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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Merde That Meets The Eye

When there finally is some Transformers Autobot chatter … seems like more than an hour of waiting for it … it is cheesy as hell. But it is also what we wanted. It’s like the world’s worst Shakespeare coming out of the mouth of robots, that no matter how complex and numerous their parts, still don’t read as human-like beings. Each is a caricature … and again, great. There’s the severe leader with a strong sense of humanity. There is Mr Fix It. And there is The Negro, the comedic robot from the “hood.” (And you know what happens to the funny Black guy in all action movies, right?) And it is crazy and lame and stereotypical … and FUN! That is the fun. And we have all to little of it.
The rest…

142 Responses to “Merde That Meets The Eye”

  1. Wrecktum says:

    Nice pun in the title. I laughed.

  2. a1amoeba says:

    For the record I will gladly wait up to 4 hours to watch Chloe give oral sex on film.
    But then again I’m not a critic…

  3. Wrecktum says:

    Hey, has anyone read A.O. Scott’s review of Ratatouille? It’s one of the best film reviews I’ve seen recently.

  4. EDouglas says:

    Why wait four hours with the wonders of Netflix and Fast Forward?
    Anyone want to start the countdown until He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named attacks David for his review?
    I was enjoying the movie until the talking robots showed up and that really took me out of the movie.

  5. Don Murphy says:

    I’m Voldemort?

  6. Ju-osh says:

    Don,
    How much influence do you have in the films that you produce? I know that you bring a lot of these comics/toys to Hollywood’s attention, but I guess I do not understand if that is where your job stops. Do you have any say in the directors chosen? How about the quality of the script? This is not an attack. I love Alan Moore’s work as much as you do. That’s why I figure that you must not be totally happy with the way that (most of) the film adaptaions thus far have turned out. At what point in the film’s creation are things more or less ‘out of your hands’? Or is this never the case? Or only sometimes, depending?

  7. martin says:

    Anyone at Paramount/SKG feeling like they should have gone with today as the TF release date? It feels like the film is about as it’s going to get right now.

  8. a1amoeba says:

    DM
    > I’m Voldemort?
    I think Ovitz has that title for perpetuity…

  9. Martin S says:

    The difference between Trannyformers and Godzilla is that Murphy and company understood not to try and reinvent the wheel. It may be long, but it succeeds in its real goal – reboot a brand. Centropolis on the other hand, buried a 40 year old franchise. So Congrats to Don.

  10. THX5334 says:

    “But even then, I think that Sam Raimi & Co were reaching for a more weighty Spider-Man this time out … they just missed. Gore Verbinski wanted a darker, weirder version of Pirates … and got in his own way a bit on basic storytelling. But neither was as ambitious as Spielberg … or Mary Jane would be dead and Jack & Elizabeth would be married while wimpy whinny William would be talking about the good old days while doing escort duty for the dead.”
    I love it when critics claim how “their” narrative design would’ve made the movie better. Such Monday morning Quaterbacking.
    I can’t comment on whether Mary Jane should’ve died in Spiderman 3 because I haven’t seen it yet. But that idea for the ending of Pirates is terrible.
    I can’t comment on Spider-Man

  11. EDouglas says:

    More from Bay on the not-so-fun part of making the movie:
    http://www.michaelbay.com/blog/files/1dcc10ecaf908f3151cd4d01b2db47c5-120.html

  12. EDouglas says:

    And to be fair, here’s a response post on Don Murphy’s boards including a few posts from writer Robert Orci about how Tom and Don contributed to the film unbeknownst to Bay
    http://www.donmurphy.net/board/showthread.php?t=20698

  13. I was really hoping to see Transformers but I ended up having to work all day Saturday and Sunday so I guess it’ll have to wait for two weeks (Knocked Up is out next week so I’m def seeing that)

  14. doug r says:

    Wow. Reading that thread I realize how far MB’s got his head up his ass. Although he did give a shout-out at the end…or was that a back-handed compliment?
    The guy’s a commercial director-case in point-the decision to have vehicles provided by GM. Now I’m no fan of Chevys but they do make decent uninspired trucks, in fact GM seems to be all about decent uninspired vehicles. By taking the easy way out and whoring out to GM, MB takes the commercial way out. The Ford thing bugs me in 24, possibly one reason I didn’t sit through the whole season.
    Sometimes it’s a fine line-sometimes when a character uses an obvious fake brand it can distract from the real story, but there’s got to be a balance between that and the FedEx logo in Castaway.
    I know film is about our cultural experience which includes buying stuff, but this may be one thing that is limiting MB and keeping him from breaking through to being a good filmaker as opposed to the great glorified Director of Photography he seems to be.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    I agree with you, except I think Cast Away is the wrong example to use, if for no other reason than because it shows them putting their employees at risk and failing to deliver packages for years on end.

  16. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Wow, after consulting the movie dictionary and reading Michael Bay’s fact check, I have a new found respect for this auteur. Nothing like seeing a sychophant producer getting the kiss off from his own director. That’s gotta be rough, especially after hearing the producer’s impassioned defense of director’s ahem artistry.
    What irony that after seeing Simpson wave his producer’s card around and wax poetic about how fabulous his baby Transformers is, we learn that the so-called producer really had nothing to do with the actual film? Looks like our wanna-ba Samuel Goldwyn is actually just the Hollywood equivilant of a weed-carrier. Even for a blowhard, you’ve just got to feel bad for this poor guy, being exposed as a fraud like that.
    Maybe in the end it is better to a be a janitor anonymously masquerading as a critic on a message board, rather than a hack producer undressed publicly by his own director as a no-talent fanboy.
    Let’s hope this doesn’t send Simpson back down the rabbit hole – it will be much more fun if he throws a few more flailing haymakers before somebody calls the fight a knock out.

