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Post Posted: June 28th 2011 11:50 pm
 
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Transformers III • Dark Of The Moon • Spoilers

Just got back from the 3D screening of Dark of the Moon. I think I need a night's sleep to fully process my thoughts but here are some quick hitters:

- Flat out, it's a more palatable version of Revenge of the Fallen. It has plenty of the same shortcomings but the spectacle is ratcheted up about 1000 times. I don't think I've ever seen relentless action like this.

- If this was Michael Bay and his creative team's best effort to make a great film then these guys really can't craft a cohesive narrative to save their children's lives.

- I'm convinced Steven Spielberg had more to do with the first film's success AS A MOVIE than did Michael Bay. There's an old saying down in Tennessee that goes like this: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice - well - you just can't fool me again. Maybe I was teased by the potential greatness of this franchise after TF1, but Bay instead took TF in a direction that asked me to turn my brain off entirely. Action for the sake of action I can enjoy. This wasn't the universe TF1 promised though and for that these two sequels were nothing short of disastrously disappointing. If you couldn't see the Spielbergian influence all over TF1 and the sense of wonder that came along with it then I guess ROTF and DOTM will sit just fine with you.

- See it in 3D. Some of the sequences are mind blowing. That said, I'm already numb to this magic trick (along with the kajillions of dollars worth of VFX on display).

- Intercutting between historical footage and staged material so seamlessly might be Bay's most inspired work as a director.

- The movie starts strong and confident. Then 4 or 5 minutes go by and it becomes a parody of itself for about an hour. No robot balls or robot pee, but the terrible robot highjinks are replaced with try-to-hard embarrassing human comedy moments and almost none of them are entertaining.

- With so many smart, talented people on set and in the meeting rooms did anyone - ANYONE - stop to say: "Mr. Bay, why is this interesting? Is this needed? What's the point of this? How do these plot elements connect to form a compelling narrative? Why the fuck is Ken Jeong in every movie?" Absolutely nobody has the balls to tell this guy like it is. He's a megalomaniac on set surrounded by a bunch of yes-men and nobody has the heart or gusto to tell him that what he's doing is fucking stupid half the time. Megan Fox was onto something there. Spielberg clearly didn't give a shit about influencing Bay after the first film's success and it shows on screen. The bearded one got his wish: he got his Transformers franchise and the ultimate example of the law of diminishing returns.

- Rosie model-girl is a terrible actress. Worse than Megan Fox. She's sexy but I'm watching a sci-fi genre movie; I'm not exactly in the frame of mind to be constantly bombarded with shots of her ass nor do I get a hard on from seeing her framed against a backdrop of utter chaos.

- The final third felt like a cross between Terminator Salvation and Battle LA. I don't know how much I like this idea in a movie about alien robots that turn into cars and planes. I don't know about the rest of you, but the magic of this entire brand was that it wasn't like every other alien/sci-fi story; it had a special gimmick that made it cool. When that gimmick is reduced to a footnote by the story then I can't really differentiate between Transformers and Terminator.

- Why was Shockwave in the movie aside from the need to sell a Shockwave toy? Answer: there is no reason. He's utterly pointless and they didn't even try to work him into the plot.

- Soundwave was under used. So was Starscream. So was every decepticon. None of them had any character. Even Megatron was an afterthought. There's one very good robot moment when **SPOILER** Ironhide is killed, but that's about it. I wasn't even that pumped by Optimus even though he has by far more action time than in either movie. Guess why? Because the script doesn't have him do or feel anything unless it's to move the plot forward. He was more of a hero in TF1, now he's just a pawn for action.


Listen, one could go on and on about this movie whether it's the insane action sequences in Chicago (they're all pretty amazing in a "I don't know why any of this is happening but it's awesome" sort of way) or the mess (and I mean mess) of a script but the more I think about it the less I feel there is to say.

You all know what this movie is about because most of you have seen Revenge of the Fallen. Is it better? Yes it is. Is it the best of the series? It would be an insult to the disabled to say you'd have to be retarded to think that. In the same way ROTF wasn't a real movie, it was just a mish mash of scenes and spectacle thrown on screen, DOTM is simply a better version of that.

