Saturday, July 21, 2007

Maybe, Just Maybe.

Just prior to 2002, Bimmer enthusiasts the world over prayed that maybe, just maybe BMW would honor the year by re-releasing the legendary 2002. There were even rumors that the original casts for the body of the 2002 were found, and that BMW was seriously considering re-releasing the identical car with an updated engine and interior. Fans of the 2002 were going ballistic.

As 2002 arrived, two things happened and one big thing didn’t. Much to the chagrin of true Bimmerphiles, BMW was deeply focused on the launch of the new MINI—which obviously turned out to be a good thing. Then BMW released a concept car called the CS1, it was touted as the spiritual successor to the 2002. However, everyone was much more focused on designer Chris Bangle’s controversial “flame-surface” approach to BMW’s new lines. Bottom line, the year 2002 came and went without the re-release of any like unto a 2002.

Now 40 years after the original US release of the 2002, BMW is finally claiming that the successor has arrived to North American shores. This successor has come in the form of the new 1 Series.
The 1 Series hatch has been a fixture in BMW’s European line up for a few years now, but the combination of this car and the 335i’s amazing new bi-turbo engine here in the States is something worth noting. When I saw the pics of the new 135i, I actually felt like maybe they were telling the truth—maybe, just maybe the re-release of the 2002 has finally arrived.

Visually, this car looks like the muscular, little offspring of an M3 and a 2002. In fact, as I was cropping the pic for this post, my daughter saw it and said, “Hey, it’s Tessa’s car!” Which is what she calls our red 2002 for some reason. Performance- wise, this thing is gonna be a WRX-killer. The tuner crowd isn’t gonna know what hit them. The current 335i is already faster than the previous M3 CSL; one can only imagine that this engine in a lighter body will pack an even more powerful punch.

So yes, I want to drive it. It looks amazing in red—it’d be even more awesome if BMW released the thing in orange. I guess the next question is, do they dare come out with an M1 version of this car? Doubt it. Now if they’d just called the thing a 2 Series, I don’t think there’d be any question.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Much More Than Meets The Eye.

So, last Friday I went and saw it: Transformers. Luckily, Mr. RobotsandAngels gave me a good heads up and let me know that I should make sure I walk into this thing as a 15 year-old kid. That wasn’t really a problem—I think I walk into just about any flick like a 15 year-old kid. So this is what I have to say about this movie. Michael Bay should only ever may this type of flick, because it was good fun. Did you catch that little disclaimer? Realize I didn’t really say it was ‘good’, I said it was ‘good fun’.

First and foremost, this flick did a fantastic job of making you wish your car was somehow, someway your very own Transformer. The Bumblebee scenes were awesome. There was a great and very appropriate allusion to the old fashion VW Bug, and to top it off the Bumblebee/Barricade chase scene was as cool and exciting as any classic car chase I can think of. I guarantee that the new Camaro’s top selling color will undoubtedly be yellow.

I was nervous about the robots. From the previews and production photos I totally thought the bots looked way too techie. Seeing them in motion, they just looked cool. They moved right, they transformed right, and they fought right. I still think they brought way too much tech to their faces and expressions—they were just too complicated—but this was pretty forgivable in the grand scheme of things. Bottom line, the animation and effects rocked the house down.

The stand out feature of the entire flick was the performance of Shia LaBeouf. Dude, where did this kid come from? I mean I’m pretty sure he showed up in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, but other than that—this kid came outta nowhere. And he was awesome. I’d say that just about every other character’s dialog was chee-zee, but Shia on the other hand pulled out all the stops. He as witty, convincing, seriously funny, and most importantly there was this perfect amount of tongue-and- cheekiness about his performance. It was almost like he was winking at the camera, like: “Yeah, I know I’m in a Michael Bay flick, but it’s freaking Transformers!”

So I’ve decided not to critique this thing too much, I guess I’ve sort of decided that I’m just gonna like this movie. I’ll admit all the NSA nerd scenes were useless and confusing—why is some young, Aussie babe floating around the Pentagon anyway, I mean, c’mon! But still I’ll tell you right now, this very well could be the first Michael Bay movie that I’ll ever own on DVD, and if you saw my ridiculously clich├ęd, snobby collection, you’d know that actually means something.