  17. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Bay’s bitch slap of the two nerd stooges cements the picture of his arrogance. However, as has been proven in the past (calling Willis out) this narcissistic fabio uber jock does tell the truth, even when its timing is completely inappropriate. The one thing no one can blame Don for was refusing to take a cut in his fee from a megalomaniac. You have to laugh at Murphy’s schizo personality though.. ass kissing sycophant to Bay on set and roaring arrogant bully online.

  18. Don Murphy says:

    JBD
    You must be confused with someone else- maybe a mirror image- I have never kissed anyone’s ass in Hollywood ever. I probably would be a more successful nimrod had I done so. As far as Michael’s rant goes, I believe he is pissed at the NY Times article involving Desanto and I get lumped in. Michael made a GREAT film. I am proud of it and enjoyed working with him.
    I am not a bully- I just cannot seriously address people with ludicrous handles on the net. My failings I suppose.

  19. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Tell us, Simpson, what was more humiliating?
    Being shit on publicly during what promises to be your biggest success by Michael Bay, who you hold up as a great artist yet who won’t return your phone calls, treats you like a PA and says you deserve zero credit for a film you live for?
    Or being beat up by Tarantino and then reminded of it every time you open your mouth?
    We ludicrous handles would love to know.

  20. Don Murphy says:

    You are a joke to me and everyone who knows you. You think you matter CM but the laughter as AT you and you don’t know it.

  21. Joe Leydon says:

    Don: No offense, but it’s Saturday night. Why the hell are you home posting smack on-line? I mean, I’m doing this at home between innings while I’m watching my beloved Astros get smacked down by the Rockies. So, yeah, I guess that makes me a loser. What’s your excuse?

  22. jeffmcm says:

    Ludicrous handles like Spam Dooley? Come on Don, you’ve been outed.

  23. Don Murphy says:

    Joe- did I ever say I was a winner?
    I am on the way to Sing A Long Sound of Music with my nephews and nieces for goddsakes!
    McDouche- Outed? Proof? Otherwise, bus my table, boyo.

  24. jeffmcm says:

    Don, I would call you a liar to your face if given the opportunity. Bully and emotionally retarded moron are already a given; how does it feel to be an exemplar of everything that is wrong with Hollywood?

  25. Don Murphy says:

    Jeff
    Meet you anytime next week after you finish lavatory duties. Hollywood area. What time?

  26. jeffmcm says:

    What time are your nieces and nephews free? They should know what kind of awful human being their uncle is.

  27. Don Murphy says:

    Jeff McD
    Stay on topic. What time and place should we meet and discuss the janitorial field? I accepted your invitation, now outline it? or email me
    mrdonmurphy at hotmail.com

  28. jeffmcm says:

    How about this: you can buy me tickets to Transformers on Monday or Tuesday night at the Arclight dome. Whattaya say?

  29. Don Murphy says:

    You don’t want to come with me to cast and crew screening?

  30. martin says:

    Not to defend Don, but MichaelBay.com did take down the rant within hours – so while it probably had some truth in it, Michael apparently regrets the posting.
    I’ve heard/read other interviews with Bay and I get the impression that he’s simply frustrated with the press downsizing his role in the making of this film – clearly a film that he is proud of.

  31. Don Murphy says:

    Well, I don’t know why they would…Michael worked harder and was more crucial than anyone on this film. It says A MICHAEL BAY film for a reason. Guy worked his ass off.

  32. jeffmcm says:

    Don: why would I?

  33. Joe Leydon says:

    Don: I know this may mean little to you, but I wish you luck. More important, I hope I enjoy the movie when I see it Monday night. Seriously. Because, despite what you may suspect, most of us don’t go to movies looking for something to bitch about. I want to enjoy every movie I see, whether it be a Hollywood tentpole or somebody’s micro-budget indie. For me, it is now as it has always been: The lights dim, the magic begins. Vive le cinema.

  34. jeffmcm says:

    Well said, Joe.

  35. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, OK, I stole the “Vive le cinema” from Francois Truffaut, the greatest filmmaker who ever lived. But, hey, I feel that way, too.

  36. Clycking says:

    I recall more than one time when some commenters mentioned that they loved coming to The Hot Blog for the “rational, intelligent discourse”. That irony, added to the uncreative ad hominems being flung about here, make this a hilarious blast.

  37. doug r says:

    I think Don’s got pre-opening jitters-makes you cranky. I think he’ll calm down later when he gets tired counting his money.
    Just spend your cut of my ten bucks wisely, ok Don?

  38. martin says:

    I don’t think Bay has been getting short shrift in the press, other than that ridiculous Times article. But he’s not getting the acclaim that Spielberg was getting when Jurassic Park came out, or Cameron when T2 came out. And I think Transformers is right up there with those two as a technical achievement.
    There’s this perception that what Bay does is easy. Maybe because he makes it look easy. But there’s a reason why no one else is as good at making visually stunning action films. It’s hard to do and takes a combination of a great eye, lots of money, and an obsessive work ethic to really make an impression with audiences these days. It says a lot about his filmmaking that cynical audiences are coming out of Transformers blown away by the action and effects, particularly after the gigantic $300 mill movies that started off the summer. It takes a lot to impress movie audiences, and while I do not know how his storytelling holds up this time around, it’s worth noting that on a live-action remake of a debatably silly animated kids show, Bay pushed cinema to another level. This movie could have been atrocious, but at the moment it’s got great word of mouth and is potentially the biggest movie of the summer. That he brought his A-game to this project I think says a lot about his character as a filmmaker.

  39. hendhogan says:

    don, good luck with the film. it’ll make money, which is what you want.
    but, bay’s an ass. always has been. he’s good at what he does (pure, mindless entertainment). and as long as i’m not in the mood for character development and a story that makes sense, perfectly passable.
    i know people who worked on this set. now, your experience may have been different, but a lot of others learned it’s best to just stay out of his way, even if wrong. one friend insists he’s ADD. he doesn’t remember what he’s shot from one take to the next.
    and i was there when he treated his own relative, frances bay (the grandmother from “happy gilmore”) like a piece of crap. insultingly so.
    but please, guys, stop making reference to this guy as an auteur. i’ll give you director, but that’s it.