EDIT: Why do robots that can transform into aircraft need to be piloting Terminator-like aircrafts themselves?


Post Posted: June 29th 2011 3:35 am
 
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I just got back from a midnight screening (nothing less than stunning IMAX 3D, of course). I got there an hour early but I still ended up being dead last in line and had to sit in the front-most row. Kinda sucked.

In short, I feel like the movie raped my face for 2.5 hours. And I enjoyed every minute of it. :)

I'm struck by the amount of visual effects in this film. Far more than the first two. Just thinking about the speed and complexity of post-production floors me.

Anyway, up to par with the first Transformers film and perhaps my most favorite of Bay's films.


Post Posted: June 29th 2011 9:35 am
 
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Opted tonight to see the 2D version of the film.

Heavy duty action from the outset. Turn your brain off for 2.5hrs and enjoy the ride.

Got exactly what I expected to see from a Transformers movie - huge robots running around and blowing shit up.

Better than ROTF and just as good as the first.


Post Posted: June 29th 2011 10:42 am
 
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SI wrote:
Opted tonight to see the 2D version of the film.

Heavy duty action from the outset. Turn your brain off for 2.5hrs and enjoy the ride.

Got exactly what I expected to see from a Transformers movie - huge robots running around and blowing shit up.

Better than ROTF and just as good as the first.


Why is "turning your brain off" to enjoy a movie becoming such an acceptable notion? I didn't have to turn my brain off to enjoy X-men, another summer blockbuster, or Thor.

If I'm Michael Bay - hell if I'm anything - the idea of having someone convince themselves they're an infant in order to enjoy my work might be the most insulting thing to my profession. "Turn your brain off and this motion to dismiss this case of sexual assault against you might have merit." "Close your eyes and this plastic surgery I just did on your face won't look bad at all." "Hold your nose and this food I made you won't taste terrible."

It's a bullshit excuse to give Michael Bay a break for failing to put together a narrative that makes sense in such a rich universe of interesting enough characters.


Post Posted: June 29th 2011 1:52 pm
 
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I haven't seen it yet so can't comment on the quality of it but to me there's nothing wrong with kicking back with a movie and enjoying or admiring the pretty pictures without necessarily having to pay huge amounts of attention to each plot nuance to get the most out of it. That to me is what "turn your brain off" cinema is, I don't need to be challenged, just entertained. Sure it's preferable to have both but sometimes it's nice to disengage for a while.

I'd be kinda surprised if most people didn't think like that about a movie with giant robots doing stuff to other giant robots directed by Michael Bay.


Post Posted: June 29th 2011 2:35 pm
 
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Evil_Elvis wrote:
I haven't seen it yet so can't comment on the quality of it but to me there's nothing wrong with kicking back with a movie and enjoying or admiring the pretty pictures without necessarily having to pay huge amounts of attention to each plot nuance to get the most out of it. That to me is what "turn your brain off" cinema is, I don't need to be challenged, just entertained. Sure it's preferable to have both but sometimes it's nice to disengage for a while.

I'd be kinda surprised if most people didn't think like that about a movie with giant robots doing stuff to other giant robots directed by Michael Bay.


It's not about being challenged. Did X-men challenge my perception of 1960s race relations? No, but it had a cohesive plot and competent screenwriting. Oh, and it was a movie about people with superpowers that fuck each other up.

How about that movie back in 1991 about an ass-kicking robot from the future that beats the shit out the other robot from the future? The hero was an austrian bodybuilder for hell's sake.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you can appeal to the idiot masses with things that go boom - and - AND - tell a solid entertaining story.

We shouldn't make excuses for a movie because the basic concept is based on "alien robots kicking each other's ass." These last two movies were a very lazy, very simplistic interpretation of what a Transformers series could be. There's a rich mythology to mine here. I'd challenge anyone to simply re-watch the first Transformers, watch this flick and then tell me they share the same tone. They don't.

