July 08, 2009

How to stop Michael Bay from stealing your childhood

Now, it may surprise you to know, given my recent post defending Michael Bay against his detractors, that I have NOT, in fact, chosen to pay my money to actually see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to head out to one of my favorite theaters in town, The Arclight, and, in addition to Transformers, they were showing a really smart little TRUE sci-fi film (i.e. a film based around actual science instead of fantasy) called "Moon", starring Sam Rockwell and directed by David Bowie's son, Duncan Jones.

The theater was also showing what looks to be a really juicy Iraq War film called "The Hurt Locker".

So, that was my choice that day: Transformers, Moon, or The Hurt Locker. Since I was really in the mood for something engaging, both emotionally and mentally, based on my current expectations of Bay and the reactions to the film from critics, I was pretty sure that Transformers was not that movie.

I took an informal poll among my online friends and got really intense lobbying for both Moon AND Hurt Locker. I mean, someone sent me a message from a car that a mutual friend heard about my choice and INSISTED that I had to see Hurt Locker.

In the end, because one of my buddies wanted me to wait to see Hurt Locker with him, I opted to see my original choice, Moon.

Which was a smashing film. Loved it. Absolutely no complains.

Why am I telling this story?

To illustrate that there's no reason for me to be angry or to hate Michael Bay. I suspect his movie might disappoint me, so I stayed away. Other people clearly seem to love it with a near cult-like passion (as evidenced by the reaction Roger Ebert got to his scathing review of Transformers). Good for them.

I think the trick is, we have to learn to resist the mind control.

If it's a small movie that could live or die a quick and humiliating death based on poor box office performance, go see it opening weekend if you can. If it's a movie that you're particularly passionate about (i.e. The Dark Knight or Star Trek, for me), of course, go the opening weekend to see it with the best crowd possible.

But if it's a monstrously huge release that you're not especially invested in, the studio will be OK if you wait until the 2nd weekend. Hear the buzz from actual moviegoers. When people say "it's mindless and has lots of explosions & Megan Fox", and if C4 & a hot girl are all you need for your $14, go for it.

I happen to be a fan of C4, so I'll probably still see Transformers at some point. I'm dying to see how they introduce Devastator and I'm pretty much a sucker for anything involving Ancient Egypt.

If, however, you want a quality film, and you see Transformers, and you find yourself disappointed, don't get mad at Bay. You should have known better.
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