  40. jeffmcm says:

    Hendhogan, you can be an auteur and still make miserable piece-of-crap movies at the same time. Just look at Harmony Korine or certain films by Lars Von Trier.

  41. grandcosmo says:

    I doubt that that is the real Don Murphy because I can’t believe someone would be so quick to make a fool of himself like that with those juvenile attacks that he posted on here today.

  42. cjKennedy says:

    Yeah, what Jeffmcm said. You can blame his early stuff on Bruckheimer, but The Island was all Bay in my mind. He was the auteur; the auteur of shit, but the auteur nonetheless.

  43. EDouglas says:

    “Not to defend Don, but MichaelBay.com did take down the rant within hours – so while it probably had some truth in it, Michael apparently regrets the posting.”
    Or more likely, Steven Spielberg or Brad Grey stepped in and convinced Bay that it didn’t look good to be trashing your producers on opening weekend. (The thread was removed from Don’s message board as well.)
    After reading that NY TImes article, I’m dying to meet Tom in San Diego. The fact that the guy has been able to unite all the webmasters of the big fan-run entertainment sites to attend a panel on Sunday afternoon is quite an achievement. I hope alcohol will be on hand.

  44. Remember when there was that guy around here at the time of The Island telling people at every chance that it was the best movie of the summer and yada blah etc. That was comical. As soon as it was released they disappeared.

  45. anghus says:

    my god. the island.
    the horror…. the horror….
    i do keep hearing from friends who’ve seen Transformers that it’s better than they expected. Even the AICN guys are giving the film props.
    i’ll have to wait til monday to chime in on my two cents, but the word right now on the film seems a lot more positive than negative.

  46. hendhogan says:

    “better than they expected” is not good. indicates low expectations.
    and, okay, i’ll give on the auteur stuff only because i’ve been reminded that only pretentious people have laid claim to the title.

  47. THX5334 says:

    Seriously, stories about how much of an ass Bay was to work on Transformers with are all over town.
    The fact that people feel he exceeded his own level of assholeness on set is really saying something.
    Seriously, who is the velvet mafia kingpin Bay is still fucking to keep his job?

  48. jeffmcm says:

    KCamel, you reminded me of that so I looked in the archives to find out who it was – some guy named ‘nick’ who posted about The Island being the sleeper hit of the summer and being positive it would open to $45-50m.
    It was also a nice reminder about Bicycle Bob/Lester Freed/ Joefitz and how much better the blog is now that he’s not around.

  49. EDouglas says:

    Wow, David’s got some really funny hate comments on Rotten Tomatoes… gotta love those Transformers fans.

  50. Rothchild says:

    Look, I love this movie. Everyone I know that has seen this movie loves it. And if I was ten years old I’d think it was the greatest movie ever made. It’s the biggest movie of the summer, and after all this sequel fatigue, people are going to eat this up. You can all talk in circles about why you hate Bay, why he’s an asshole, why you think the movie is going to suck and all that. But it’s going to be a monster. And it’s going to be the highest grossing film of the year.
    I’m not here to knock Poland or his opinion, because we’re totally in sync on Ratatouille, but he’s way off on this film (and actually Die Hard for that matter).

  51. jeffdavis says:

    I saw the movie at the premiere as well. I have to say I was genuinely shocked when I read Poland’s review. We were in the same theater (I saw him chatting in the aisle beforehand) and so must have heard the clapping and cheering. I was one of them and I don’t typically clap at a movie. I wanted to watch the film again as soon as it was over. That is a rare feeling for me. When I was ten years old I had the toys and watched the cartoon. Then it faded from my consciousness. This movie literally made me feel that childlike excitement again. I’m going to see it again at the Dome this week and pay my fourteen bucks. I think it’s going to be a massive hit, especially international.

  52. EDouglas says:

    You know, kids, some people (like those of us over 40) haven’t necessarily been raised on giant talking robots (well, except for in Godzilla movies…and they don’t talk) so for some of us, watching a movie about them is pretty effin’ lame. I thought the movie was entertaining enough but the greatest movie ever made? I don’t think so. Take out all the robot dialogue and just make them giant killer non-talking robots and I would have been more into it.

  53. Pat H. says:

    “When I was a child I spoke as a child I understood as a child I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.” I Cor. xiii. 11.

  54. jeffmcm says:

    Care to elaborate on that?

  55. James Leer says:

    Can anyone give the gist of the pulled rant on michaelbay.com? I missed it.

  56. martin says:

    James, the first half of the blog was a usual “Transformers was a tough production, but it’s all come together, screenings have been great, blah blah blah.” Then Bay said he wanted to “set some facts straight” and proceeded to call out DeSanto and Murphy’s involvement in the film. Or to be more specific, their lack of involvement, despite recent press releases and public comments to the contrary. Specifically he cited their lack of influence on the shooting script. Ultimately, it just sounded like a director frustrated with others trying to take creative credit for what he considers “his” film, his creative work. This is nothing out of the ordinary and probably happens to one degree or another on every movie. But unfortunately Bay felt it necessary to air his frustrations publicly. Then quickly realized he should leave it private, and deleted the blog.
    Not knowing the situation myself, it’s hard to say who is in the right and who is in the wrong. But it is typical for everyone to come out of the woodwork claiming responsibility when a film is a success. I don’t recall seeing any comments from Don suggesting his role was any more than the originator of the Transformers movie and a light hand in production. I would expect all of this craziness to die down once opening week jitters are gone.

  57. Cadavra says:

    I understand Bay’s next film will be a remake of 12 ANGRY MEN; the jurors will all be robots, and there will be no discussions, just explosions.

  58. Eric says:

    Cadavra, I know you’re kidding, but there’s something to be said for a director knowing his own strengths and picking his projects accordingly.
    Michael Bay doesn’t really know anything about characters or quiet moments, which is why Pearl Harbor was so, so bad. But he knows about action, which is why Bad Boys and apparently Transformers are at least satisfying on some level.

