Friday, July 27, 2007

Now I've Gotta Go See It

It appears that someone's got their panties all cinched up because of a movie that appears to absolutely drip with Americanism. From the London OnLineTimes:

Now, I’m as big a fan of fast cars, slow-mo helicopter shots, rock music, billowing American flags, square-jawed muscle men and pert-breasted sex objects as the next guy. But after sitting through Transformers one can only deduce that something has gone seriously wrong in the world of Michael Bay.

Fast cars, rock music, billowing American flags - what's not to like? I'm in. Throw in a few Sousa marches and I'll see it twice.

For everything that was once implicit about Bay movies such as Armageddon and Pearl Harbor – namely that American men are cool and that everyone else can just shut up – has suddenly become so explicit as to be almost emetic. And maybe it was the pressure of the crisis in Iraq, or the need to make a “statement” movie after his box-office flop The Island, but so much of this movie is a jingoistic fantasy riposte to the grim reality of the moment.

Thus huge chunks of Transformers take place in the Middle East, where evil unseen killers (the Decepticons, but we know who we’re really talking about, don’t we, Osama?) emerge from the very sand itself, attack and disappear. Dialogue lifted straight from the Rumsfeld/Cheney playbook is peppered throughout the movie – Americans are warned to prepare for imminent attack; they are told that there will be no victory against the enemy without sacrifice; and we, the audience, are cannily informed by a robot that “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings”.

The world (at least a small cinematic fantasy) as seen through the eyes of a conspiracy freak. I see that Cheney Climate Control, Inc., has recently diversified to Mind Control For Screen Writers. Amazing what these fellas can do.

Transformers, however, isn’t the only steroid-fuelled movie guilty of subtext overkill. The sword’n’sandals epic 300 went straight for the metaphorical jugular by describing, in gory detail, the heroic stand of a bunch of panty-clad mighty Western defenders against hordes of Persian savages, complete with pseudo-turbans.

Wow, another DVD I may have to buy.

That’s not to say that the Middle East should be off-limits for mainstream Hollywood entertainment. On the contrary, the major studios are tackling the subject head on – the Daniel Pearl story A Mighty Heart, Paul Haggis’s In the Valley of Elah and the Jamie Foxx thriller The Kingdom are all set in the region, and all coming soon.

But if you’re going to make a movie that espouses a belligerent stance in the Middle East, don’t try to hide it in a kids’ robot adventure.

If you're going to make a political statement attacking another country for it's foreign policy initiatives, don't try to hide it in a movie review.

As happens in so many other instances, let the market place decide on what is what. The market place conducts a truely representative poll on what people want because consumers vote with discretionary cash. Why do critics rave about a movie that bombs? Elitism loses at the box office.

Unlike politics, the media can only hype a cineographic turd for so long- people know what they like and what they don't.

After only three weeks Transformers has grossed over $260 million. It is already #33 on the biggest box office hits of all time.

These are some partial reviews from Rotten Tomatoes:

It’s a big, cool, dopey, noisy, non-stop action powerhouse. It’s also too long by a half hour and it left my ears ringing, but it’s a lot of fun.

An overly long, repetitive jumble of a movie that isn't nearly as much fun as it should be.

Transformers isn't just dorky, it's gloriously dorky.

Though it's at least 20 minutes too long and uneven dramatically, the acting is sharp, and it features some of the most spectacular action and effects sequences of any movie of its kind.

Whatever chance Transformers might have been a decent movie disappeared the moment Bay was hired to direct.

it's the transformation of robots that will blow your mind ... Add that to the eye-popping robot smackdowns and good old fashioned car chases, and you have a movie that is going to get your blood pumping and your heartbeat racing.

It's as juvenile as it exhilarating, as staggeringly-stupid as it is keenly well-crafted.

There is so much action packed into every second of Transformers that by the time it's over, you may be tempted to go outside and give the box office another 10 bucks.

O mais longo anúncio publicitário que já fui obrigado a testemunhar.

I have no idea what the last comment says.

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