TF1, especially in the first half, had a very methodical cohesive plot. When the robots kicked ass it was great because we actually gave a shit who came out on the winning end. There's nothing heroic about any of the good robots' actions in this film because there's no audience investment in their plight. There are no characters in DOTM - only people and robots on screen that do things.

If you want a movie about giant robots that smash each other at least put some effort into making them characters. You're acting like you'd happily shell out 15 bucks to see "Rock-em Sock-em Robots: THE MOVIE."


Post Posted: June 29th 2011 8:55 pm
 
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I enjoyed it.

Would have rather had Megan Fox, but oh well.

Leonard Nimoy rocked as Sentinel Prime.

The unadulterated, viscreal scenes from chicago were quite enjoyed by me.

It's a Michael Bay Film. I know what to expect when I see it. I'm not counting on much else.


Post Posted: June 29th 2011 9:29 pm
 
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Cryostar wrote:
Leonard Nimoy rocked as Sentinel Prime.

This was actually the best performance of the movie.


Post Posted: June 29th 2011 10:11 pm
 
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you're really putting WAY too much thought into this dissection of TRANSFORMERS, there CoGro. it's ROBOTS that turn into CARS and PLANES. That's it. plot is really inconsequential here. relax. have fun in a movie. you don't have to learn a lesson every time you watch a film. sometimes you just want to see some ass and see some shit blow up real good.

I personally liked the swinging balls on Devestator during ROTF. have something similar on my pickup. :heavymetal:


Post Posted: June 30th 2011 6:32 am
 
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To be honest wasn't expecting much from TF3 but I came out entertained and thoroughly enjoyed the 154min runtime. I see it as nothing more than a big extravagant CGI-fest.

X-Men was an infinitely better movie.

Just give me the Blu-Rays when they come out... :chewbacca:


Post Posted: June 30th 2011 11:10 pm
 
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CoGro wrote:
This was actually the best performance of the movie.

I can agree with that. You could hear the raw emotions dripping from his voice. Brought back memories of Galvatron.


Post Posted: July 1st 2011 11:49 am
 
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Haven't checked it out yet, but I appreciate your guys' opinions. They have helped guide my level of expectations going in.

CoGro wrote:
- If this was Michael Bay and his creative team's best effort to make a great film then these guys really can't craft a cohesive narrative to save their children's lives.


I don't know about that. I mean Pearl Harbor was a really well put together film. There is essentially zero action for the entire first hour, as Bay sets up the various character arcs and gets the audience to care about the characters before the bombs start dropping and all hell breaks loose. I'm sure that that took a lot of self-restraint on his part. He manages to infuse notes of comedy without relying on toilet humor as well. I've always felt that Pearl Harbor was one, if not thee, best movie he ever directed. Even the special effects aren't over the top, but go to great pains to appear completely natural and realistic. If you want to see a great Michael Bay film (and are old enough to get pass the syrupy love story) I suggest checking it out/giving it another try.

CoGro wrote:
- Intercutting between historical footage and staged material so seamlessly might be Bay's most inspired work as a director.


Again, he utilized that to great effect already in Pearl Harbor with the old news reel footage. I dug what he did and how he handled the inter-cuts in that film, and am really looking forward to what he does in TF3.

CoGro wrote:
Why is "turning your brain off" to enjoy a movie becoming such an acceptable notion? I didn't have to turn my brain off to enjoy X-men, another summer blockbuster, or Thor.


Now this I do wholeheartedly agree with. Come on, guys, if a film costs 200 MILLION DOLLARS to make, it should be a pretty perfect movie, I would think. At that cost you can afford the best of everything: best director, best actors, best screenwriter, heck, the best key grip in the business.

That the producers chose to go with a "pop culture", overly-hyped cast with less acting chops such as people like Tyrese and a Victoria Secret model, that is money going down the chute. And we the movie-going audience are literally going to pay the cost. I mean, just think about it; $200,000,000 to make a movie.

Yet a film who's titled doesn't even phonically make sense gets delivered?