  59. Eric says:

    I’m not sure I explained that well. I meant that a 12 Angry Men remake by Michael Bay with exploding robots would probably be a better movie than a 12 Angry Men remake by Michael Bay if he tried to do it straight-up.

  60. Aladdin Sane says:

    I haven’t really caught up with the discussion, but Ebert has given it 3 stars…
    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070701/REVIEWS/70620006

  61. Aladdin Sane says:

    …with reservations of course…

  62. anghus says:

    as i read this thread, one thought kept going through my mind:
    Does anyone else feel the sexual tension building between Don and Jeff?

  63. Cadavra says:

    Eric, you’re right on a theoretical level, but crap is still crap, no matter how well it may be done. (There’s a wonderful song in the musical version of DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, called “Chimp In A Suit,” that sums this up perfectly.) I’ve made it a point to skip Bay’s last couple of films, but I will endure TRANSFORMERS because I promised Don I would.

  64. jeffmcm says:

    I could use a sugar daddy.

  65. doug r says:

    Since the closest DLP theater to me is 3 hours away, how does Transformers look in 35mm?

  66. Eric says:

    Cadavra– yep. You’re right. Still, as somebody who is compelled to see all the summer blockbusters, compelled by every fiber of my being– despite the price of tickets, despite the time wasted, despite the inevitable disappointment– I’ll take what I can get.

  67. Cadavra says:

    So take 90 minutes and go see BLACK SHEEP instead. All the gore, action, special effects and black comedy you want–plus very good performances–for less than what the craft services on TRANSFORMERS likely cost.

  68. brack says:

    I haven’t been this excited over a movie since Jurassic Park.

  69. doug r says:

    We’re just heading out to catch one of the Monday evening “sneak” shows. We’d better love it, Don.

  70. Lota says:

    “Does anyone else feel the sexual tension building between Don and Jeff?”
    Heh heh heh, nice one Anghus. Well at least you haven;t become a One Trick Pony of insults as Jeff & a couple other inexplicable Murphy h8ters have become. Armchair quarterbacking at its worst, as if they have produced better movies. If they had, then they can turn into boils on his neck.
    Murphy may produce a And then there were None style thriller about the Hotblog.

  71. jeffmcm says:

    Lota, did your typekey account get hijacked by a seventeen year old boy or something? That comment is very unlike you.

  72. Lota says:

    Jeff, everyone here you included is much more fun when discussion is about movies. Ratatouille this week, and Ten Canoes. Both rocked down the house for different reasons. Those are better subjects.
    If there are no more digs(many of which are a little unfair given your movie producing record…same to Carpetmuncher) at Murphy…then eventually he’ll forget about you…then the Hotblog will once again be mercifully free of bad poetry, douchebag insults and settling imaginary scores.

  73. jeffmcm says:

    Lota, I can only remind you that it was Don who derailed the conversation with his first posting by launching into insults and taunts, and continues to do so with the majority of his posts (If you assume that he had never posted before under any aliases). Also I thought the ‘since you haven’t produced a movie, you aren’t fit to criticize’ argument had been debunked as inherently empty.
    So if you want to move on, by all means, move on.

  74. anghus says:

    I just got back from the 10pm screening, which was about a third full. and yes, there were some people cheering at the end of the film.
    i wasn’t one of them. i thought it was genuinely terrible. the last 40 minutes is an amazing testament to the ILM team. It reminded me of War of the Worlds: 40 good minutes and a whole lot of garbage.
    The movie has no logic at all and i caught Bay using his own material from previous films. None of this is spoiler material, but i’ll warn those who want to go in knowing nothing to avoid the next paragraph.
    The flare bit at the end was from the Rock.
    The building Shia enters at the bottom looks like the same location from the scene in the Island where Tom Lincoln is shot and killed.
    There’s a circular round shot of a shootout that was used in Bad Boys 2.
    Someone shouts out ‘this is cooler than Armageddon’
    It felt like i was watching a Bay version of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
    And when Bay wasn’t riffing on himself, he was taking bits from other films. There’s so much Independence Day in this film that Centropolis could probably sue, had they not stolen so much from other sci fi films. But to Tyrese i say, i know Will Smith, and you sir are no Will Smith.
    I’m still trying to figure out what role the hackers had in the movie. Other than using Anthony Anderson as comic relief, it was almost pointless.
    Urination jokes? Really?
    John Tuturo, i hope the check had at least 6 zeroes.
    But like i said, about half the 50 people in the end went WOOOOOOOO at the end. There were people in the audience that ate it up. It’s a technical exercise with zero logic, emotion, or a character to give two shits about.
    Shia Lebouff, for all the hype, is worthlessly annoying for the first three reels. I know the kid has talent. But man, whatever kind of woody allen thing he was channeling in the first half of the film was about as off putting a performance as i can remember this year.
    i think the reviews would be more brutal is Spielberg’s name wasn’t hovering over it. Just ‘A Michael Bay Film’, and i think both barrels would be blazing. It’s almost as if people forgive the lack of any character or cohesion for the jaw dropping final action sequence.
    Still, it’d be nice if one day Bay made a movie that was remembered for anything other than an impressive sequence or two.

  75. doug r says:

    Changed our minds. Decided to spend my $20 on beer and enjoying Sopranos on A&E. Probably check out a matin

  76. Amblinman says:

    It is a FANTASTIC summer movie. Sorry, but if you’re going to deconstruct a film based on action figures, you’re seeing the wrong film. Sometimes, you really have to go to the material instead of waiting for it to come to you. The movie is just fun, pure and simple. If you want to shit on it, have at it. It’s an easy target, but if you can’t enjoy something like Transformers on its own terms, you pretty much have given up on every reason you loved movies when you were a kid.
    Yup. I went there.

