What if Pixar’s Up had been directed by Michael Bay instead of Pete Docter? This seems pretty accurate, actually.
Thanks to this film, I’ll be adding “Shrinking World Syndrome” to SDG’s Very, Very Little Movie Glossary.
If Michael Bay can take 165 minutes for his latest Transformers movie, I can take two minutes to review it.
Like the title phrase, which is recognizably English and yet obviously wrong, Dark of the Moon offers just enough vestiges of grammatical intelligibility to be recognizable as a bloated, steroid-inflamed simulacrum of a mindless summer blockbuster action movie. I almost think it would be better, or at least it would hurt less, if it were a bit more incomprehensible, although I’m told that its predecessor, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, actually was, and it didn’t help.
The Island is the closest thing so far to a good Michael Bay film. Damning with faint praise, yes — but bear in mind that most of Bay’s filmography to date (Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys and Bad Boys II) deserves to be damned with loud damns. So let me repeat: The Island is Bay’s best film to date, and Bay’s best effort to date at a meaningful, thoughtful film.
Yet whereas Titanic was the work of a master manipulator, a man with a special genius for making cheesy melodrama seem moving and gripping, Michael Bay has so far in his career shown no competence for anything but pyrotechnics. Cameron’s film shrewdly focused on its three leads (Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and Billy Zane), all of whom are gifted with real charisma and screen presence. Pearl Harbor, however, is burdened by a sprawling cast of characters, led by Ben Affleck (another Armageddon alum), who’s as blandly generic as no-name corn flakes — and doesn’t even compensate by taking likeable roles. Affleck’s out-acted by relative unknown Josh Hartnett (Blow Dry), the best friend and romantic rival (even though Hartnett’s character is equally underwritten); he’ll be opening movies himself before long.
Talk about the wrong stuff is one officer’s disparaging comment as Willis’ team struts about NASA ostensibly preparing for their mission, hamming it up like class clowns in high school, ridiculing the process, flaunting their lack of couth like a badge of honor all but letting their butt cracks stick out. Yes, in this film the honors science students are obliged to sit back and watch as the shop class saves the world.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.