Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's This! A Double Movie Review?!

I know. Kerry, here to talk about two movies?! What kind of insane worlds have collided that I've gone to the theaters twice in one week? Well, fate just happened to be kind and align circumstances together to allow these things to happen, regardless of the fact that I'm broke. :) So! Be ready for my two spoiler-free reviews!

Transformers - Dark of the Moon
(nuh uh promotional poster, it came out June 29...)

Yes, the newest, and final, Bayformers movie. The thing with these movies... *sigh* I enjoyed the first one. It had it's flaws, but overall a movie that made me feel overjoyed at the sight of my childhood put into an elaborate action movie. The second one... >.> It is sitting on my dvd shelf, but I really can't say I liked it very much at all. And because of my feelings for RotF, from minute one I have been negative towards the third installment. The the trailer came out. I found myself saying "Wow, that actually looks pretty badass. But I don't want to like it. Don't make me." Thanks to a work perk, I was able to see it Tuesday night for free, as part of a retail training. And here we go.
I liked it. :-O I'm not saying it didn't have it's problems, but unlike RotF they didn't distract me from the whole of the movie. This is what I would like to dub the fun action movie of the summer. So here we have it. A Cybertronian space craft escapes the escalating war that destroyed their home world, and crashes on Earth's moon in the 60s. This incident is what fuels America's desire to put a man on the moon. One of the fuel sales from the craft, known as the Ark (holler back to the original show! ^.^) is uncovered by Optimus Prime during a mission (oh, yeah, they work with the military now and stuff). Obviously, he is quite upset that this discovery was kept secret from them, and sets out to get the rest of them and revive his mentor, Sentinel Prime, before the Decepticons beat them to it.
On the flip side, you have Sam Witwicky. He is out of college and on the miserable hunt for a job. And he has a new girlfriend. I rejoiced at the end of Megan Fox. This newbie's name is Carly, played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Victoria's Secret model). The mandatory eye candy is still there, but it was VERY refreshing having this new face. And regardless of what some people are determined to say, Rosie did quite a good job with the role, in my eyes. Especially since this is her first role in anything. Definitely did better than MFox. Though...a cardboard cutout of MFox could've done better than the real MFox...
Hi jinks ensue, Megatron is essentially a beaten-up hobo, the government refuses to acknowledge that they need Sam's help with shit starts to go down...which of course bites them in the ass very very hard later on. The plot revolves around the Decepticons wanting to revive Cybertron and controlling all of Earth (and thanks to the reminder from Richard over at Planned Banter, is a reference to The Ultimate Doom story line from gen 1). It, like the other movies, has holes, and is quite bizarre at times. But at this point, pretty much anything goes with Michael Bay. The action sequences are AMAZING. Breathtaking, in some points, due to how it looks, and the intensity that is portrayed. Shockwave was a definite favorite for me. I don't know what about him made me fangirl so much, but his design was amazing, and seeing him snake through a tear up a building in Chicago made my jaw drop.
Look at him go! I LOVE IT!

Some of the actors in it really made the movie for me. Leonard Nimoy voices Sentinel Prime, and gets his obligatory Star Trek references. Some minor characters were cast with the lovely faces of Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, and Alan Tudyk. All played great roles and made me so darn happy.
Now, this movie does have its' issues. As I mentioned already, the plot and some scenes have consistency issues they didn't take care of in editing. But whatever. Bay still never got the personalities of some of the Transformers right. Optimus was now a hell of a lot more badass, but also psychotic. "We kill them all." Hilarious. The biggest thing, really, was the ending. It just...stopped. The last 5 minutes of the film made me go WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. And not in a good way. To have so much intense shit going down, and what was probably an hour of explosions and the utter destruction of Chicago, it's like they were just "Well, nothing else to blow up, let's end and go home!"
All that aside, I was pleasantly surprised by Dark of the Moon. It is something I will pick up on blu-ray, and enjoy more than once. It was what Revenge of the Fallen should have been. A fun excuse to have many robots and tons of explosions with a good Transformers plot. Michael Bay ended this trilogy on a high note, but thankfully is the end of an era.

Cars 2
The Cars franchise has generated an estimated $5 billion through merchandise, the highest any Pixar movie has ever gained. Surprising when I first heard this, but made sense. Cars. Hot Wheels! The only contender I could see if having is Toy Story. After all....TOYS. But no, it blew Toy Story out of the water.
Regardless of that fact, Cars seems to be one of the more unpopular Pixar movies that have been made. People just...don't like it. I know this partially because I actually used to be one of these people. The first time I watched the original Cars, I fell asleep during it. But once I sat down to it again, I really enjoyed myself.
Cars 2 has a completely different feel from the first one. Cars was light-hearted and nostalgic. The good old days of Route 66. It had a slower feel to it that I believe in the eyes of some people was one of its' turn offs. Cars 2 throws you RIGHT in the action. There are explosions. Yes, explosions. And guns! Seriously! It's more in the now and has a lot to do with an alternative oil option that's a more green option than diesel gas. A car by the name of Miles Axelrod (voiced by Eddie Izzard), creates this green fuel, and announces a racing series called the "World Grand Prix" as a means to promote it, where all the combatants use this biofuel, Allinol. On the flip side, a group of older cars form a group that is led by a mysterious mastermind who owns the largest untapped oil reservoir in the world. They plot to sabotage the races to make Allinol look unsafe, so people would depend heavily on these reserves.
The main character of the movie is Mater, the less-than-bright tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy. So...if you didn't like that character in the first movie, I can almost guarantee that you won't enjoy this one. I think Mater's just too funny, so it didn't bother me. Michael Caine voiced the car that ends up being his counterpart, a British spy trying to uncover the plot against the Grand Prix, so having the two ends of the spectrum like that was pretty funny. He misakes Mater for an American spy that houses intelligence that's key to their investigation, and gets pulled into all sorts of trouble because of it.
Cars 2 is Pixar's worst reviewed feature film to date, with an average score of 5/10. The consensus has seemed to be that it's as visually appealing as any other Pixar movie, but all the dazzle can't disguise its' rusty storytelling. I tend to disagree. It is another FUN summer movie with a decent plot. It's very entertaining, and has a much different feel than the first one. Maybe having Mater as the main character hurt the movie in the eyes of people. But I just didn't feel that way.
Oh Mater... You're so silly

Both of these films are available to watch in 3D, of course. I saw neither of them in this format. The word out there is that Transformers is not worth it, and I haven't heard for Cars. I was highly entertained by both these movies, and am sure both blu-rays will be sitting on my shelf soon after their home release.
Thank you for reading my ramblings about these movies! And feel free to post a comment and shoot an email our way, letting me know how you liked either of these movies, and also what you thought of my reviews of them!

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Matt Seckman said...

Great review Kerry. You've almost convinced me to watch the 3rd Transformers movie...Almost. I'm excited to see Cars 2 though. ^_^

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