I'm not going to bash on Bay and co. Like I said, I enjoy some of his previous movies. And I do intend to check TF3 out. But I cannot get behind this whole "why feel entitled to anything but juvenile-level mythos and entertainment" kind of attitude. If this were some low budget production, okay, sure. But coming in at $2M, yeah, my expectations are going to expect something well-crafted and great.


Post Posted: July 1st 2011 12:25 pm
 
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Personally, I thought Pearl Harbor was shit. It tried to do too many things at once for a single film and I thought it could have easily ended a half an hour earlier and been a lot better. I wasn't so against it right out of the theater because you get lost in the grand spectacle of it on a big screen. But subsequent viewings really turned me against it. It tried to be the next Saving Private Ryan but ended up being more like the next 1941.

Michael Bay doesn't deserve all the criticism for what went wrong with that film, but as the director he's going to catch most of the flak. Rather than break down what I didn't like about it, I'll defer to the Team America song The End of An Act as a succinct version of my view.


Post Posted: July 1st 2011 12:54 pm
 
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I'm going to lighten up on my comment regarding Bay not being able to put together a comprehensible plot. Bay's early actioneers are some of my favourite balls-to-the-wall films (the Rock, Bad Boys). They are what they are: immensely entertaining popcorn chomping bliss. The point I won't back off of is that he shortchanged the potential that a Transformers series could be. Excusing these last two films based solely on "DUDE!?! IT'S ROBOTS THAT TRANSFORM INTO CARS!" means you miss the point entirely. For Christ's sake, THIS IS A GENRE FILMS MESSAGEBOARD. The plots of the movies we worship are ludicrous yet we'll spends countless hours talking, dissecting and arguing about laser-sword fighters that use magic.

Arkamazza wrote:
I don't know about that. I mean Pearl Harbor was a really well put together film. There is essentially zero action for the entire first hour, as Bay sets up the various character arcs and gets the audience to care about the characters before the bombs start dropping and all hell breaks loose. I'm sure that that took a lot of self-restraint on his part. He manages to infuse notes of comedy without relying on toilet humor as well. I've always felt that Pearl Harbor was one, if not thee, best movie he ever directed. Even the special effects aren't over the top, but go to great pains to appear completely natural and realistic. If you want to see a great Michael Bay film (and are old enough to get pass the syrupy love story) I suggest checking it out/giving it another try.



Pearl Harbor has its moments. I own the 4 disc special edition, which is a great set. It does have an easy-to-follow paint-by-numbers cliche-ridden plot since it was birthed from the success of Titanic. It didn't take a rocket scientist to port the "special effects disaster movie with love story" concept over to Pearl Harbor. Whether they should have gone this route is another discussion entirely.

At the time, the special effects were the best I'd ever seen but I'd still argue the film overall suffers from Bay's shortsighted juvenile style - using black people peeling potatoes about to be blown up by bombs as a vehicle for comedy. True, he showed more restraint on this film than he has on any other, but look at the sensitive subject matter: he's not going to turn one of the most infamous days in American history into a Saturday morning cartoon. In the end, the film pissed off a lot of war veterans and Bay got plenty of backlash for the half-handed way he handled history.

Quote:
Again, he utilized that to great effect already in Pearl Harbor with the old news reel footage. I dug what he did and how he handled the inter-cuts in that film, and am really looking forward to what he does in TF3.


When you see TF3, you'll see what I mean. It's not the same like in Pearl Harbour, which simply had actual newsreel footage and then transitioned a black and white filmed frame into colour. It's far better. Like I said, when I saw this I got excited.


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Post Posted: July 4th 2011 1:30 pm
 
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Saw it yesterday. I go into some slightly spoiler-ish stuff so click for my thoughts.

Am I the only one who noticed that the editing was slightly off. Like the whole thing was cut like a trailer, the way it jumped from one cut to the next or one entirely new location without any kind of establishing shots of where the heck we were? That really irked me. It would go from a random shot of three Autobots rolling down a street somewhere then cut to the inside of a hanger or something.

