Friday, July 12, 2013
by: Ryan Grudinski
I hate Michael Bay. I hate almost everything he's made with very little exception. So when I saw a TV spot for Guillermo del Toro's latest epic film pitting giant robots against giant monsters, was I scared? Was I afraid that one of my favorite filmmakers was going the way of the Bay? Absolutely not. What many people fail to realize is that the reason Bay's Transformers films are so terrible (and yes, they are terrible) isn't because they are about giant robots. The robots aren't the problem. It's the writing, directing, character development, camera work, editing, racism, sexism, and utter lack of talent, style, technique, and filmmaking prowess. Luckily Del Toro hasn't got any of those problems. This is Del Toro's first soiree into this big of a scale, special effects wise, and I have to say he handled it flawlessly. The visuals in this film are great, and far and away blow anything from the Transformers films out of the water, no pun intended (The monsters come from the water in this movie... that's not really a spoiler) The film isn't perfect, it definitely drags a little bit near the end, and the audience starts to feel the runtime a little bit, but it's not too bad. The performances range from okay to great, Idris Elba and Charlie Day are superb, as always. With all the talk of Michael Bay that seems to be buzzing around the TV spots for this film, I think people will be pleasantly (or unpleasantly, if you're expecting a Bay-like film in a positive way) surprised. I think the film this most resembles is actually Paul Verhoeven's brilliant 1997 satire, Starship Troopers. It's not completely satirical in nature, but there is certainly a fair share of cheesy dialog and sci-fi/action clichés, but honestly, as far as I can tell, that's all intentional, and lends itself very well to Del Toro's style. This isn't for everyone, but I can see it pleasing a wide variety of moviegoers. For those of you who like the crazy action you get from Transformers, you'll get plenty of great action, only it's shot competently and coherently, Unlike Bay's debacles. For those of you who like a fun cheesy sci-fi story with some decent characters, you'll dig it too. If you're into "High art" and high art only, this may not be the one for you, as I have mentioned earlier, it's got more than its fair share of cheese. When you look at it for what it really is, an homage to the creature features of yesteryear, but with up-to-date special effects, it succeeds at what it set out to do. The bottom line is, this film is fun as hell! Go see it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Acting: *** 1/2
Direction: **** 1/2
Technical: Absolutely beautiful use of CGI, this is how it's SUPPOSED to look.
X-Factors: Del Toro's style is all over this, if you like his previous works, chances are good you'll dig this one as well.
Will This Movie end up in my collection? Yes.