There’s been plenty of chatter on the TripleDoubleU regarding the new Travesty Transformers movie. I’ve not only made a slight mention here on this site, but I’ve voiced my opinion on Topless Robot’s threads as well. The big debacle over the films many weaknesses boils down to this question:
Who’s fault is it?
As I’ve detailed above, depending upon the director, crap can transform into dysentary (see: pic above) or crap can screen flair (see: Star Trek). In Hollywood, screenwriters have little to do with the final film, if anything with the process at all. Haven’t you ever heard the blonde joke about the wannabe starlet sleeping with the writer? Steve Martin even made light of this fact in his underrated Bowfinger.
Go-to-writers-du-jour Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are a lot like this candy-dispensing product:
Together, they’ve written the following films:
The Legend of Zorro
Mission: Impossible III
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
And like that candy dispenser, each one is a jellybean that in retrospect reminds us of bovine dung.
Here’s the breakdown of each attempt at writing:
The Island was a rip-off of three 70’s sci-fi films (Logan’s Run, Parts: The Clonus Horror, and THX-1138), and it was directed by Michael Bay. It was partly filmed in Detroit, and you can see a painted portrait of Steve Yzerman in the background at one point (plus Scarlett Johanssonthroughout), so to not be a complete hater – this flick is tolerable. But only for those reasons. Seriously, catch the older (schlocky) trio of sci-fi “classics” then watch The Island. Bay and the Boys borrowed quickly and liberally.
Does anybody remember the Zorro sequel? *crickets*crickets*
Mission: Impossible IIIwas competent (I still like the first one best). Although he was kind of douchey when he directed the episode of Jimmy Kimmel he was on, JJ Abrams handled this film well enough. I still believe the sequence where Tom Cruise chased the “Rabbit’s Foot” through the streets of Shanghai could have been longer, and Philip Seymour Hoffman could have been given more scenes to chew on (plus more Maggie Q). Mission: Decently Distracted.
Transformers was the second re-teaming of the screenwriters and Bay. It’s been said that producer Steven Spielberg placed emphasis on the fact that the film was ultimately about a boy and his alien (car). And after five hours of CGI robot action, the first hour of the first film is still best. Although, I do like seeing the Detroit landmarks in the final battle, so this film was also okay in my book, despite the lack of common sense and clearly defined action scenes. Moral of the story: if Bay films in the Motor City, my criticism dwindles. Moral of another story: Spielberg’s kind of losing his touch, eh?
Star Trek, also directed by JJ, was solid, but not perfect. The origin story introduced some neat twists and surprises, but Kirk with puffy hands?! Scotty going through water pipes?! A tad amateurish (and the fault of the writers, I’d suspect).
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the Third Turd of Bay and the Boys, was rushed to production. They didn’t get anytime for a rewrite, and it sadly shows. Sure, Bay might have made a lot of poor decisions (robot crying, robot humping, robot minstrels, robot balls), but the script’s plot made little sense. (Why would the Prime’s have to sacrifice to hide the Matrix of Leadership instead of killing the Fallen? Why would they hide it on Earth? See the Topless Robot link above.)
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: if JJ Abrams made Transformers, imagine how “cool” it would be. Then imagine if Michael Bay made Star Trek… (It’s like that ending speech in A Time to Kill…)
Perhaps Orci and Kurtzman aren’t the worst screenwriters on the planet, but they need to branch out a bit more to tell for sure.
(FINAL NOTE: JJ worked on the script for Bay’s Armageddon. It was a fun ride that went on too long and pulled way too hard at the heart strings. Srsly, how many things could possibly go wrong in trying to get off a space rock? Apparently, everything. More importantly: how was Armageddon a film in the Criterion Collection?!)