  77. Amblinman says:

    Here’s what a rational critic who doesn’t take himself that seriously has to say about the film:
    http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20044391,00.html

  78. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    You can post 400 critics who like TRANSFORMERS and it still won’t change the fact that I think it’s a pretty poor film. My childlike sense of wonder hasn’t been pissed on by an autobot either, it gets ignited by filmmakers who ‘get’ story and mythology. The yuppie narcissist jock Bay was never going to do that – but at least I thought he’d deliver some impressive set piece action that would jangle my nuts on the edge of my seat. And Amblinman.. go get Don a coffee.

  79. Aladdin Sane says:

    Man oh man. TRANSFORMERS was the perfect summer movie for me. Sure, it’s not great art like Ratatouille when it comes to story and script…but it certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously. It delivered what it promised. Giant fuckin’ robots. Man, I’ll see it again for sure.
    And I went to Ratatouille for a second time before Transformers this afternoon. That’s just a fantastic film through and through.

  80. anghus says:

    “It’s an easy target, but if you can’t enjoy something like Transformers on its own terms, you pretty much have given up on every reason you loved movies when you were a kid.”
    Here’s the movies i loved when i as a kid.
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Goonies
    Empire Strikes Back
    War Games
    Ghostbusters
    The Karate Kid
    Why when a movie is totally idiotic, people throw up the ‘disposable summer film’ comments as if all dumb films should get a pass because they’re released between memorial day and labor day?
    There were plenty of summer films that had character, story, and weren’t edited like a crack fueled seizure. But those things have been replaced by ‘kick ass cgi’. Don’t get me wrong, i thought the last sequence was a technical marvel, but the movie is brain dead.
    To me, it feels as useless as most of Bay’s previous efforts, though it seems like people are finally just giving up and accepting that his particular brand of glossy shit is here to stay. I still hear people in my head saying ‘well, Spielberg thinks he’s good, so he must be’
    If you cut the whole film down to 90 minutes, cut out every trace of the hacker characters and can half the jokes, this could have been disposable fun. At it’s current length, it gives you time to sit there in your seat bored stupid and contemplate all the flaws.

  81. Lota says:

    i detest Michael Bay’s films pretty across the board, only the Island came close to bearing a semblance to a film, but I am a little obligated to go see Transformers.

  82. Amblinman says:

    Anghus: I can’t argue that the films you list are absolutely superior to Transformers. I also can’t argue with the fact that I had a blast watching it.
    And you’re missing the point if you think this one gets a pass with the “disposable summer film” cliche. It is FUN film. The stuff that works in it, works very well. Even the human stuff with Labouf plays.
    JBD – Yeah yeah yeah – I liked the film so I’m a sycophant and blah blah blah. Maybe it’s just that I don’t take these things and my own comments about movies quite so seriously? Perhaps you should quit being a yuppie narcissist internet shithead. I’m sorry your nuts weren’t appropriately jangled, perhaps you should see a doctor.
    Oh, and go get a soul. I’ll bring the coffee.

  83. anghus says:

    I can’t fault anyone that likes it. its all subjective. a guy at my office this morning couldn’t believe I didn’t like it. he was raving about it.
    I’m still trying to figure out why all these movies are 2 and a half hours long when 100 minutes would serve the film better both financially and creatively

  84. anghus says:

    I can’t fault anyone that likes it. its all subjective. a guy at my office this morning couldn’t believe I didn’t like it. he was raving about it.
    I’m still trying to figure out why all these movies are 2 and a half hours long when 100 minutes would serve the film better both financially and creatively

  85. Okay, wow. I really liked this. Sorry, but this is great entertainment. There are laughs! There are amazing special effects (so amazing that I could’ve sworn they were real at times, I kid you not)! There is fun dialogue! It’s no absolute masterpiece but for a popcorn action film about cars that turn into robots it’s a corker. There is no sense dissecting how ridiculous the movie is because it’s about cars that turn into robots.
    It could have been shorter, I guess. But unlike Spider-Man 3 (which was terrible) and Pirates 2 I can’t pinpoint specific moments that needed to be axed. It never dragged (for me, natch) and I never looked to see how long we’d been in the cinema. That is the testiment of a good popcorn movie.
    So, yeah, it’s no Spider-Man 2 in terms of Summer sci-fi, but it’s better than most others, I reckon. It’s a fun time at the movies.
    The most shocking thing was that I actually felt empathy for these robots. The scene in the drain/tunnel thing (what are those things btw? I see them so much in movies and can never tell) with Bumblebee was actually quite sad.
    I love the armies logic of moving the cube from the desert to the city. I mean, it probably killed way more people than if it stayed in the desert, but damn those fight scenes were great. Those effects were just so good. I know it’s not cool these days to be all “OMG those effects were so cool!!!!omg1″ but they were.
    I can see Oscar nods in the future for this for effects and for both sound categories. I wrote a much more coherent “review” (aka, train of thought) on my blog (click my name).

  86. Oh, me and my friend both noted after the movie that Americans must seemingly have no problem anymore with the sight of planes and skyscrapers and explosions being within such close proximity.

  87. jeffmcm says:

    Yeah, it’s no big deal anymore.
    Anyway people, I haven’t seen the movie yet but there’s no discussion if everyone is just saying ‘I hated it and if you liked it you’re an idiot/I loved it and if you hated it you have no soul’ because on a gut level, a movie either works for someone or it doesn’t and there’s no rationalizing that beyond a certain point. Just because someone disagrees doesn’t mean _your_ taste is threatened.

