Review: Transformers

I caught Transformers this afternoon with Don, and I have some bad news. It wasn’t that great. I might have been too hyped up for this movie since I was a super fan, growing up collecting the toys and watching the cartoons, but it just didn’t give me all that I wanted. Even though director Michael Bay strayed from some of the character’s well known forms (Bumblebee was a Camaro, not a VW Bug; Megatron was a plane, not a gun, etc.), he does explain why he chose what he chose in pages two and three of this Wired article.

There was still the battle over the Energon Cubes (but in the movie only one massive “cube”), and there was Starscream (great transforming to flying animation), but the action was portrayed so close that you couldn’t tell who was the good or bad guy. Also lacking were some of the characters discernible high pitched voices – they all kind of had Optimus’ low commanding voice. The one thing that I really think was lacking was the feeling that there was an army of Autobots versus an army of Decepticons. Instead it was a friendly game of about five on five.  I would’ve liked to see a lot more of the old characters.  The other reviews are right, at times it felt like a big GM commercial, complete with the GMC logo being part of the transformation.

Well, I can’t say don’t see it, especially if you were a huge fan like me, but after seeing the live action Transformers movie, I wish that they had just made it a cartoon and stayed true to the original.

Preview: Shrek the Third

Working for AOL has its benefits every once in a while. I’ve had the chance to see a few movies before they come out – Harry Potter and Rockstar are the only two that come to mind. Yesterday, I got to catch a preview of one of this summer’s blockbusters: Shrek the Third. As expected, co-workers brought their kids in droves to the movie. It was interesting to see the genius of the Shrek writers in action by having two levels of comedy and see the adults and kids laugh at different parts. Kids laughed at the many fart and poop jokes (embarrassingly enough, so did I), and the adults laughed at digs at current events or when curse words were masked by fog horns. It’s good to know that kids around the age of five weren’t able to extrapolate what curse word was being censored. The adult/kid interaction with the movie is something I usually don’t experience with these kids movies because I see them many weeks after they come out in more empty theaters.

Once again, the animators were top notch with the visuals and animation. The voice acting on par with the previous Shrek movies – although Justin Timberlake, who provides the voice for Artie, had the weakest performance. Overall, this is what you’d expect from the Shrek series – multiple layers of humor, clever story writing, and excellent visuals and animation all taking advantage of the character development established in the first two movies. One thing that was missing was the catch song at the end of the movie. The first movie had (one of my fave bands) Self‘s extremely catchy song, and the second Shrek had a great Counting Crows tune. Shrek the Third didn’t have that memorable song as you’re filing out of the theater. Oh well, you can’t have everything. Anyways, I’m 2 for 2 for seeing summer blockbusters this summer…way ahead of my normal curve…

Review: Spiderman 3

Mental note: Don’t see a summer blockbuster at the Regal – Potomac Yards at noon on opening weekend. The theater was filled with restless kids and no less than two people adults that not only had their cell phones ring mid-movie, but also answered them. I’ve never experienced such disrespect for a movie going experience…well, maybe when a fight almost broke out while watching Syriana. Near the end of the movie, there were at least 15 to 20 adults that got up and walked out before it ended, even further disrupting the movie. I almost can’t blame them, since the third installment of this mega-hit series failed to deliver.

There were many times during the movie where I was thinking to myself…”wtf is this?” Creator of Spiderman, and regular cameo star, Stan Lee, managed to work himself into a semi-prominent speaking role, which didn’t flow at all. Stan Lee should stick to roles like he played in the original Spiderman movie, where he was just an extra screaming on a balcony. Another random role that should have remained more in the background was Harry Osborn’s butler. Way too much talking from that old codger. Peter Parker’s “dark character” montage scenes dragged on way too long and featured way too much of dark Parker doing the “gun” portion of the “wink and the gun” to the many ladies of New York, as well as way too many pelvic thrusts.

