A Change of Pace

The Transformers Trilogy

So far i’ve been reviewing movies i love, but that’s not all that’s out there. There are many other popular films out there that i have gripes with. Now I’m not going to rail on it for betraying the source material (i never knew the original show),I’m here to make reviews on just the films.

Story: Giant robots are on Earth. They have the ability to transform into machines. These Transformers are split into 2 factions: the Autobots (good guys) and Decepticons (bad guys). Autobots fight for the humans and the Decepticons seek to rule. I don’t need to go into more detail for the entire trilogy, all 3 are spoken for in that description. The STORIES within each film are ok, that is to say the overarching plot is reasonable for giant space robots. However, the scripts are an abomination. They take an odd approach: Scenes of action between robots then attempted humor between all the humans while the robots aren’t fighting. It comes off a bit disjointed, but i can live with it, but wait, it gets worse. The human characters are extremely shallow and annoying, I’m still baffled as to why they get so much attention in a film about GIANT SPACE ROBOTS. The dialogue is cheesy at best and very uninteresting jokes. So about half the movie is scrap, but at least we still have robots and action right?…..RIGHT??

Visual: There was SO MUCH potential in this movie for excellent visual, but it’s all lost. The robots look very nice, better the makers design their own fashion of robot instead of just recreating the toys and cartoons with CGI. So the art design is very good, but the direction and action coordination is slipshod at best. Watching the fights are really disappointing, most of the time you can’t tell what you’re looking at. The transformers are so badly framed and move in and out of shots so quickly that all that is certain is that a transformer did indeed run by the camera. There is also a great deal of chaos that obscures them, between the explosions and rubble, the transformers sometimes get lost in the shot. The final stake in the heart is again the humans. Most actions sequences are focused on the human characters running about so you get to see the transformers duking it out while the camera is forcing you to watch the teenagers duck around. I don’t know about you but when I paid for transformers i want to see giant robots fighting!!

Acting: >.< it’s a stretch to call anything in this film ACTING. It helps that many of the cast could act their way out of a bucket *Coughcoughmeganfoxcoughcough*. Shia Lebeouf leads in all 3 films. Now he’s not a bad actor, there are quite a few good actors in the films: John Turturro, John Malkovich, Alan Tudyk. The problem is that the roles that they play and the lines they have to deliver are bad, i mean they’re REALLY bad. sure it’s kinda amusing the first time, but they quickly degrade into annoyances (especially those who are in all 3 films). They never really came up with any new material it was always the same: Shia Labeouf in a new place and being awkward until the robots show up in the second half and take back their movie.

Audio: this is definitely the least offensive category, that doesn’t say it’s good, it’s just not bad. The sound effects work, and despite the large amounts of gunfire and explosions, the mix never gets overwhelming. The Score isn’t anything special, it greatly resembles a Hans Zimmer score, but i think at this point Zimmer has set the standard for blockbuster scoring. Not much else to say, like i said not great but not bad at all.

Overall:

  1. The first movie wasn’t bad, I enjoyed it, it was still new, the action was cool and there were some very nice moments. 3.5/5. Not terribly offensive, you can do far worse for a sci-fi action flick
  2. OH DEAR GOD GET IT AWAY!!! GET IT AWAY. Horrible, terrible action, terrible new characters. It was two-and-a-half of staring at Megan Fox as much as possible, i don’t get it at all. Steer clear, this movie is unrequited garbage
  3. Meh. better than the second one, but doesn’t take much. The new girl is a sight better than Megan Fox, but not by much. The highly praised “Chicago war” left a lot to be desired once i finally saw it. So i guess you could go see it, but why would you?

So readers: SOMEONE PITCH ME A MOVIE, let me know you guys are there :)

Thanks for reading and I’ll post again next week, have a good one!

Anime can be for everyone

Princess Mononoke

Once upon a time i was a massive fan of Anime, back in the days of Toonami, Dragonball Z and the like. But i grew up and stopped with those shows. Once again my days in college and my access to Netflix revitalized my love for new and great films. Mononoke is not just a great anime, but an overall great film

We begin the journey with Prince Ashitaka, one of the last of a samurai-like tribe. Ashitaka slays a demon that threatens his village but in so doing curses himself to a slow and painful death. As per usual, he sets out on a pilgrimage to find the source of the demon and perhaps find a cure. Far from home, he comes upon war, a war between the animal gods and the men harvesting their land for precious metals. Ashitaka is now forced to decide between preserving nature or aiding his fellow man. The title comes from the princess San, a girl much like Ashitaka that was raised byt he animal gods and fights on their side. This sounds really familiar doesn’t it? but SORTA SPOILERS: Ashitaka takes a much higher road than Last Samurai, Avatar and all those guys, He elects to fight for a union between the two worlds, not to crush or destroy.

Acting: it’s an anime so not much ACTING is done per se. The voice talent is a group of fairly well known names, and they each do a fine job, but it’s not spectacular. The character drawing is quite interesting. The animal gods don’t actually mouth their words when they speak, it’s almost as though they’re speaking with their minds to those around them. as for the human characters, not much can be said, they’re the same as any other Miyazaki characters (not to say they;re bad or boring, but they’re not that special).

Visual: this is where anime shines. Princess Mononoke was the longest animated film ever produced (it may still be). each frame is a painting and it’s 130~ minutes long. At 24 frames a SECOND that’s somewhere in the range of 190,000 individual frames, just try and imagine how much time that takes even with the aid of computer technology. The scenery is just GORGEOUS, between detail and color. Like i said it’s like watching paintings, not cheap cartoons. The intricacies of the backgrounds are astounding, it’s to be expected that great attention is paid to the foreground, but when the background of a shot that you see for maybe 5 seconds is as intricate as a landscape masterpiece… It speaks for itself, if that kind of detail doesn’t impress you i don;t know what will.

Audio: As i said the voice acting is fine. There is nothing particularly fancy about the sound effects. Guess that leads me to my audio ranting: the score. The music of Joe Hisaishi is fantastic. The stuff he writes is orchestra class material. I’ve always been a sucker for Japanese scoring, from animes to JRPGs, the stuff is amazing. The moods are very well carried in the music, swelling melodies for the epic journey and dark horns for monsters. Hard to describe (i swear I’m gonna use this copout every time but it’s true) but lovely, listen and you’ll see what i mean.

Overall: If you like anime and you haven’t seen it already, i don’t know what’s wrong with you. If you’re not an anime person you should see it anyways, it’s probably the most friendly anime to break in with. Like i said before, change it from anime to actors along side good graphics and you’ve got a blockbuster summer movie. It may be a bit long, but it never drags. The only drawback is the ending is a bit lackluster for me, but that’s entirely up to you to make your own judgments. Very high marks, a good film, Go see it.

Thanks again for reading, feel free to make requests and you’ll hear from me next week!