Archive for the Reviews Category

Prime Questions About Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Posted in News, Reviews on July 12, 2009 by Gryphon08

While there is no doubt that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen smashed the box offices by earning over $300 million domestically and $600 million worldwide (source MTV Movies Blog) the film lacked the personality of the first film (Transformers).

True to Michael Bay’s style the entire 2 hrs and 24 mins of the film were filled with explosions, sun flares, and epic robot battles. While Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a fun action-packed summer movie there were a lot of holes in the storyline that beg to be questioned.

Matt McDaniel over at YAHOO! Movies has an interesting article posted:

“Burning Questions: The 10 Most Confusing Things in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen“.

Shia LaBeouf

1. In Transformers,” there was this giant battle in the middle of downtown Los Angeles — excuse me, Mission City — that was witnessed by thousands of people at the very least. But somehow the government was able to cover up the whole thing, and now the existence of alien robots is just an internet rumor? How did they do it? Pay off everyone who was there and quickly fix millions of dollars in damage? Also, didn’t Keller (Jon Voight) go on TV and tell everyone we were being attacked by “a technological civilization far superior to our own”? How did they spin that?

2. There are two pieces of the Allspark cube left: the military has one under lock and key, and Sam discovers another. The Decepticons steal one and bring Megatron back to life. But when Sam (Shia LaBeouf) wants to bring back Optimus, he has to find the Matrix of Leadership on the other side of the globe. Why not use the other piece? Mikaela (Megan Fox) has it in her backpack the whole time. It brought his kitchen appliances to life, why can’t it do the same for Optimus?

3. Speaking of Megatron’s rebirth, when the Decepticons venture deep into the ocean to revive him, the Navy crew tracking them reads five contacts. When they get down there, they tear apart one of the robots for parts to rebuild Megatron. Then as they rise to the surface, the same Navy guys say they spot six contacts. The little “Doctor” robot popped out down there, but he’s about a third of the size of a person. Would he have shown up on sonar?

Shia LaBeouf 4. That reminds me: even if I were to forgive the Doctor’s German accent — and director Michael Bay is asking me to forgive a lot of ridiculous accents — why would a robot need glasses? He has little lenses that flip in front of his mechanical eyes. Couldn’t he just get his eyes adjusted? You’d think with all the laser guns, someone could perform a Lasik procedure.

5. Apparently, Transformers can look like people now. How? And how is it that even though the robo-girl (Isabel Lucas) is made of metal, she can still straddle Sam without crushing him. And if Bumblebee knows something’s wrong with her, why does he spit antifreeze at her instead of telling Sam? Yes, his voicebox is broken, but wasn’t it fixed at the end of the last movie?

Megan Fox 6. The Fallen is the last of the Primes, since they all sacrificed themselves to stop him from destroying the sun. But then he says that Optimus is a descendant of the Primes. First, Transformers have kids? And second, how could he descend from them if they were all dead? And if the Fallen could only be destroyed by a Prime, why didn’t the originals just gang up on him back in the day? And what makes Optimus so special, anyway? Megatron beat him earlier, but all it takes is a few spare parts from creaky old Jetfire for him to take out the Fallen?


7. Sam, Mikaela, and Simmons (John Turturro) go to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. to find Jetfire. Then they walk out the back onto a wide open field with old planes and mountains in the distance. When did the National Mall start to look so much like to Tucson, AZ (where they really filmed that scene)?


8. The geography is just as bad when they go to Egypt. The stone city of Petra in Jordan is over 250 miles away, over mountainous terrain, with few paved roads and the Israeli border between them, so how can they drive from one to the other in a couple of hours. And the Pyramids are said to be shooting distance from the Mediterranean, but they are actually well over 80 miles inland. Even if the Navy ship had a secret rail gun, and even if the captain would take an order to fire from a former agent of a government branch that no longer exists (over a walkie-talkie that inexplicably starts working again), how could it hit a moving target from that distance?



