Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Well -- it happened -- Michael Bay FINALLY made a movie that I didn't necessarily ENTIRELY LOVE on the first go round. Now, don't get me wrong -- there's LOTS to admire and gawk at and be blown away by in Dark of the Moon, Bay's latest piece of shiny, ultra-calculated, red-blooded, action-movie-idiocy. Some TRULY EPIC SHIT goes down, done in a way and on a scale that NOBODY ELSE could possibly do. The last hour, where downtown Chicago is LAID TO WASTE, is indeed amazing and totally mindboggling and all the other hyperbole you wanna throw at it. Pure insanity. Worth the price of admission alone. It's such a ridiculous mix of live-action, CGI, real stunts, and pyrotechnics that you just sorta stare in disbelief. The city of Chicago gets ANNHILATED. It's quite literally the equivalent to 1,000 9/11's in the sense of the destruction. The stuff in the skyscraper that's glimpsed at in the trailer is every bit as RETARDED/EXCITING as you'd think it is. All of it is SUPREMELY OVER THE TOP and NONE OF IT can be taken seriously in any sense of the word. There's one two minute sequence where it's one money-shot after another, Bay just going totally fucking BATSHIT CRAZY. It's Michael Bay's World, and we're all just living in it.

Now, having said that, here's the problem, of which there are a few. The comedy bits were DREADFUL. The first 90 minutes are a major SLOG to get thru. Say what you want about Revenge of the Fallen (the second film), but that movie was 2 hours and 30 mins of PURE ACTION, which I totally and unabashedly LOVED. With Dark of the Moon, you get a really cool pre-credits, revisionist-moon-landing-history-lesson and then the movie settles into this strange semi-trance for roughly 80 mins were essentially NOTHING HAPPENS and people just fire exposition back and forth at one another. And then there's the comedy stuff, all of which is stupid, unfunny, and totally aimed at people with the humor barometers of apes. I know Bay is a goofy, corny guy, but holy shit some of this stuff is so lame and silly. And some of the musical choices -- the pop songs -- TOTALLY ATROCIOUS. Cringe-worthy. Steve Jablonsky's pounding musical score is all well and good as far as these things go, but Bay's choice in soundtrack cuts is really mid '90's and total cheese ball. The only two minor action beats in the first 90 mins (one bit cleverly set at Chernobyl and the other a crazy freeway rampage) were fun, but honestly, I didn't pay $12 to see a shitty comedy, Shia overacting, and terrible scenes with McDormand, Jeong, Turturro (who is in another movie ENTIRELY) and Alan Tudyk, who is SUPREMELY ANNOYING. There's even a moment when Bay used STOCK FOOTAGE from The Island during the freeway sequence -- I know this because of how many times I've watched the jet-bike chase scene in The Island. He even shot some of the freeway stuff in Dark of the Moon in the same exact style as The Island.

And then there's the 3-D. I saw the film in Real-D 3-D, not Imax 3-D, for a few reasons -- I don't like the oversize Imax glasses, my theater's Imax screen is a Fauxmax screen (it's nice and big and the sound is loud but other theaters in the complex are bigger), and the movie wasn't shot with Imax cameras (just regular 3-D ones). The screen was bright and it didn't look dark and dingy. So how did the format apply to the action? In a word -- HOLY SHIT. This BLOWS AWAY the stuff in Avatar. Cameron laid down a foundation and Bay brought it all up a notch. The depth of field during the action scenes is extraordinary, and they make great use of the 3D at all times during the fights -- glass, smoke, metal, you name it and it's coming at you. Still, I'm VERY CURIOUS to see the film in 2-D so that I can compare it to the other two films, as they were both 2-D efforts. The last hour of the movie is ONE MASSIVE WAR-STYLE BATTLE, and during this stuff is when the 3-D is put to the test.

And one last thing - as cute as this British chick is, she's got NOTHING on THE FOX.

So, all in all, I was definitely entertained, I was definitely impressed, but I'd at the moment, I'd rank the series in the order of their release. I will certainly see it again just so I can relish in the sheer LUNACY of the Chicago invasion. But I'm glad that Bay is done with the Giant Fighting Robots; hopefully he can get back to something more real-world rooted like The Rock or another Bad Boys movie. He's threatening to do his "little $20 million dark comedy" which I think is a TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE idea; Bay is NOT suited to comedy and should stick to what he knows best -- THE IDEA OF MOVIES AS THEMEPARK RIDES.

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