Another thing I found strange was, well, basically the entire first half of the movie. Toward the end, I was wondering what the purpose of the entire moon landing/cover-up was. They could have just started the movie an hour in and stated that the Decepticons had discovered some way to teleport Cybertron to Earth's atmposhere.

Bam. Done.

Also, I found it funny that in the midst of the greatest battle in Transformers history Megatron was sitting down in a rundown alley like a homeless hobo covered in rags. I was half-waiting for his arm cannon to transform into a friggin change can. I didn't buy the whole Victoria Secret model being witty enough to manipulate the central commander of the entire Decepticon forces into attacking a cohort.

Also this movie is waaay longer than I expected. A little too long. Although cool to look at, like I said, the moon stuff really was no way necessary to the overall plot and could possibly have been trimmed altogether imho.


Now, what I did like. If you're gonna see this in a theater, SEE IT IN 3D! There are a load of great moments in the movie where you can tell that thought was specifically allocated for the 3D audience. There is Tranformer spit flying all over the place and one high speed chase moment in particular involving Sam and Bumblebee on the freeway that simply must be seen in 3D. Overall I was glad I sad it in more than two dimensions.

The model chick was hot. And she could almost kind of act occasionally. She must of did her job right, because I did not miss Megan what's-here-name-again one bit.

People complained about the Twins from TF2. While not in this movie exactly, they do live on somewhat in the form of two other little robots providing the comic relief, one of who I believe is the small remote control car from the last movie. While acting more or less like the Twins, these two came off less annoying and actually fulfill some function eventually.

The death factor gets upped dramatically, with running Chicago-nites being disinegrated War of the Worlds-style. A lot of people are blatantly killed and/or tortured by Decepticons on-screen. And I loved every minute of it! Finally, after two movies it felt like there were actual lives on the line and shite was serious!


Post Posted: July 4th 2011 9:13 pm
 
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:siren: Tranformers III telesync now playing in the MF Film forum.

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Finally after nearly a week of being released a telesync (cam video + high quality direct theater audio) has landed. I will post my thoughts after my threatrical viewing!


Post Posted: July 5th 2011 8:45 pm
 
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there is really so much going on in every single scene that you quickly become numb to the spectacle to where it just turns into a convoluted mess. Let me put it into terms Troy would understand. A typical action movie use to have maybe four or five major scenes where you go, "oh shit! how'd they do that?!!" Something like T2. You had the escape from the mental ward , the nuclear war scene, the attack at Cyberdyne and the escape at the melting foundry. All memorable scenes for generations of fans. Compare that to the typical lucky date night with a chick. You picked her up, you had dinner and some drinks, maybe danced or saw a movie and then took her home and got a blow job for your trouble. All memorable scenes.

Then there's this movie. where E-V-E-R-Y minute there is something going on, something blowing up or transforming or on fire or an ass in your face or robot blood squirting out in 3D. Every scene is edited like an epileptic ADD kid had hold of the controls. People jump in and out and are flung around, conversations are cut short, info is missing like "WHY" in the hell are they doing this exactly? It's a jumbled 200 million dollar mess of CGI being flung on the screen every second just to fill it with something. I honestly don't know how the magicians at ILM got this film done in time. It must be a lot quicker to do now a days.

To compare this to a date out with the girl, imagine the date starts with 25 girls in the room and they drag you in all trying to suck your dick at once. Your dick can only handle so much at once. ( some more than others,) Sure it's fun, but numbing and therefore immediately forgettable.


Oh, and Patrick Dempsey, get the fuck out of my action movies. :whatevaho:


Post Posted: July 5th 2011 9:22 pm
 
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In other words, CoGro was right. Sometimes it's not possible to enjoy robot mayhem and hot broads just for the sake of it.

Your analogy is dead on.


Post Posted: July 5th 2011 10:22 pm
 
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I agree about the editing. But

If I was ever in a room with 25 woman all fighting over me trying to perform fellatio on me at once, I personally would never, ever forget that.


