"Aborting My Inner Child"

So I huffed a bunch of nitrous and listened to Dark Side of the Moon this weekend.  Whoops.  Wrong blog.

So I huffed a bunch of nitrous and saw “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” this weekend.  Can you really blame me?  I know I speak for myself and the rest of you true Beliebers in expressing my disappointment over this year’s Summerfest lineup, so what better way to protest than helping to buy Michael Bay’s next stretch Hummer?

On Friday, I actually re-watched “Revenge of the Fallen.”  Yes, I’m aware that implies I had already seen it.  I can safely say that it still gargles balls.  There was something about a forgotten Decepticon robot with plans to destroy the human race by sapping the sun of its energy using blah, blah, blah.  The gist is that Louis Stevens and his Autobot pals needed to stop the end of the world.  Now the simplified plot isn’t to suggest “Revenge of the Fallen” is without its merits.  The special effects remain every bit as impressive, and they even managed to improve the dialogue over its predecessor.  Some highlights:

“BUMBLEBEEEEEE!!!”
“OPTIMUUUUUUUS!!!”
“SAAAAAAAAM, LOOK OUT!”

These are the same dudes who wrote “Star Trek?”  As I sat in the theater the following day, the opening titles rolled and I happened to notice the “In Association With Hasbro” credit.  That’s Hasbro.  As in the toy company.  Now in all fairness, the Transformers franchise was a toy line before a movie, so I can’t fault a theater full of grown men for that.  Right?  Still, I have to wonder if the success of fighting robots isn’t in part responsible for the slew of 80s nostalgia coming soon to a theater near you.  Hollywood isn’t just pillaging shitty tween vampire novels for ideas anymore.  Once you consider that all the cool superheroes have clearly been taken, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that producers are looking to start film franchises by resurrecting cartoons like He-Man and Voltron.  If you don’t already see the slippery slope in this, look up Ridley Scott’s “Monopoly” movie that’s in the works.

“Pardon me, Mr. Scott, but it looks like you could use this.”

Don’t forget there’s a “Battleship” movie set to come out next year already, and I can only imagine the tag line: “Sinking Your Hopes This Summer.”  Studios are snatching these things up fast.  I just hope it’s not too late to shop around my Rubiks Cube screenplay: a jumbled, LSD-fueled detective story told from six different… sides.  Imagine a mix of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Saw II.”

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first.  “Dark of the Moon” is essentially the same movie you’ve already seen twice with some new toy- I mean robots thrown in.  Following a sequence where an Autobot ship is linked to the American/Soviet space race and Michael Bay takes a leak on one of the greatest human achievements of the last century, Shia and friends have to save the world from the Decepticons… umm again.  Now I honestly can’t be-liebe I’m saying this, but Megan Fox should’ve been in this.  I’m not sure what a “Rosie Huntington-Whiteley” is, but it cannot act.  Of course I realize she’s only there to purse her lips and make her bottom available for as many slow tilts as “Michael” calls for, but this one makes Kristen Stewart look like Meryl Streep.

You disgust me.

The real travesty here is that after using up two films to make such a fuss over Sam and Michaela’s relationship, they completely write her out of this one.  God, why am I acknowledging these people as legitimate characters?  I guess Michaela just dumps Sam, who then becomes relegated to the lowly position of boy toy for this wealthy, British ambassador, Carly.  No, I don’t know why she’s British.

“SAAAAAAAAM, LEWK OUT!”

Out of curiosity, is “boy toy” a real job?  If so, where do I apply for the position?  I feel I’m pretty well qualified.  I can straddle the charming/rugged line.  I can rock the half-shaven pseudo beard.

I’ll still applaud Mr. Bay for mixing things up a bit this time around.  The battlefield even shifts from Egypt to the exotic locale of Chicago.  Illinois.  Not to give too much away, but the Windy City gets totaled.  It’s kind of a bummer, but on the plus side I’m pretty sure U.S. Cellular Field got leveled at some point during all that fighting.  There’s also an emotional crux to the story this time.  Well, parts of one, but hey that’s still an improvement.  So if you’ve ever wanted to see a teary-eyed man-boy fight off the urge to hug a robot, get your butt to the theater ASAP.  Or just wait until October for some “Real Steel.”

“I don’t suppose there’s any chance of a ‘Prestige’ sequel?”
I wonder what kind of a bet Hugh Jackman lost.  I realize I’m not making any groundbreaking statement here, but it baffles me that what is essentially a kid’s film for men can rake in so much cash at the box office.  “Dark of the Moon” currently has the biggest opening weekend of the year thus far,  and I might have been the only one of my friends to go see it.  In their defense, I can see how fulfilling the most basic male fantasies might get old after three movies:
  1. Car chases?  Check.
  2. Explosions?  Check.
  3. T & A?  Check.  Check.
  4. Ludicrous Military Lingo?  Check.

Look at some of this stuff:

“Operation Predator is now in effect.”
“Let’s thread the needle.”
“We need to move quick on this before it goes hot.”  “Sir, it just got hotter.”

Who talks like that?  That reads like a transcript from a bunch of 30 year-olds planning out paintball tactics.  I wonder if Michael Bay makes his entire production crew talk like that at all times while on set:

“Alright, where’s my DP?  Amir, we got cams rollin?”
“Cams are a lock, sir.  We’re rollin hot here.”
“Roger that.  Alright, people.  Operation Toilet Tank is now in effect.  Action!”

Okay, I’ll admit it.  When I first saw “Transformers” back in 2007, it was pretty awesome.  The explosions, special effects, and Megan Fox’s engine repair techniques pretty much hit it on the head for my testosterone-fueled high school self.  Yes, that was four years ago, when I knew very little about filmmaking or what real women actually looked like, so I like to think I’ve grown since then, even if I did illegally download the thing to my hard drive.  But as I sat there in the movie theater, watching a giant Decepticon snake destroy the Chicago skyline, something unexpected happened.  I yawned.

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