  88. anghus says:

    “Just because someone disagrees doesn’t mean _your_ taste is threatened.”
    well said.
    the reviews i’ve heard from average moviegoers is overwhelmingly positive. just because i don’t like it doesn’t mean it lacks value to someone else.
    still, i don’t see why they couldn’t have made the characters a little more fully realized. Other than Shia, there isn’t a person in the film worth rooting for. I go back to Independence Day a lot when thinking about the film, another flawed summer popcorn flick that a lot of people loved. And a lot of the plot didn’t make sense in ID4 either, but they at least made you care about some of the characters enough that what they did mattered.
    I also can’t get past the ending. taking the cube into the city? really? sending shia up to the roof when not one single autobot had the ability to fly? that was the plan? and can someone explain to me what the point of the analysts/hackers were, since basically all they did was look at a signal for 6 seconds and then wire a computer to a radio. other than having anthony anderson scream like ‘Black Guy Stereotype #4′, his presence was completely worthless to the plot and resolution.

  89. anghus says:

    8.1 million for the first day with only a few shots.
    that seems pretty good.
    at my local theater, they had it on 2 screens. The 8 and 9 shows were sold out. The 10pm shows were half sold.

  90. Wrecktum says:

    Just to put that $8.1m in perspective, Pirates 3 had a similar release pattern (8:00PM screenings the day before the official release) and it netted $13.2m.
    In other words…no definitely clue that Transformers will be the “biggest movie of the year.”

  91. Wrecktum says:

    Note that I meant to say “definitive clue” not “definitely clue.” Sheesh.

  92. anghus says:

    Wrecktum, i can’t call the numbers, but i can tell you that hearing a lot more positive word of mouth on transformers than i did on Pirates 3 and Spidey 3.

  93. Wrecktum says:

    Perhaps, but I’m interested in the numbers, not the fanboys.

  94. doug r says:

    Just came back from Collateral Damage: The Movie.
    The movie starts off a little slow, then it gets better, then the last battle just pushes you away. So the good robots are good how? So whose brilliant idea was it to hide the McCube in downtown L.A. in the middle of the frikken’ day?

  95. Crow T Robot says:

    Shitty shitty bang bang.
    Amazing to me how so much material for fun can be mishandled. The effects are absolutely killer, but nobody seemed to figure out what to do with them. Bay may not be a storyteller in any way but surely he knows how to create an exciting set piece. (I mean, he’s seen Jurassic Park, right?) But no, the whole thing just felt unfocused and stupid… that special Michael Bay kind of stupid where all black people have to talk like “niggahs.”
    The perfect movie for people who started watching movies four years ago.
    Pass the Advil.

  96. jeffmcm says:

    Okay, that was about as good as a Transformers movie directed by Michael Bay could be, which is to say: so-so. If it was a movie based on some other toy line that I wasn’t into when I was a kid like Go-Bots or GI Joe I would have been bored to tears, so therefore the movie worked as well as it did in spite of Bay, not because of him.
    Crow hits on something right: the movie should be better than it is, and that’s what makes Michael Bay such a frustrating director: he has all the money in the world and knows where to put the camera, but he sabotages himself by insisting on lame comedy, or by not bothering to show where characters are in relation to each other in any action sequence, or in taking things wayyy too seriously when they’re laughable and vice versa.

  97. doug r says:

    Bingo, Jeff. Bay is a really frustrating director. You can see the basics of a great shot, but he just doesn’t GET IT. I was enjoying the middle part, but something happened and the movie just fell away in the last act.
    I was WAY more impressed with Live Free Or Die Hard.

  98. Blackcloud says:

    I missed the theme song. :-(

  99. Josh Massey says:

    “Sorry, but if you’re going to deconstruct a film based on action figures, you’re seeing the wrong film. Sometimes, you really have to go to the material instead of waiting for it to come to you.”
    Sorry, but that’s bullshit. There is potential for a great movie in Transformers, and Bay absolutely did not deliver it. I refuse to forgive a movie anything because of its source material. Any good storyteller can overcome those limiations, especially with Bay’s budget and visual talent.

  100. Josh Massey says:

    Oh right, as long as we’re review pimping, mine can be found here.

  101. “I also can’t get past the ending. taking the cube into the city? really?”
    Oh man, that was the most brilliant plot development of all time! I mean, taking it from THE DESERT to A DENSELY-POPULATED METROPOLIS? That is brilliant absurdity right there, folks.
    I’m actually still really jazzed from seeing this last night. I think I went in with kind of “it’s a Michael Bay film” expectations and came out extremely happy. And the transformers don’t need therapy! So it’s already better than Spider-Man 3, plus it has better effects, better acting, better writing, better set-pieces and better scenes in which characters discuss masturbation.
    I’m not saying the movie isn’t flawed. It is. There are plot holes the size of Texas. But when I’m having that much fun in a cinema I tend to not give a flying fuck about whether Shia’s character has his pants ripped off of him and then suddenly they’re back on.
    The movie is entirely proposterous and everybody making it realises as much. I dunno. Whatever. I liked it. Can’t please everybody, I guess. I honestly think there are some people (some of whom post here) who just could never like a movie like Transformers and nothing could change it.
    I think I may even see it again, which I barely ever do.

  102. jeffmcm says:

    See, here’s the thing: sometimes it’s preposterous, and sometimes it’s not. I enjoyed seeing all the Autobots hiding around the Witwicky house; the rest of the movie, the ‘comedy’ was utterly flat to me, and for huge chunks it was to Bay as well which is why he layered on the deep, imposing, ‘you care now’ music over so much of the movie. He has no command of tone and you can tell.

  103. Alan Cerny says:

    I was thoroughly satisfied. What a fun, fun movie.

  104. Joe Leydon says:

    You folks simply aren’t giving the movie sufficient credit for its subversive politcal commentary.
    http://movingpictureblog.blogspot.com/2007/07/independence-day.html#links
    Remember what Godard said: Every film is a political act.

  105. jeffmcm says:

    It’s not subversive, Joe, it just means Bay is as cynical as everyone else.

  106. Nicol D says:

    How is it subversive if everyone is doing it?

