Here's our first look at Alice, the co-ed with a secret, in Transformers 2. After a whole summer of wannabe Michael Bay films, we're finally going to get the work of Bay himself. It'll be ludicrous, fiery, splodey, car-crazy and slapsticky. In short, the perfect film. Spoilers and pics below.
I never expected to be saying this, but I'm actually sort of eager to see Transformers: Revenge OF the Fallen. I actually liked the first one, which was a fun, silly romp as long as you took it on its own terms. But I held fairly low expectations for TF2, whose script Michael Bay allegedly worked on during the writers' strike. It's like the first one, only sequel-ier. So I wasn't that pumped.
But the more I've seen of the summer's other movie offerings, the more they've felt like Michael Bay foreplay. (Bayplay?) I'm being teased by faux Bays.
The mark of the Bay-manqué is the explosion as mission statement: every movie I've seen lately, pretty much, has had like two or three really amazing action set-pieces, and then nothing else going on. Knowing? There was the plane crash and the train crash, and some stuff going boom towards the end, and the rest of the movie was just Nic Cage emoting with his forehead. Wolverine? There was the awesome African strongman-pwnage, the helicopter-motorcycle-truck dance, and some fun super-fighting towards the end, and the rest was all jaw-acting. Terminator had a couple of helicopter smashing bits, the truck-motorcycle-hunter-killer dance, and the rest was people shouting. And so on.
I was thinking to myself the other day, the thing these movies all had in common is that they had a few really killer action bits, which obviously consumed most of the director's attention, and probably most of the budget as well. And those bits get heavily featured in the trailers, so we'll think the whole movie is like that. And I was thinking, maybe in five years, the whole movie will be like that. They'll make CG effects cheap enough, or they'll be clever enough, to have the whole movie be just trucks and helicopters and motorcycles and maybe guitars smashing into each other and going BWATHOOM!. And then I thought, who would be able to make a movie like that? Pretty much only Michael Bay.
In Transformers 2, there will be crazy explosions. People will possibly be peed on. There will be sexy chicks, some of whom — spoiler alert — will turn out to be robots in disguise, with tentacles. (Including the one above.) Airplane carriers will be tossed like bath toys. What's not to love?
Just look at these ridiculous stills from the film, which positively scream Baynia:
But also, there's another factor at work. I've noticed something about our recent crop of movies: they divide into two categories, fun and ohmygodthepainwhy. In the first category, you have films like Star Trek, which may have the occasional serious moments but are basically just a fun ride with good guys defeating bad guys and exhibiting some smidgen of personal growth along the way. In the latter category, there are movies like Terminator 4 and (yes, I'll say it) Watchmen. Even Wolverine seemed to be trying too hard to be taken seriously.
This year, the fun movies have seemed better than the movies that have groped for gravitas in the dark. Maybe that's because I'm willing to give more of a free pass to movies that just want to be a fun ride, and I'm harsher on movies that demand to be viewed as something grander. Or maybe it's just because this year's crop of dark, serious films hasn't been that interesting? Last year, The Dark Knight was possibly the year's most fascinating movie, and Iron Man had some real darkness among the hijinks. But I haven't been feeling the weighty science fiction films of 2009 so far — maybe it's the recession, maybe it's the writers' strike, maybe it's just randomness.
Whatever the reason, I'm enjoying fun fluff more than weighty journeys into the darkness of the human soul lately. And I'm actually feeling a bit pumped for another helping of giant smashing robots with urinary incontinence. Including an ice-cream truck robot and a pink lady motorcycle robot (whom Bay kills off because hates lady robots, bah) and a bunch of robots representing new car models that you probably won't ever be able to buy because the auto industry is being eaten by Decepticons. And Shia LaBoeuf gets tortured, although probably not enough.
And of course, it's written by the Star Trek scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (plus Bram Stoker nominee Ehren Kruger, and whatever demented scribblings Bay did while Orci and Kurtzman were on strike.) I'm cutting Orci and Kurtzman a lot of slack right now.
Plus, Michael Bay blows up the pyramids! The actual pyramids, in Egypt! He's destroying our precious cultural heritage for our momentary amusement! How could there possibly be anything wrong with that?
But seriously, I'm actually kind of excited for Transformers 2, and every time I walk out of a movie that feels like an inferior Bay knockoff, I get a little bit more Transformed by excitement.