JusWondering… Are Orci And Kurtzman Running A Pyramid Scheme?

Devastatoring

Great Pyramid? How about Mediocre instead...

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:

Have a cow... pie, man!
Have a cow… pie, man!

Together, they’ve written the following films:

  • The Island
  • The Legend of Zorro
  • Mission: Impossible III
  • Transformers
  • Star Trek
  • 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 IslandBay 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?!)

Uncle Sean’s Story Time… Neither Optimal, Nor Primal

Gather ’round, gather ’round, kiddies… it’s time for another one of Uncle Sean’s drunk stories… this one is about a Halloween party where I learned a hard life lesson…

I consider myself a cardboard specialist.  Sort of a masterboarder, if you will.  Two examples:

I helped them forge Duck-Duck-Goose

Get it? Duck-Duck-Goose! Ah, go duck yourself.

I ain't afraid of no... OMG! Is that orb a ghost?!

I ain't afraid of no--OMG! Is that orb a ghost?!

Your Aunt Tammie and Uncle Will wanted something simple, cheap, and quick a few Halloween’s back.  She came up with the concept; I came up with the design.

A Halloween or two prior to that, I studied my “Ghostbusters” accessories, and mocked up a poor man’s version (a.k.a. child’s version) of their Proton Pack to go along with my tan jumpsuit and patches.

My talent first revealed itself to me a Halloween or two prior to that one.  (There was one party in the middle where I grew out my beard and hair and went as Tom Hanks in “Cast Away.”  I was going to follow-up as Robert Duvall in “THX 1138” the next year by shaving my head, but I went on vacation instead.  As if you cared.)

The event that birthed my boardery occurred at a private gathering in the basement of a hall.  Upstairs, a wedding reception was held, and upon walking through the front doors of the hall, the groom exclaimed, “Optimus Prime!”

Michael Bay, eat your heart out.

Michael Bay, eat your heart out.

 He didn’t yell to Uncle Jay, “Starscream!”  He yelled the character I was playing.  (Although he did also shout “Dogma!” when he saw Uncle Chris dressed as Matt Damon in the film – he was a wingless angel in armor.  Nerd!)

Later in the night, prior to the police arriving to break up the Halloweed festivities, a group of us would eventually make our way back up to the reception to seek out more alcohol.  There’s video somewhere out there of Optimus Prime and Starscream dancing with the bride and bridesmaids.  But that’s not what this tale’s about.

Despite the fact that Jay and I won Best Couple (again, before that whole cop crackdown thing), there was a bitter Energon cube I was forced to swallow.  While talking to a pair of G.I. Janes, my good old buddy was getting all the attention.  I blew up.  “I’m the leader of the Autobots,” I began.  “Starscream doesn’t lead anything.  In fact all he does is whine to Megatron.  It’s his wingspan, isn’t it?  It’s always about the wingspan.  Don’t lie and tell me differently.”

Thank Cybertron the boys in blue cancelled the show.

MORAL OF THE STORY: No matter what you do, no matter how much you accomplish in life, girls always love the bad boys.