Monday, June 29, 2009

Why Do We Applaud Garbage?

I had an amazing past weekend, and I'll talk more about that later, but there's a pressing matter I must get to.

The one low point of the weekend was sitting through Michael Bay's latest affront to cinema, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Anyone who knows me knows full well that I despise Michael Bay; ironically the only film of his I found entertaining overall was the original Transformers. I know he directed The Rock, but that movie is dumb. His other "contributions" include: Bad Boys, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys II (maybe the worst movie ever made), and The Island. Yet he continues to find work, because his "films" inexplicably make money.

Revenge of the Fallen is like all the previous Michael Bay films put together, multiplied 1,000 times, and then dipped in a satanic mixture of Red Bull and Cocaine. The movie was stupid beyond my wildest dreams, incapable of slowing down long enough to even pay lip service to any kind of basic human intelligence.

I'm not going to sum up the plot, because who could possibly keep track of it? The film introduces so many characters and does nothing with 99% of them, rendering them as just wasted time. The worst of all was Leo (Ramon Rodriguez), who is Sam's (Shia LaBeouf) college roommate. He literally adds nothing to the plot but manages to take up a lot of screen time with his "will he or won't he" go crazy bit that never goes anywhere. He makes a powerfully un-funny team with the normally great John Turturro, who certainly deserves something better.

There's also a stupefying plot line involving Sam's girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox), spends a lot of time wondering whether they will say "I Love You" to each other, and who will say it first. In a movie in which the fate of the planet rests in the hands of an 18-year-old boy against the invasion of a species of millenniums old alien robots, I think the "I Love Yous" can wait. I know it needs to be hammered into my head over and over again that Megan Fox is "hot" and that any guy should put aside anything, even the fate of the planet, to tell her that he loves her. I know that after seeing this movie.

Sam's parents (Kevin Dunn and Julie White) are given expanded roles to satisfy the demand of no one. When they drop Sam off at school, his mom wanders off and finds a pot brownie, and proceeds to act in a manner that no one who has ever eaten a pot brownie has ever acted. Trust me. Then they show up at the end of the movie as well for no discernible reason, since they never served a purpose to anyone in the plot.

Then there's the robots. For an advanced race, they sure talk stupid, and with different accents. Why is that old robot British? And why are the twin robots black stereotypes? And why is it when they fight they never really show what's going on, just an incomprehensible clash of metal on metal. I guess if I spent that much money on special effects, I would want my audience to actually SEE them.

I could go on and on, but I'm ready to address another growing concern of mine. There's a notion that movies like this are simply "good" because they don't purport to be anything more than "mindless entertainment." I'm all for that ... as long as it's good. Just because it's not Schindler's List doesn't give it the right to suck at everything it tried. Just because it's an action movie doesn't mean it has to be banal, inept, and void of any real substance. Look no further than films like Iron Man, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 2, and X-2: X-Men United to remember that movies action DON'T require anyone to "check their brain at the door" (if I hear that f#$*ing expression ONE more time...).

It's similar to the notion that people hurl at me about comedies like You Don't Mess With the Zohan, when they say something like "you're just supposed to laugh!" But what if it's not funny? The same thing applies to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. You might say "you're just supposed to be entertained." But what if I'm not entertained by a crap movie?

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