Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Shia La Beouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Peter Cullen (voice), Hugo Weaving (voice), Rachael Taylor, Anthony Anderson, Jon Voight, Kevin Dunn, Julie White
Written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Review: This movie was a pleasant surprise how good it was. Michael Bay was never a director known for subtlety, was also not known for being that good a director. Of all his films, perhaps the best was The Rock. The rest was just overproduced melodrama. He knows his way around special effects, to be sure, but the ham handed way which he handles actors rivals even George Lucas. The key to success in this film was the casting. In particular, Shia LaBeouf. His natural talent for vocal and physical acting is unparalleled. Without him, Sam Witwicky would not have worked, hence, the movie. Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson excel as the military presence, if their roles are somewhat limited, comedically. The writing of the film is above average for an action film, well above the average Michael Bay film. Megan Fox does her job, by looking good. Taylor manages to do this and be brilliant as well. Turturro’s talent is wasted in this film, unless you take into effect the development of the character in the second film, where there is more of a payoff. The rest of the cast is quite standard. The voice work of Cullen and Weaving is good, but the development of Bumblebee as a character is among the better aspects of the film version over the original. Wisely, the makers knew that only by making Bumblebee more modern and more childlike would they appeal more to younger viewers. The effect works on the older ones as well.
Best Sequence – The freeway fight was glorious, if brief. There is more going on at the end, but seeing Prime face something so heinous looking as Bonecrusher at full speed in slo-mo kicks ass.
Worst Sequence – The scene outside of Sam’s house at night is wholly unbelievable and goes on forever. Like no one would notice the ground rumbling enough to look outside?
Rating – ****
Director Michael Bay
Starring Shia La Beouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Peter Cullen (voice), Hugo Weaving (voice), Ramón Rodríguez, Tony Todd, Kevin Dunn, Julie White
Written by Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Review: Much maligned sequel actually is more watchable than the first film, if harder to follow. Sam’s parents start with some great improvisational acting by Sam’s parents. It manages to be quite entertaining without needing special effects. Shia is a little more serious in this film, but he has some wonderful physically commanding comic performances which outshine any of the work in the first film. Megan Fox is almost a non-entity this time around, relegated to just holding the Shia’s hands and glistening in the light. If the film is guilty of anything, it is that there is perhaps too much going on with the plot. Too many MaGuffins to count and the action scenes are so numerous, it is actually quite hard to follow at times. Tuturro makes up for much in the first film, and the task force team of Duhamel and Gibson are more well-rounded this time, dealing much punishment to a hapless pentagon employee. One of my favorite additions to the film, Skids and Mudflap, got director Bay much flak for being perceived as racial stereotypes. They aren’t, but there will always be those who, in a world where Snoop Dogg is an enduring iconic caricature, search for reasons to be offended. What they are, however, is funny. One of the more interesting facts about the two films is Glen Morshower, who dies as Colonel Sharpe in the first film and shows up in the second film as none other as General Morshower.
Best Sequence – Two. The fight in the woods that leads to Optimus’ temporary demise and Bumblebee save’s Sam from Rampage and Ravage. The fights are pure ballet, in the most violent way.
Worst Sequence – The chick Decepticon, which was really just a Terminator. And Bay says that Terminator: Salvation steals from him. For shame. Also, Megan Fox’s leg being humped by a Decepticon. Precious.
Rating – ***
Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, John Turturro, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Patrick Dempsey, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, Peter Cullen (voice), Hugo Weaving (voice), Leonard Nimoy (voice), Alan Tudyk
Written by Ehren Krueger
Review – Available here
Best Sequence – Shooting out the eyes, the humans, lead by Duhamel, use some common sense against the Decepticons, for once and take a few out in rapid fashion.
Worst Sequence – Weak, downtrodden Megatron, taunted by a human with nothing better to do in a massive battle, into going after the apparent winner of the big fight. If you can believe it, he doesn’t kill the human just for the hell of it.
Rating – **