The action scenes were okay, but seemed thrown together and disjointed. I’ve also never been a big fan of the all CGI fight scenes. At the end, you’ll get to see Harry Osborn as his Goblin character and Spiderman participate in some cheesy, and at points, nauseating displays of teamwork vs. Venom and the Sandman. Overall, not that great a movie, so I wouldn’t say don’t go see Spiderman 3, because maybe my theater experience tainted my enjoyment, but it wasn’t nearly as good as Spiderman 2 or 1. I have much to be desired for the rest of the summer blockbusters…

300, My Missing Camera, and the Army Ten Miler

This past week Nick and I went to go see 300, thanks to chris, who hooked me with some free movie passes. I hadn’t read that much about the movie, but I did know that it was based on a comic by Frank Miller, who also did Sin City. I hoped it would be good because it was hyped up a lot and also I enjoyed Sin City (even though I felt really dirty after seeing it). I was not let down. 300 is the story about the king of Sparta, Leonidas, leading 300 of his best warriors to protect Sparta from the attack of the Persians. The movie lasted a short 2 hours and was filled with really violent battle scenes and highly stylized cinematic scenes. I thought that the movie very entertaining. Maybe even more entertaining than even *gasp*, The Gladiator. Some might say that statement is sacrilegious, but I will be adding this one to my DVD collection once it comes out. Go see it while it’s still in theaters.

Also this past week, I had been missing my camera since Sunday. I’ve since found it (in the armrest of my car of all places), but for those few days, I really started to worry. With the redesign of this site, and my ever-renewing interest in Flickr I felt a little empty not posting something new on Flickr. Don’t worry, that will change by this weekend. There will be many pictures to be taken between Dave coming to town, April’s birthday party, and an Okay Samurai jam session on Sunday.

And finally, the Army Ten Miler registration has opened up. The race is less than six months away on October 7th this year, and I received an email from Andrew seeing if we wanted to run it again this year, but I still haven’t decided. I really enjoyed it last year, and I did better than I thought I was going to. I’ll decide and sign up by this weekend when I hang out with the guys. If nothing else, it’ll give me something to blog about. Pictures from last year are here: Army Ten Miler Set on Flickr.

DaVinci Code Trailer Released

I got hooked on Dan Brown’s books just over a couple years ago, and have already read them all. While I like all of them, his best two are still definitely The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons. I still can’t quite picture Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, but I’m sure he’ll pull it off just fine. The trailer looks pretty amazing, I just wonder how long it’s going to be before they start filming Angels and Demons…check out the trailer here.

Movie Madness

The combination of the cold winter and my new tv has rejuvenated my movie watching habits. For instance in the past 3 days, I have watched 4 movies (3 rented and 1 in theater). It has been ages since my last super in depth movie review, and I’m not about to break that streak.

I missed all the summer blockbusters, so I’m slowly getting back around to them. The first movie was Cinderella Man. Set during the Depression Era in the 1930’s, Russel Crowe literally and figuratively fights him and his family out of poverty. Pretty good…but only about a 71 on my scale, ranking it right above “make it a blockbuster night” and at the bottom of “above average but not that great”.

The next movie was the sneaky documentary hit March of the Penguins. This could’ve featured on the Discovery Channel, but I really enjoyed learning about the penguins. I had no idea about the hardships they go through to produce babies, the harsh conditions they live in, how slow and far they walk, or that when the adults make noises they sound like Soundwave from the Transformers. March of the Penguins get an 82.

The last movie I rented was Mr & Mrs Smith. This action packed, highly unbelievable, suspension of disbelief, True Lies-esque thriller was fun and entertaining, except until the end when you start questioning what the hell was happening for the past bullet-ridden hour. At least it had Seth Cohen in it. I’ll give it a…78.

Last and (actually in this case) the least, was Just Friends. The usually funny Ryan Reynolds and Amy Smart depended on cheap slapstick comedy that just didn’t hold up to the promises the trailer made. Kudos to the person that made the trailer, because those were just about the only funny parts of the movie. I did enjoy the nachos that I bought to eat during the movie though. Skip this one most definitely…I give it a paltry 45. Which puts it a mere 6 points away from “A Cinematic Disaster”.

Until my next movie binge, have a great holiday season!