizona desert. Wow.

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Jason Panella wrote:

: One of Travers's naysayers wrote something like, "who is this Travers guy? No one had heard of him...RS should fire him and get a good critic!"

That's hilarious, considering Travers is one of the biggest quote whores around. Seriously, I remember talking to a colleague about this while standing in the lobby of the Fifth Avenue indie multiplex last year: we looked at one poster, and saw a Travers rave; then we looked at another poster, and saw another Travers rave; and then another poster, and another Travers rave; and on and on. It got to be quite funny, how many of them there were just in that one lobby at that one time.

So if even Travers didn't like this movie, then you KNOW it's gotta be bad! :)

morgan1098 wrote:

: . . . I wonder whether some critics are piling on the negative hyperbole in the same way they sometimes over-praise good movies, such as Up or the Dark Knight last year.

Yeah, like it or not, the new Transformers does have a good point or two. E.g., I appreciate the way Owen Gleiberman (who gives the film a B grade) describes this bit:

At college, Sam, having touched one of those otherworldly shards, finds himself possessed by a series of ancient symbols, and though this development is just a thin rehash of Richard Dreyfuss' possession in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, LaBeouf, talking a mile a minute, does something witty: He literally makes you feel that his brain is working too fast for his mouth.

: My favorite moment: the heroes enter through the front door of the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, but when they burst out the back door a few minutes later, they're suddenly in what looks like the Arizona desert. Wow.

Yeah, what was up with that!? Maybe that was an early instance of that one Transformer being able to teleport people, or something.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Haven't seen the film, and probably won't. But I stumbled across this interesting (at least to me) tidbit....

Leonard Nimoy voiced the re-emerged Megatron, known as Galvatron, in The Transformers: The Movie (1986). But apparently nepotism didn't play a part in the voice casting of Megatron (Hugo Weaving) in Michael Bay's two Transformer films. Leonard Nimoy and Michael Bay are cousins.

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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Baal_T'shuvah wrote:

: Leonard Nimoy voiced the re-emerged Megatron, known as Galvatron, in The Transformers: The Movie (1986). But apparently nepotism didn't play a part in the voice casting of Megatron (Hugo Weaving) in Michael Bay's two Transformer films. Leonard Nimoy and Michael Bay are cousins.

Close. Nimoy's WIFE, Susan Bay, is Michael Bay's cousin, once removed or something like that. (And her first husband was John Schuck, the actor who played the Klingon ambassador in ST4:TVH (directed by Nimoy) and ST6:TUC (produced by Nimoy). Schuck and Susan Bay also had guest appearances on Deep Space Nine, though not in the same episode.)

Glenn Kenny asks why the humour in this film is so dated:

But there's the thing, or one of the things, anyway; it's not just that Skids and Mudflaps are racist stereotypes

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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FWIW, box-office-wise, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has so far scored: the best Wednesday of all time (and the 2nd-best single day of all time, behind only The Dark Knight's opening Friday); the 4th-best Thursday of all time (and the best Thursday, period, of those films that were not opening on a Thursday); and the 10th-best Friday of all time (and the best Friday, period, of those films that were not opening on a Friday). People are now speculating whether this will become the second film, after The Dark Knight, to gross $200 million in five days (and it surely won't take eight days, which is the current second-best record, shared by Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Spider-Man 2 and Star Wars 6).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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[Ebert]: "The movie is pretty much all climax."

Reminds me of how Ebert called Armageddon "the first feature-length trailer."

It would make me happy if this thread never went to a third page.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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SDG wrote:

: It would make me happy if this thread never went to a third page.

It's already three pages at my end.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Olszewski - Washington City Paper (language warning)

"[bay's] latest and most egregious piece of cinematic sadism, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, is nearly unwatchable, a 140-minute video game that will insult your intelligence, hurt your eyes, and offend your sense of decency until you worry that your skull might explode while your brain trickles right out of your ears ..."

I'd say it's the reviews that made this thread this long. You don't get stuff this universally harsh written every week.

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FWIW, as of yesterday, this is now the #1 movie of the year. Thus ends Up's six-day reign at the top of the chart; and prior to that, the top film of the year had been Star Trek.

Oh, and that's just referring to domestic figures. Overseas, Transformers is still behind Angels & Demons, but worldwide, it is the first film of the year to gross over $500 million.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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When movies like this succeed, it does make me feel somewhat alienated from mankind at large. (Is this REALLY what my fellow man enjoys seeing?) To take a more positive perspective, however, the audience, as is common for big movies, skews heavily towards young males, and many will outgrow their current taste once they recover from TDS (Testosterone Derangement Syndrome). Further, if you look at the IMDB ratings, many are seeing it without loving it. It has a pretty poor average rating of 6.5. I can't say its success is encouraging, but it isn't quite as bleak as it may appear.

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Oh my, how mentalist is this film?! I'm having an ongoing discussion with an old lecturer of mine who argues that this movie is at the forefront of avant garde-ism today. You know, he's got a point.

"There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones, that is intrinsically artistic" - Vladimir Nabokov

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gigi wrote:

: I'm having an ongoing discussion with an old lecturer of mine who argues that this movie is at the forefront of avant garde-ism today. You know, he's got a point.

Seems like overblown, incoherent blockbusters often elicit this sort of response. To quote what I wrote at Facebook last week:

Twelve years ago, I told people Batman & Robin was almost an experimental film. Shortly afterwards, Roger Ebert said Spawn was "best seen as an experimental art film." <
Then, three years ago, Nicholas Rombes said X-Men: The Last Stand was "a surrealist film . . . on the sheer level of images, it's as striking as the Cremaster cycle." <
Now it's Transformers' turn. <

FWIW.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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FWIW, as of yesterday, this is now the second-fastest film to gross over $300 million. It took 14 days, which is four more than The Dark Knight (the current champ) but two less than Pirates of the Caribbean 2.

Also FWIW, Topless Robot has a brilliant summary of the movie's plot and all the gaping holes therein, which just makes me realize that I wasn't really paying any attention to the plot as I was watching the film. I mean, what would have been the point, right? And yet, Topless Robot DOESN'T make one point that DID occur to me, which is: If this robot civil war has been lying dormant on the Earth for 17,000 years or more, then why, oh why, are the various machines'n'things hiding under human artifacts that are only between 2,000 and 5,000 years old? What were these machines'n'things hiding under BEFORE?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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ok, Anders' review of Revenge of the Fallen is probably the single most funny movie review that I have ever read

thanks for the link - http://io9.com/5301898/michael-bay-finally-made-an-art-movie

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ok, Anders' review of Revenge of the Fallen is probably the single most funny movie review that I have ever read

thanks for the link - http://io9.com/5301898/michael-bay-finally-made-an-art-movie

that. is. rilly. rilly. funny.

I don't deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, to remind men that they are not dead yet. - G. K. Chesterton

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