Just forget the words and sing along

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Third Time Not Quite the Charm

Well, going all the way back to my 11th birthday, I do celebrate a bit of a tradition:  I see a movie on my birthday.  Of course, the lack of movie theaters in Athabasca generally means I get to see a movie on the weekend closest to my birthday, and thus declare that my "birthday movie."

I am back from the city, and back from this year's birthday movie:  Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  aka Transformers 3.


I don't know.  At this point in the franchise, Transformers are really starting to remind me of Godzilla movies.  The plot really, really drags when the humans are on screen.  I mean, it served a purpose in the first film.  The character of Sam represented the audience...new to this world of Autobots and Decepticons and thus serving as our eyes and ears.  But now, this far into the franchise, every time we cut away from Optimus Prime to Sam's wacky hijinks...it's just such a distraction.

This movie is way better than the second one, though.  There is more of a plot, rather than just random explosions happening all over the place.  The comedic relief still takes the form of very stupid comedy, but there's significantly less of it.  And there are few more nods to Transformers lore that were nice.  And there's one killer Star Trek reference that I won't get in to because it is somewhat spoilerish.

At the end of the day, the movie this most reminds me of is Terminator 3.  It's good for what it is, it's enjoyable, but really doesn't bring anything new to the table.  All of my childhood nostalgia was used up on the first film...the second film was so bad it burned up all my good will for the franchise...and the third one.  Well, it's good, I guess.

And what the hell is Buzz Aldrin doing in this film? 

And there was another moment...I know it was supposed to be this very emotional moment, but how it was carried out was so expertly spoofed in Team America: World Police that I couldn't help but laugh.

Yeah...look for a complete review on the main site in the next day or so.

In a way, it's not just the movie I'm reviewing.  I decided to pay the extra money and see the film in Cineplex's new and much hyped "UltraAVX" theatres.  They boast the biggest non-IMAX screen you can get, the most state-of-the-art digital projectors and sound systems, bigger, comfier, leather reclining seats, and reserved seating.  It's costs $5 more than 2D movie ticket...$2 more than a 3D movie ticket.

And the truth is...I don't think it really added anything more to the movie-going experience.

Yeah, the bigger screen was nice, but it's not that much bigger than a typical screen.  I don't think the seats really were any more comfy than typical movie theatre seats.

However, I did love the concept of the reserved seating in this case.  I don't know about you, but whenever I've gone to see a movie in 3D, the ticket-taker who hands me my 3D glasses tells me that the best place to sit is as close to the centre of the theatre as possible to get the full 3D effect.  Well, even when I show up a half-hour before showtime, I'll find that all the good seats in the centre of the theatre are taken, so I wind up sitting at the side.

But thanks to reserve seating, I was able to stake out the best seats in the dead centre of the theatre and fully enjoy the 3D show.

So my final verdict on UltraAVX.  If you're going to see a movie in good old fashioned 2D, it's not worth the extra $5.  But, if you're going for 3D, it is worth the extra $2 to guarantee yourself a good seat.

Also, while in the city, I swung by HMV and treated myself to some new CDs.  Way back when I was but a wee lad in Entwistle, my holy grail of albums was always the soundtrack to The Transformers: The Movie.  (aka the original 1986 animated film)  Never got my hands on it until college.  So, the lingering after effect of that is I've bought the soundtracks for every Transformers film.  So, of course, I had to grab the soundtrack for Dark of the Moon.  It's like the first two soundtracks...full of Linkin Park-y goodness.

I also wound up grabbing the soundtrack for Cars 2.  I haven't seen Cars 2 yet.  I was thinking about seeing it today after Transformers, but dude, Transformers is damn near 3 hours long, and when it was done, I saw far too much of my afternoon was gone.

The soundtrack for Cars 2 is OK.  The main theme is the 1980s classic You Might Think as covered by Weezer.  No doubt, it was chosen for this soundtrack because of the song's original artists, the Cars.

There's also a cut called Collision of Worlds, which is duet between country music star Brad Paisley and Brit pop legend Robbie Williams.  I was curious to hear what this bizarre pairing would produce, but it turned out to be just one of laziest songs ever written for a movie, as all they really do is rattle off a list of American deep South and British slang terms.

There's also a tradition French song and some peppy J-Pop to help add the international flavour of the globetrotting adventures in the film.

However, the main reason why I bought this was for the score as composed by Michael Giacchino.  I've geek out about Giacchino on the blog in the past, and how I think he's one of the greatest film composers working today.  I think he's done spectacular work for Pixar (with The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and his Oscar-winning score for Up), so I was curious to hear what he'd come up with on his fourth outing with Pixar. 

And once again, Giacchino does not disappoint.  No doubt, Giacchino got the gig for the same reason he got The Incredibles:  since the plot borrows from the classic James Bond spy films, they wanted a score that would replicate that classic James Bond sound.  And the James Bond sound is in full force, thanks to the heavy guitars just like in the James Bond theme.

There's also a few cues that seem to harken back to classic Disney films, and I swear that, given the film's subject matter, I could pick up on a few echos of Giacchino's Speed Racer score.  I was listening to it on the drive home, and I was smiling all the way.  Giacchino has composed another winner. 

And, as I reflect on day in the city, I once again lament that flirting is a skill I've never really developed.  So there I am at HMV.  The clerk is ringing me up.  She asks if I want to sign up for their rewards program.  I say no.  She says if I want to hear the sales pitch.  I say no.  She asks why I always say no.  I mumble something about being not interested. 

As I leave and head out into the mall, I start thinking, "Damn it!  Why did I say that?  She was cute!  I should have said something like, 'Well, it's because I never heard the sales pitch from someone as lovely as you.'  Yeah, it's cheezy as hell, but it's better than mumbling 'Not interested!'". 

I need, like, a practice dummy or something that I can practice flirting with.  Wait a minute.  They do make practice dummies.  They're called blow-up dolls.

OK, this is taking a weird turn.  As they taught me in broadcast school, when you don't have anything to say, just shut up and play the next song.

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