As I explained to my dad, the amiable Joel Siegel was not an important critic, just a very visible one perhaps best known for unashamedly coming up with catchy reviews that couldn't have been more flattering if they were written by the movie studio's ad department. For years, he was probably the most quoted film critic in the country. Still, a harmless fellow and my sympathies to his family. I'll miss him on the Oscar nomination days (the only time I ever got up early enough to watch the morning news shows).
On to "Transformers." First, a box office prediction: I was shocked at the complete indifference of Yankee fans to this movie. I didn't expect mania but I certainly didn't expect such blase, who cares attitudes towards it either. I never played with the toys or I never watched the show were the usual comments. I'm sure the movie will open big. But Monday's performance of $8.8 mil was barely ahead of Monday's performance for "Ratatouille," which had already been out for a weekend. ("Ratatouille" also had a full day of shows while "Transformers" had just 8 p.m. and on.) It'll open big, but having seen the film I think it will fall hard and fast, after the initial five day tally. It doesn't play very well for any age group, even though the opening night aud applauded a bit at the end.
And the movie itself? Far, far worse than I imagined. I don't know why I had any expectations at all, since director Michael Bay is batting .000 as far as I'm concerned. But the reviews were pretty darn nice, the trailers were very effective and I started to hope that maybe it wouldn't suck. But it did. Shia LaBeouf is fine, but his high school love interest -- Megan Fox -- looks about 25 years old (she's 21) and like a super model. She's so far from a typical, approachable high school teenager (and a girl with a rap sheet, no less) that it's laughable. Spielberg should be held responsible for letting such a major casting choice be so weak. Shia is very realistic and real but his gf is absurdly hot. This trend continues in crowd scene after crowd scene where we keep getting distracted during moments of pandemonium by hot chicks. How about some normal people? Even more idiotic is the moment where the various robots (or whatever) are battling it out and tearing up a city and people are fleeing everywhere when Shia accidentally falls onto a car. The chick driving it complains that he dented it and suddently her wheel comes alive and eats her. Why was she worried about a dent anyway? Entire buildings are exploding around her and people are screaming in sheer terror. Would she really care about a dent?
A minor detail but indicative of a film that is completely idiotic. We waste a huge amount of time with a subplot about a team of young analysts (including a super hot Aussie chick) who are brought in to analyze a signal. She steals info to take it to her comic relief black friend who is even smarter than them all and gets arrested and becomes the Secretary of War's adviser...and never, ever makes one real breakthrough or provides any help at all until finally at the end when she rigs up an SOS system to get out a message, apparently to giver her at least ONE heroic moment and a reason for being in the film.
The action scenes are typically chaotic and dull, since Michael Bay is incapable of shooting an action scene where you can actually follow the action. Even worse are the comic scenes geared towards eight year olds (like the scene where the autobots (or whatever) are hiding in the yard from Shia's parents.
Josh Duhamel starts shouting out orders at one point. Shia is given the precious Cube that could save or destroy mankind with Autobots protecting him...instead of the Autobots simply taking the Cube themselves, since they are quite a big faster and stronger than him. It's completely illogical, stupid, laughably cliched and ham-fisted. We're told numerous times that humans are a young race but the Autobots see some potential for good in us. Not if we keep turning out summer movies like this one.