  107. martin says:

    I think it’s my fave Michael Bay film, it is truly awesome in its ridiculousness. I wouldn’t call it a “good” piece of cinema, but it’s the best McDonalds burger I’ve had in awhile and I want another.
    As far as box office, it made 8.5 its first day and 28 yesterday. I would think that 28 for a tues is a record. They probably would have gotten 33-35 if they hadnt had the monday screenings. That’s a pretty huge open. But hard to compare to other films like Pirates 3, who opened on the bigger thurs/friday slot.

  108. Crow T Robot says:

    Bay’s idea of opening tease is a big black chopper landing on an airstrip for three seconds, converting and then laying waste to every fucking thing.
    Did it occur to anyone that it would have been ten times cooler if the chopper attacked the base without transforming?
    If Jurassic Park were in Bay’s hands that cup of water on the dashboard would be a half empty Heineken and Samuel L. Jackson would run around screaming, “This shit be Dino-mite!”

  109. martin says:

    Crow, I don’t think that you should direct movies cause your idea sounds dull as shit.
    One funny review I saw on rotten tomatoes (which itself has amusingly gone every few hrs gone back and forth from “fresh” 60% to “rotten” 59%, wonder if there’s some game playing going on) –
    “Bay’s best effort by far. The robot thespians are better actors than the cast of Armageddon and the plot is probably more historically accurate than Pearl Harbor.”
    http://www.richmond.com/output.aspx?article_id=4741486

  110. Joe Leydon says:

    “Did it occur to anyone that it would have been ten times cooler if the chopper attacked the base without transforming?”
    Crow, I’m not sure moviegoers would really like to see an attack on US service personnel stationed in the Middle East right now unless it looked like a sci-fi movie. Seriously. Something that looked like a regular helicopter would have upset, and maybe even pissed off, a lot of people.

  111. jeffmcm says:

    Crow’s point is that these are ‘robots in disguise’ and Bay is not a director who gives a crap about subterfuge, discretion, or the uncanny.
    I also think the movie is not helped by the robot designs, which all look like identical walking junk heaps.

  112. Crow T Robot says:

    Jeff you understand what Bay and the other gazillionaire geniuses don’t — that the tease and the jawdropping effects should go hand in hand. They are of equal power. Too much one way, you get a Shaymalan movie… too much of another gives you this Shia-moron one.
    And I’m guessing Martin is the kind of guy who, on a blind date, would skip the first kiss and go straight to anal.

  113. martin says:

    Crow, I’ve done that before and have no regrets (neither did she). There’s beauty in both the quick fix and the love of your life. I don’t see a reason to minimize the enjoyment of a meaningless good time. I mean, we’re talking about a 150 mill movie about gigantic, killer alien robots, based on a line of kids toys.
    My expectations for this expensive toy commercial were obviously different from yours. I can’t imagine this material being better handled. It’s a clumsy mess, but a highly entertaining one that goes for every cheap, crowd-friendly trick in the book. Sure you can pick it apart if you’d like, but I think you’re making yourself look silly doing so. Did you really hope Transformers to be a classy production full of subtlety and artistic flourishes? If you ask me that would be against the entire logic of it, and the fun of it. Again, it’s the McDonalds of movie making. It’s not good for you at all, it’s a guilty pleasure we all indulge in.

  114. jeffmcm says:

    Martin, it sounds like you have very low expectations.

  115. martin says:

    So because I’m fine with a 150 mill toy commercial being a turbocharged amusement park ride, I have low expectations?

  116. Joe Leydon says:

    Crow: I can understand what you’re driving at, and I would agree that, in most cases, delayed gratification can be nifty. But I repeat: Not in this particular scene, not at this particular time. If it would have been a CIVILIAN SCIENTIFIC expedition in the Middle East desert — yeah, sure. U.S. military personnel? No way.

  117. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Hey Dave can we separate this blog into those who like TRANSFORMERS and those who don’t? Just get an axe and split the fucker down the middle. You, me Crow and some others grab a cooler and get out of Dodge. Because even though I’m supposed to “respect others opinions” because “it’s only a movie” and “its a just a dumb fun ride” and “it totally cool” – the thought of engaging in conversation with anyone who loved Transformers is chilling. Yes, I’ll put up with a ten year old yammering about the FX and the laughs – but an adult who likes this film? Have we really sunk this low that a shiny turd like Transformers is good entertainment? Are audiences really that burnt out? Are they that desperate? Is this the point where we’ve finally arrived at?
    I guess all that can be said is..
    They won and..
    We blew it.

  118. Joe Leydon says:

    JBD: It’s not a matter of loving this movie. It’s a matter of enjoying it. And that’s a big difference. Like, I enjoyed the hot dogs I wolfed down today while watching my beloved Houston Astros get their asses handed to them. But I know I am going to love the filet mignon I’m going to order next week when I’m treated to a birthday dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

  119. Joe Leydon says:

    Er, actually, that’s the filet I’m going to order next month. (I love it so much, I am reflexively trying to push up the date.)

  120. doug r says:

    And what’s with the “great F/X”? One shot at the house with the would-be girlfriend in the foreground, the robots are obviously some kind of back projection. Hell, another scene when the “girl” is running away is obviously back projection. I expect it in Sin City-a homage to old B&W film noir… and I forgive it in The Terminator because it was made in 1984 for $6.5 million and the studio wouldn’t let Cameron do a live background in the big tanker explosion.

  121. martin says:

    If you analyze Tranformers close enough, particularly frame by frame on DVD, I think a lot of what looked spectacular will not hold up as well. Although ILM did great work, the film clearly had some budgetary constraints and Bay wasn’t going to make his shot list any smaller. So they got everything up on screen, in some cases at the expense of quality. My feeling is that the only bad effects are the ones that take you out of the movie, and everything up on screen in this film was so ridiculous that I was certainly not going to be taken out by a cheesy f/x shot or two. I honestly believe that TF is a great litmus test of your ability to turn your brain off. Once you start questioning the logic, picking apart the effects, getting annoyed with certain lines of dialog, you’re thinking about this film way more than it was intended to be. If you take it at face-value, a blizzard of stupidity, you’ll enjoy it. If you take it for any more then that, you’re obviously not going to have very much fun.
    As far as splitting the forum between pro-and-con posts, that’s just crazy talk.