Ever. :wookiee:


Post Posted: July 5th 2011 11:19 pm
 
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I watched the version DP posted. Honestly I was let down by it, especially with all the hype it built up around it. I do agree though it was a major CG-Fest and some things were cool but over all it seemed to be a re-tread of Transformers 2. Grant they tuned down the idiotic humor and sexual side of things but over all it seemed like Transformers 2 all over again.

Leonard Nimoy however, was awesome at voicing Sentinel Prime and delivering one of his most epic lines from a previous character he played.


Post Posted: July 8th 2011 4:37 pm
 

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I saw it at 1030 the other night in 3D...I was checking my watch around midnight wondering when it'd all be over.

The 3D was great. the human business was pretty OK and at times effective. Bay was wise to use some of the players from past Coen Bros. movies. LaBeouf looked bored and annoyed from his first frame. I was embarrassed hearing the voice over work. Not just how ridiculous the idea of having massive robots sound like 70 year olds but how the voices sort of float over the images. i never knew when Prime was doing deliberate voiceover or talking to witwicky.

Anyone care to talk about Bay's blatant racism/sexism? I guess it's pretty well-known and it was toned down a bit but:

All the shots of Carly were almost offensive. What woman would wear a cocktail dress and 4 inch heels to her administrative assistant job? what year does Bay think this is?

The beautiful blend of racism and sexism when the resident Chica Loca blew her lid when the bald white guy told her to wear something with less cleavage! Classic! what was the line, "That's what I call a Latin Meltdown!"? all while Chica Loca is spewing her weird language

Jeong having fun but playing the Asian card into deep stereotype territory. Jeong was the only minority member in the fictional NASA group and of course he was the only one with the ridiculous death scene (he was armed with not one but two pistols while working at his programming deskjob?)

Tyrese and The Other Brother "bonding" through stereotype during the war scenes. Oh how funny that black guy is shitting his pants at war! can't use a gun, afraid of everything, nameless, a shadow of a personality beyond being the black guy who says "Aw hellll naw!!" when Tyrese is inexplicably promoted from ground crew launch coordinator to leader with an automatic weapon..?

It really makes you wonder if Bay has any grasp on reality at all. Or if his cast had any idea the levels of offensive absurdity and disrespect for other people Bay possesses. it's really shocking when you think about it. The guy can't write, can't direct beyond "just fucking have fun!" and can't find any kind of common ground between his characters and his audience. Who is Michael Bay??


Post Posted: July 8th 2011 5:04 pm
 
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One thing I keep reading in every review and hearing in every interview is how "the stakes are much higher in DOTM than in the last movie." My first thought is: does anyone remember that the plot of ROTF was that the bad guy wanted to obliterate our solar system by extinguishing the sun?

My lasting impression of DOTM will be of a film that epitomizes the concept of "overhyped." As a fan, I've never truly felt that I've been lied to by the cast/crew of a production. When Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg hype Indy 4 as "fabulous" and "exciting" and "terrific" I can take that for what it's worth - creating a buzz - even if the film ends up underwhelming. On this film, the mantra recited by Michael Bay and the cast over and again was that "we know the last film sucked and we're making up for it with this great story and exciting plot." What we got was a film as lazily conceived as its predecessor (maybe more so), which is embarrassing considering there was no writers' strike (the excuse for ROTF) and you heard from the fans exactly what they didn't want following 2009's mess of a sequel. I'm personally offended by DOTM because Michael Bay lied to me. He took me for granted and he stole my money. I've never once played that card as a movie-goer but I've also never felt lied to like I have leading to the release of this film.

I was buying Michael Bay stock faster than Apple's in 2007. Now I'm convinced he's one of the worst storytellers working today.


Post Posted: July 8th 2011 9:58 pm
 
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Longtime_Sunshine wrote:
The beautiful blend of racism and sexism when the resident Chica Loca blew her lid when the bald white guy told her to wear something with less cleavage! Classic! what was the line, "That's what I call a Latin Meltdown!"? all while Chica Loca is spewing her weird language


You mean Spanish? :monocle:


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