Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More Than Meets The Eye.

I would just like to officially say that even though I probably hate Michael Bay more than any director in existence, I am still planning to go and see Transformers. Yes, there will definitely be more dramatic, panning, low-angle hero shots than anyone can bear—but still, it’s freaking Transformers! How awesome is that! Honestly, this movie could star Carrot Top and I’d still go see it.

Ever since I watched the pilot episode of the Transformers cartoon as a kid—their escape from Cybertron, I have loved this storyline. My favorite Transformer was and always will be Jazz, the music-thumping Porsche. I vividly remember going and seeing the original Transformers: The Movie with my mom at the Fishkill Mall on my 10th birthday. I full on cried when Optimus Prime died and passed the Autobot Matrix of Leadership on to Ultra Magnus. (Who then passed it on to Hot Rod, who then opened it and became the new Autobot leader—Rodimus Prime. I’m telling you, I know my stuff.)

Here’s what I’m excited about. First, the special effects in this new flick look like they’re off the hook. They’ve nailed how these things should transform in real life—nailed it. Second, I’m also mega stoked that Peter Cullen (the original voice of Optimus Prime) has returned to play him once again. Hopefully the voice talent will be as cool at the original flick, which brought in the skills of actors like former Python Eric Idle, Leonard Nimoy, and the amazing voice talent of one Judd Nelson.

Here’s what I’m torqued about. Why the crap is Bumblebee now some cheese-ball Chevy concept car!?! Who are the ad wizards that came up with that one? A bumblebee is a bug, the car was a bug—this is not rocket science. Seriously, a New Beetle Turbo S in racing yellow would have been the perfect way to update that character. Somebody at Crispin has got to be pissed about missing out on that little product-placement-dream-come-true! (Suckers.)

Anyway. Look for my review in the coming weeks, the movie opens on the 4th of July and it’s going to be awesome.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Don’t Read This, Just Go See It.

Call me lame, but I just saw Children of Men. I’d say around a half-a-dozen close friends (with exceptional movie taste, mind you) have asked me if I’ve seen this one. And finally—I have. So, I know you’re all dying to hear what I thought. Well, first I’ll start with why I didn’t rush to see it in the theater in the first place.

Growing up I was a huge sci-fi movie buff. Even as an elementary-school-aged kid, I treated myself to a healthy dose of futuristic flicks like 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Road Warrior, and even Bladerunner. In more recent years, I’ve kind of started leaning away from bleak, post-apocalyptic films. I mean seriously, my favorite movie is In Good Company. (Most people think that’s a freaking chick flick, sheesh.)

I don’t know if it’s been since I’ve had kids, or maybe it’s even due to post 9/11 vibes that I’ve tried to avoid. But whatever it is when I saw the preview for Children of Men, I remember thinking, that’s a movie I probably don’t need to see. I could immediately tell it would be gritty, political, extremely graphic, and disturbing at times—all things I feel really need to be merited in order for me to appreciate them, which rarely happens.

Once the bros started reporting on how great Children of Men was—obviously I was interested on getting my own take. So when the latest free Hollywood Video coupon came in the mail last week, we checked it out. And here’s my take.

Children of Men is a smart, powerhouse epic. Here are the pros. Amazing cinematography and editing—many of you know I am a huge fan of the long take (ie: Unbreakable). There is something gripping about the extended take that pulls you in and allows you to become part of the scene. The production design is mind-blowing, almost scary. To quote the DVD extras, “everything in the scene had to have a reference, nothing was invented.” This concept brought a chilling sense of realism, unmatched by any sci-fi flick I can think of.

The final pro is Clive. Obviously I’m a massive fan of the BMW Films, and Clive was great in those. But this easily proves that he’s an actor to be reckoned with. If he keeps this crap up, there’s no reason to be bummed about getting passed on as the next 007.

Now for the few but important cons—really there are just two. The first is that even though I completely understand that this story is about Clive’s character Theo, I felt like there was little to no backstory for any other character. Not that big of a deal other than I really wanted to care when some one got blown away.

My other critique is minor as well. As far as the themes and messages of the movie are concerned, there was nothing unexpected. What I mean is this: when I first saw the preview, I guessed exactly what sort of take they’d have on humanity, politics, and hope. I was kind of waiting for the thematic twist, the payoff, something unexpected in regard to the message—which kind of never came.

Bottom line: see it and for your own opinion on this one, it’s definitely worth it. And seriously, I just need to stop watching previews altogether.