  122. jeffmcm says:

    “I honestly believe that TF is a great litmus test of your ability to turn your brain off. ”
    So this is something we’re actively aiming for these days?
    It seems to me that this movie is a good example of the phrase ‘guilty pleasure’. Sure, you can enjoy it, but you wouldn’t take it home to meet the parents. (Okay, that metaphor went somewhere I didn’t expect).

  123. martin says:

    No Jeff, we still need the smarties out there. Just as long as they let us dummies have our fun.

  124. Joe Leydon says:

    BTW: I would like to take this opportunity to say how happy I am that “Transformers” has already made more money than “Hostel 2.” Maybe if Heather Matarazzo had been sliced by a big-ass robot instead of a bare-ass lesbian….?

  125. Crow T Robot says:

    I hear ya, Joe. The Middle East seems an odd setting for a kiddie movie. But it’s been like 65 years since the US military was successfully attacked by foreign aircraft (remember that other Bay film?). I don’t think the image of a helicopter shooting at troops is as jarring as say Tom Cruise covered in powder meant to represent World Trade Center dust. Everyone watching knows it’s really a big ass robot. Now if it came disguised as a Muslim child… well…
    And I’m analyzing the movie from an entertainment POV, not artistic. Give me some credit here. I’m the guy who enjoyed Die Hard 4.

  126. jeffmcm says:

    Uh, Joe, there was never any doubt that Transformers would gross more in its opening weekend than Hostel 2 would in its lifetime. How happy are you going to be that it’ll also outgross Knocked Up in a week or so?

  127. Joe Leydon says:

    Of course, I’m also happy that Howard the Duck scored a bigger worldwide gross than Hostel 2, too. Maybe if Heather Matarazzo had been sliced by web-footed wisecracker instead of a blood-bathing babe…?

  128. Amblinman says:

    “Hey Dave can we separate this blog into those who like TRANSFORMERS and those who don’t? Just get an axe and split the fucker down the middle. You, me Crow and some others grab a cooler and get out of Dodge.”
    JBD, the only problem I see with the above is that you strike me as the type of bore absolutely no one would want to have a beer with.

  129. brack says:

    I loved it. Action was great, some people thought too great (too fast or whatever), but I could follow who was who pretty well near the end, you just have to pay attention a little bit.

  130. jeffmcm says:

    Joe, you can gloat all you want, but the movie is still profitable and Eli Roth will still make more movies.
    I’d have a beer with you, JBD.

  131. brack says:

    And why does every movie that comes out have to be “smart?” I don’t get where the movie didn’t make sense. Maybe I have the same mindset as this movie, which is fine by me.

  132. Joe Leydon says:

    Of course, I’m also happy to see that Boogeyman grossed more than Hostel 2… ’cause, actually, Boogeyman wasn’t that bad.

  133. jeffmcm says:

    Oh, lord…I thought Boogeyman was incoherent and tedious.
    There must be some horror movie we can agree on, right? Night of the Living Dead? The Exorcist?

  134. Considering that most of the people who disliked Transformers probably went in predisposed to not liking it, it’s not something I’m going to get fussed about.
    Some people can deal with movies about cars turning into robots and not care that the movie’s sole reason for existing is to have great special effects, some laughs, some fun and an escape from normalcy.
    I, personally, have never been involved in an alien attack so I can’t judge whether it was done realistically or if shooting at a robot’s crotch area would or would not make it explode. But perhaps some of you guys have? I don’t particularly care to think about it when I’m having as much fun as I was having.

  135. jeffmcm says:

    “the movie’s sole reason for existing is to have great special effects, some laughs, some fun and an escape from normalcy.”
    Sure, if only it had succeeded at these very modest goals, as Pirates did.

  136. brack says:

    “I, personally, have never been involved in an alien attack so I can’t judge whether it was done realistically or if shooting at a robot’s crotch area would or would not make it explode. But perhaps some of you guys have? I don’t particularly care to think about it when I’m having as much fun as I was having.”
    Well said, and the right attitude to have about this movie.
    Definitely the most fun I’ve had at the theater this season. But I liked all the big-budget movies I’ve seen this year. Amazingly, I go see movies I think I’ll actually like.

  137. Amblinman says:

    Wow..Jeff and JBD having a drink together. It would be like listening to a drunk Comic Book Guy talking to himself all night.
    I absolutely hated ID4, Godzilla, and virtually all of Bay/Emmerich’s previous stuff. Yet I loved Transformers (still waiting for the Roland Emmerich movie that I’ll enjoy). Maybe, just maybe, it’s not so much that tastes have declined as it is that Bay just so happened to make an entertaining film? If someone wants to say this isn’t their cup of tea, so be it. But insisting that, say, Pirates 3 succeeds where TF fails suggests that you really are under the impression that *your* shit (movies) don’t smell.

  138. jeffmcm says:

    Pirates 1, not 3.

  139. T.Holly says:

    And while I’m at it, I don’t see Don or Tom hanging out in here anywhere:
    http://www.editorsguild.com/v2/magazine/archives/0707/cover_story_teaser.htm

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“Well, actually, of that whole group that I call the post-60s anti-authority auteurs, a lot of them came from television. Peckinpah’s the only one whose television work represents his feature work. I mean, like the only one. Mark Rydell can direct a really good episode of ‘Gunsmoke’ and Michael Ritchie can direct a really good episode of ‘The Big Valley,’ but they don’t necessarily look like The Candidate. But Peckinpah’s stuff, even the scripts he wrote that he didn’t even direct, have a Peckinpah feel – the way I think there’s a Corbucci West – suggest a Peckinpah West. That even in his random episodes that he wrote for ‘Gunsmoke’ – it’s right there.”
~ Quentin Tarantino

“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima