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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen June 29, 2009

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Guys….what’s with all the Bay-bashing!!! I seriously fail to understand why Michael Bay is assumed to be the edifice on which American Cinema stands. Poor guy just makes his own brand of porn which not surprisingly has a large number of takers – what’s the big deal!

Coming to the movie itself, I must admit I didn’t really enjoy the previous installment as much I as might I have wanted to – the main reason (pretty much the same for everyone else) being the incomprehensible action sequences between the Bots. Revenge of the Fallen doesn’t improve much on that count but paradoxically was more enjoyable since I knew what to expect. To put it very simply, the sequel literally provides “more bang for your buck” when compared to the first one – and nothing else. In recent days, there was a lot written about the scenes shot in the native IMAX format. Most of it is hyperbole – first of all there are just about 6-7 minutes of such footage but since most of the film comprises of similar mayhem, there isn’t anything memorable here. I also felt that the regular IMAX up-conversion work was a little patchy. So, there is nothing you’d lose if you don’t check this one out on an IMAX screen.

Most folks from the previous film are back – John Turturro was a nice surprise though. Michael Bay can never be faulted for the amazing visual effects he employs – even if they don’t have the intended impact on the viewer. After watching the first Transformers movie, I neither had the idea that a sequel was coming nor did I want one to transpire. Though I enjoyed this film too, I would prefer to see Bay stick to making more traditional action explosion flicks.

Unless you are an inveterate member of the Michael Bay Hate Club you would want to watch this one. If it interests you (and as you might know if you have been following stuff about this movie) you do get to see “Nigger robots who can’t read”, “Decepticon testicles” and a “robot humping Megan Fox’s leg”.

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull May 25, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford team up once again to bring us another adventure in the life of Henry Jones Jr. This time he is old. The year is 1957. The KGB is involved. A crystal skull with mysterious powers is in the middle of things. The genre-defining formula is firmly in place. The action is thrilling. The humor matches expectations. This escapist adventure is an enjoyable ride that isn’t far off from its predecessors.

Harrison Ford gets a chance to have some fun again at his age and he takes it with both hands. Karen Allen has been the best female performer of the series by far and she still has the same spark. On the other hand, Cate Blanchett is terribly miscast and sticks out like a sore thumb. The surprise for me is Shia LaBeouf. I didn’t mind him in Disturbia and Transformers but here, he is quite impressive as Mutt Williams. John Williams’ score also plays its part in elevating the thrills.

After watching this film, there was one thought that kept coming back to me. There is one primary difference between the Indy films and others in the genre. That difference is Steven Spielberg. There are three things that define this series for me – the thrills, the humor and the pace. Spielberg and his team do a masterful job of executing the thrills while maintaining the rapid pace and keeping the audience entertained. Whether you like the movie or not, you have to praise these guys because it is quite difficult to achieve this (and not many films can match this quality).

In my mind, the plot has never been a strong point in the series and it still isn’t. The supernatural/paranormal/spiritual/occult aspects of the plot have defined the series, so don’t expect it to get realistic now. When I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, I was extremely unhappy with the climax. And then there was human sacrifice, pulling the heart out of a human being and eating monkey brains in Temple of Doom. Some aspects of these films can bring down your final evaluation of them but they are still very entertaining and this one is also like that. Without spoiling it for you, I will say that one of the early rumors about the plot is true.

If you’ve enjoyed the first three films, you should like this as well (unless you’ve had enough of the formula and don’t care to see it repeated). Expect to have fun and you should be thoroughly satisfied. Burden this film with high expectations or comparisons and the experience will not be as good.

P.S. I wouldn’t mind another film in the series as long as Spielberg helms it.

Transformers October 22, 2007

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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2 comments

If you walk into the theatre without knowing that this is a Michael Bay film then you can write a tirade about all that is wrong with this flick. The rest (like me) simply shut their minds, sit back and enjoy the action.

Based on the “Transformers” movies/comics/toys which were quite popular during the eighties (and which I have no clue about), this live action feature is about the war between the Autobots (the good robots) and Decepticons (the bad ones..of course) for a certain cube (something like the ring in LOTR) which is currently lodged in the earth somewhere. The path to this cube is in possession of our regular Hollywood “chosen one” Sam (Shia LaBeouf) who owns his great grandfather’s spectacles which has the map to the cube imprinted on it. And then begins the relentless action.

It would be a gross understatement to say that the visual effects are magnificient. On the flipside, there is so much of action that one fails to appreciate the brilliance of individual sequences. Bay leaves no stone unturned in ensuring this flick to be a blockbuster…especially given that his previous flick The Island was a colossal disaster.

The whole crew seems to have been working full time on the CGI and hence the writing part seems to have been handled by an 8 year old kid. The dialogue is unpretentiously bad. For instance, you lose count of the number of times you hear this phrase – “It’s a matter of national security. People could lose their lives here!” Also, this film is high on action but absoulutely low on thrills. So, it kind of fell a bit short of my expections from what I had seen in the trailers.

Among the cast only Shia LaBeouf stands out. He is quite fun to watch and this film consolidates his reputation as the one of the most promising young stars today. The female cast (Megan Fox and Rachel Taylor) just have to look dumb and hot.

Despite all its imperfections this one is still a must-watch simply for the visuals. What I saw was a limited release IMAX version which apparently has about 10 minutes of additional footage. So, check this out in an IMAX if possible for a better experience.