9. Sam briefly dies and goes to Robot Heaven. Robot Heaven?!?!

Megan Fox 10. Where does Sam’s bandage come from? What about his extra sock? Why does Sam’s roommate not contribute anything at all? What was the Fallen doing for those thousands of years Megatron was frozen in ice? How does one satellite receive transmissions from everywhere on the planet? Why does Wheelie hump Mikaela’s leg? Why do we have to see John Turturro’s thong? Why are robots who join together to become Devastator also seen fighting the Army at the same time? Why does the government want only our military fighting Decepticons when our weapons seem unable to make so much as a dent on any of them? Why did the ancient Egyptians build a pyramid around the sun-destroying machines instead of just breaking it? Why is the Matrix of Leadership bigger in the Fallen’s hand than in Sam’s? And how do Mikaela’s pants stay so clean?

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My main question is: What’s with the weird egg-sack robot babies? Uh, a little explanation on that weird Van Helsing like scene (sacks full of vampire spawn) would have been helpful.

And a huge pet peeve of mine from both movies is the fact that they mix F-16s with F-22s — magically one will turn into the other. For that matter, what’s with Starscream’s new alien tattoos? He went from a plain F-22 to an easily identifiable unfriendly target — not really the best plan when trying to stay inconspicuous.

F-22                                                                         Starscream (F-22)


Perhaps the most disappointing aspects about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen are the lack of explanation (Decepticons can look like humans, and apparently the robots have been — and some still are — on Earth before, etc), and lack of new Autobots. Sure there are the new Autobots: Sideswipe, Arcee (who became the Arcee sisters: Arcee, Chromia, and ?), and the Twins (which are incredibly annoying and look like a nightmarish cross between a furby and a gremlin) but most are hardly in the movie at all — unfortunately the Twins are front and center.

Overall, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen just wasn’t as good as the first film. Perhaps if they had concentrated more on a storyline and character development rather than just blow up as much stuff as possible the movie might have been better.

Be sure to check out the full article (click the article title above to link to the site) and be sure share your questions/opinions.



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Quantum of Solace

Posted in Reviews on March 25, 2009 by Gryphon08

quantum-of-solaceCritical Review of Quantum of Solace

In the 22nd James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, featuring Daniel Craig in his second performance as James Bond, director Marc Forster chose to pick up the plot line only hours after the death of James Bond’s love, Vesper Lynd, in order to exploit his vengeful emotions.

Marc Forster made a wise decision when he chose Dan Bradley as the film’s second unit director, best known for his work on the Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum, and his gritty action style blends seamlessly with the previous action that began in 2005’s Casino Royale. The action sequences involve sleek, fast cars, speedboats, and airplanes. Is there any vehicle that 007 can’t operate?

The action begins with a car chase in Sienna, Italy, where James Bond, driving and Aston Martin DBS V12 with Mr. White tied up in the trunk, evades the henchmen that peruse him in three Alfa Romeo 159s. Bond fans and autophiles alike will be horrified to learn that six Aston Martins were destroyed during filming.

Bond must then chase M’s (played by the fantastic Judi Dench) M16 traitor bodyguard, Mitchell, across the rooftops of Sienna after he almost kills M and leads to the escape of Mr. White. You can really see Bradley’s style carried over from the Bourne movies as the two leap across buildings and balconies, that is until they both fall through the glass roof of a bell tower. The two then battle it out amid scaffolding, and falling panes of glass. Thanks to some quick thinking and fancy rope work Bond is able to dispatch Mitchell while narrowly avoiding death in true Bond fashion.

A bank account trail left by Mitchell leads Bond to Haiti where a case of mistaken identity introduces him to Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), who leads him straight to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric); a ruthless businessman who owns Green Planet and is conspiring to take control of one of the world’s most important natural resources: water. A theme reminiscent of Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974). Michael G. Wilson put it well when he commented on the plot, “if you control the water you control the whole development of the country. I think it’s true”.

Daniel Craig represents a very different kind of James Bond than viewers have seen before, due in part to Forster’s running theme of emotionally repressed protagonists in several of his films. In perfect contrast, Camille is a breathe of fresh air when it comes to the women portrayed in Bond films. She is not the typical casual love interest. She is strong, independent, and can take care of herself. Forster created her this way because she was the perfect counterpart to Bond, “she openly shows emotions similar to those which Bond experiences but is unable to express,” says Forster.

