Saturday, July 9, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (dir. Michael Bay)

There are no words to describe how awesome that scene is.

So far no one has taken me to task for my very positive review of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. I take that as a sign that either I've so convincingly made my case that every reader has stood there and said "my God, man, how can anyone challenge such reasoning," or no one's plowed through the 1,600-word behemoth (if it helps my cinephile cred, my piece on The Tree of Life was longer, and I once wrote a 10-page paper on Pierrot le Fou...and I LIKED IT). Naturally, I'm choosing to believe the former, though my heart is certain it's the latter.

But enough about me. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a pretty great li'l flick by one of the most interesting mainstream directors working today. Here's how my review starts...

The auteur theory was developed nearly sixty years ago (feeling old yet, Andrew Sarris? HUH?), and yet critics still seem intent on reviewing films as though they were novels or plays, almost totally ignoring or marginalizing the work of the film's supposed author. I'm sure there are reasonable people out there who can acutely dismantle a Michael Bay film on its own terms, but by and large, every review of his career has reflected the same old tired "Bay doesn't understand plot or character argument, which are only valid complaints when Bay is making a film that concerns those elements (hello, Pearl Harbor). Bay's best films (The Rock, Bad Boys II, now Dark of the Moon) approach storytelling differently, starting by taking a page from Hitchcock's method in North by Northwest (oh, I'm going there) - build a plot around action sequences, rather than the other way around. And here, he's chosen to populate his world not with likable characters just tryin' to do some good in this crazy world of ours or people driven to success with a dark side that will undo them (you know, like good little movies do), but with cartoonish, oversized, near-sociopathic assholes.
And there's a good taste of what you're getting yourself into in my review, up now at Battleship Pretension.

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