I remember being quite heavily into these characters when I was a kid. I especially liked the comics and the animated TV series. However I don’t recall being that fussed by the movie and don’t even think I saw them all (were there three in total?). Yet a friend recently recommended this reboot and so I thought I’d give it a go.
Transformers’ Megan Fox plays plucky reporter April O’Neil who is hungry for a story that will further her career. One night she stumbles upon the latest criminal activities of The Foot Clan just as they are stopped in their tracks by a mysterious vigilante. Thinking this may be her chance April decides to track down the vigilante for herself in hopes of impressing her boss Whoopie Goldberg.
Coming from Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes this feels and looks very much like Transformers, and that’s good or bad depending on your liking of that franchise (think garish high contrast cinematography and lots of things going boom). Personally I loved the first one and this origin tale is perfectly entertaining and packed with well executed action and heaps of style. The Turtles themselves are brilliantly realised, full of personality and although entirely CGI, it’s good CGI so that’s ok. Fox also proves a little bit more than just eye candy even if her comedy sidekick / potential love interest pervs over her more than is strictly necessary. Alas, the movie’s villains are very basic and not really all that interesting or particularly explored – they’re just evil and power hungry and their big plan is nothing even remotely new. It’s also very predictable, in way too much of a rush to get to it’s conclusion and at times rather silly.
I enjoyed myself however and it’s difficult to get too bogged down with it’s cliches or redundant plotting when it all looks good and has enough one liners, site gags and quality action (with great use of slow-mo) to leave your brain happily on auto-pilot.
GuillermoDel Toro is one of my favourite directors. Responsible for such instant classics as Pans Labyrinth and Hellboy 2 … he was personally chosen by director Peter Jackson to helm the Hobbit movies. Sadly production delays forced the Mexican born visionary to jump ship … and instead he has been working on this… lets call it Transformers meets Avatar meets The Abyss.
It was a good year for the summer blockbuster – what with the showmanship of Transformers or the intelligence of Bourne Ultimatum – and sequels didn’t fair too bad either, even if not quite matching their illustrious heritage; namley Die Hard 4.0 going all computer-hacker on us, and Spiderman 3 basically giving us Spiderman 4 & 5 in the same movie – gulp. I also have a soft spot for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer – but whether I’ll bother to buy it I don’t know.
Having sat down and watched three of my favourites newly released on dvd in admirable packages, I have found myself both enjoying Spidy & Die Hard more than in the cinema, now that I knew what I was getting, and still coming away thinking Transformers is sheer class (watch out for it in this years definitive Top Ten…coming imminently.). Now what some knockers of these films can often forget, is that well, they are made to make tons of money, its all about the adreneline and the special effects – we’re not looking to spend a cinema outing in the company of a summer blockbuster, for meaningful story or a complex script (Bourne Ultimatum, take note here…) – we want to be entertained, and this year I have been entertained immensly. Yeah I was a bit disappointed by Spidy, but it still packs in some great moments and has jaw-dropping effects. So what if Transformers is at some points a little cheesy – for christs sake, its a movie inspired by kids toys! And really, John McLaine’s latest fight against the terrorists was always going to be a case of been there, done that, but with technology being the enemy this time, at least the film makers tried to bring the franchise up to date.
So this Christmas, I recommend if you didn’t see any or one of these during their cinema release (and even if you did) -seek them out and enjoy with the family. You won’t be disappointed.
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