Perhaps one of Bond’s most impressive battles occurs when he and Camille are flying a Douglas DC-3 when the henchmen arrive flying a Bell UH-1 Iroquois Helicopter and a Aermacchi SF.260, and an aerial battle ensues.

From fighting terrorism in Casino Royal to becoming an environmentalist in Quantum of Solace, James Bond has all of the right moves to impress a diverse audience.

Twilight

Posted in Reviews on March 23, 2009 by Gryphon08

twilight-movie-poster22 November 2008

Critical Review of Twilight

I have been a fan of Stephenie Meyer’s series since her 2005 debut novel, Twilight, and have been looking forward to the possibility of a movie ever since. I (along with hundreds of other fans) breathed a sigh of relief when I heard that Summit Entertainment, not MTV, would be producing Twilight.

I agree with Entertainment Weekly reviewer, Owen Gleiberman, that Summit Entertainment’s choice of director, Catherine Hardwicke, was a sagacious movie indeed. “The youth-quake specialist of Thirteen treats teen confusion without a trace of condescension: She gets their grand passions and prickly defense mechanisms,” Gleiberman stated.

I find great relief in the fact that Twilight was not the train wreck it could have been, but my expectations for the movie were too high and ultimately, I was left disappointed.

Summit stayed true to the basics of the novel due in large part to Hardwicke’s love of the series and her collaboration with author Stephenie Meyer.

The actors were well chosen. Robert Pattinson, who is best known for his role as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), is the embodiment of Meyer’s teenage vampire heartthrob, Edward Cullen. Kristen Stewart, who is best known for her role as Jodie Foster’s daughter in Panic Room (2002), does a nice job of portraying Meyer’s Bella, the delicate, clumsy, pale skinned girl from Arizona. Among the many talents of Twilight, Billy Burke shines as Bella’s father, Police Chief Swan; Gil Birmingham “keeps it real” as Billy Black; Cam Gigandet terrifies as James; Peter Facinelli dazzles as Dr. Carlisle Cullen; and Nikki Reed smolders as Rosalie Hale.

Although Twilight brims with talent, its story line falls flat, albeit the difficulty of turning a 600 page novel into a two hour film. The film does not give the viewer any real sense of time; it seems as though the events taking place cover only the span of a week rather than months. Edward is supposed to be struggling against killing Bella and attempting to stay away from her, but the viewer does not get a real sense of this in the movie. Nor do they get the suspense and build up of the “forbidden” romance between Edward and Bella. A major problem lies in the fact that too much of the movie is consumed by James, his coven, and the battle between him and Edward.

Several fans were disappointed to see many of their favorite sequences in the book cut from the movie. The one that seems to be the most disappointing is the fact that Hardwicke failed to include the blood typing scene in Bella’s biology class.

The documentary style of the film and its excessive use of close-up and revolving camera angles and shots were an odd choice for Twilight. The only time any wide angle or panorama shots are used is during the baseball scene and during the scenery shots of the Pacific Northwest.

Another sore spot and cause of much disappointment is the CGI used to make Edward sparkle. It was absolutely horrible. It looked as though they just pixilated the image of Robert Pattinson. The CGI was only made worse by the faint “sparkly” sound effect used during the scene. However, Summit did a fair job at making the vampires, particularly the nomads, looks as though they were walking rapidly, thanks to the “magic carpet” technique they used. Hopefully the CGI will improve in New Moon Blood and Chocolate (2007). because no one wants to revisit the horrible werewolf phases of

All things considered Summit Entertainment did a good job at capturing the essence of Stephenie Meyer’s novel. The movie faltered in too many ways to mention and was anything but amazing, but many fans will simply enjoy seeing the characters they know and love brought to life on the big screen. Hopefully, Summit can redeem themselves with the next installment in the Twilight franchise, New Moon, which was given the green light November 22, after Twilight raked in $70 million dollars at the box office opening weekend in the United States alone.

*Edit: After viewing Twilight for a second time the lackluster connections between the characters stands out as a prominent sore spot. Hopefully new director Chris Weitz can breathe new life into the second installment of the Twilight Saga, New Moon that is set to release on November 20, 2009.