Mamo #364: TransFOURmers

Mamo!
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #a9a883;”] J [/dropcap]oin us in the sultry, semi-sexual heat of a Barrie Ontario long weekend as we discuss Trans4mers, the Chinese, and the nature of “evil”; Rian Johnson, Star Wars, and the new crop of blockbuster directors; and Predator 4, worldbuilding, and why people need to get over it. Happy summer, Mamo listeners!

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Sean Kelly
Guest

The entire third act of TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION takes place in China, with scenes in Beijing and Hong Kong (where the final battle is).

Also, the films somewhat visualizes your whole “death of cinema” argument with a scene in a…well, dead cinema.

Andrew James
Admin

Haven’t listened yet, but I’d like to go on record as saying I’m super excited that Shane Black is doing Predator whatever number it is now. The Brody version was actually pretty damn good but way underseen and underappreciated because of the history of all the shitty AvP stuff. I’m hoping Black can bring the magic that he brought to the crappy Iron Man franchise and make something terrific out of it.

Goon
Guest

On my Letterboxd feed, more people I know saw They Came Together than Transformers, and only 2 of them are people I know paid to see it. So at least I have that to make me feel better.

Sean Kelly
Guest

Am I one of the two?

Goon
Guest

That weird tiny Transformer with one giant big eye and soemthing that looks like hair talks in kind of a “mammy” way and says “Free at Last” at one point

other than that most racism is odd: There’s some racism in T4, but most of the racial stuff is maybe not racist but racially odd.

one of the main robots voiced by Ken Watanabe is a samurai for no apparent reason. There’s nothing really negative or mockish about the character per se, it’s merely a bit odd and that may just be because it’s Bay and instead of diversity you’re always waiting for Bay to do something horrible.

Asian woman character girlfriend of Stanley Tucci who is told “I never understand what you’re saying” and out of nowhere even though she’s a technology executive knows kung fu because THEY ALL DO RIGHT? They give a reason why she knows it but again, it’s just weird.

Sean Kelly
Guest

I think the character of Drift has always been a samurai, the movie just makes him more so.

Kurt
Guest

After the experience of grimly watching the first Transformers movie in a theatre of inexplicably (to me anyways) euphoric audience members, I decided then and there that these films were not for me. I have just ‘said no’ to seeing (or debating their merits) any of the sequels, and their weird penchant for shitting on Coen-Brother staple actors. I’m happy that the films keep Michael Bay and a certain segment of the population off my lawn.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

The original Transformers tv show definitely aimed at kids doesn’t stand up as an adult and beyond any nostalgia.

That said, the Transformers comic book by Marvel comics was at times quite adult and parts still hold up. It still had it’s issues and was horrible cheesy at times, but writer Simon Furman did a great job. He had some great characterization that made you really care about the characters. Also he built some great big mythological type stories. What he did almost reminds me of what Grant Morrison, did with All-Star Superman taking some of the cheesiest parts of 1960’s Superman and putting together some great stories. Also the success of Morrison’s story was also building a Superman story like a Greek myth story.

Still story aside, I wouldn’t mind a director that wasn’t so horrible of an action director as Michael Bay, in my opinion. I just really dislike his style although, I totally understand I’m in the minority when it comes to that.

arjay
Guest

You seem to argue for a collective cognitive dissonance on the basis that the worst thing in the world you can be is a hypocrite. We’re all hypocrites. We all take moral positions that if we thought about them are inconsistent with other positions we might take, but don’t. That doesn’t make the positions wrong, and doesn’t mean they won’t improve the world in some small way.

For the record, I think boycotting Transformer for the sake of Chinese human rights is stupid, but for other reasons. The more openness and exchange between China and the rest of the world the better. Then at some point down the line we can hope that China will change from within. We’re crazy if we think we can change it from outside.

Rick Vance
Guest

This is hilarious because of how true it is, regarding Bay.

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Also because of how it will never ever happen because Bay won’t be caught working in one of those projects where he would have to listen to someone else or compromise.

Sean Kelly
Guest

One thing brought up in this episode, which I completely agree with is why people even bother to see the film, if they don’t expect to like it?

I guess there are some people who have a sense of obligation to see the film (and other major blockbusters), if only not be be left out of the the discussion.

I have to call out Corey/Goon, since he wrote a tweet prior to an advanced screening, which really stuck out for me:

At the Trans4mers screening. The lack of excitement in the room is palpable, like voluntary detention.

It was no surprise that he was one of the MANY people I follow, who absolutely ended up hating the film. Admittedly, his response to the film was a little more thought out than others.

I eventually decided to post a few tweets of my own:

I have to admit that all the Michael Bay hatred somewhat annoys me. I’ve seen all but two of his films and I generally liked them all.

I’m going into TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION this weekend expecting to like the film (and I expect that I will).

I actually proved by my point by later watching (and liking) BAD BOYS II for the first time on Netflix and I did indeed end up enjoying TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (though I admit there are MANY flaws to the film).

Andrew James
Admin

I will agree that I think a lot of the Michael Bay hatred is a bit much and a lot of it is just the trendy thing to hate on.

But why go to movies expecting not to like them? I do that often. I want to give filmmakers the benefit of the doubt in a lot of cases and I go in hoping to be surprised or proven wrong. And a lot of times I am. I’m not John Campea and deliberately go to movies looking to hate on them, but sometimes these guys make decent stuff and I’m always hoping to be pleasantly surprised. I fully went into both Avengers and Iron Man 3 planning to not like them and guess what, I LOVED them. So I’m hoping for the same with Michael Bay; I actually did quite enjoy Transformers 3 for example.

Goon
Guest

Sean. I liked Bay’s last film, and like Andrew, I liked the last hour of Transformers 3. I did not go into this expecting anything great, but as you know, locally when we have free screenings, we see a lot of junk we would skip otherwise. A lot of people in that screening were also critics who were obliged. I was next to Bruce from The Sun, for example. Sometimes we see these things just for the sake of the conversation.

I don’t get angry about stuff I expect to be bad. I get angry when I lay down good money for stuff I expect to be good and it’s not, or I am frustrated/the only one who didn’t like something. Transformers 4 is horrible, but it was also not the end of the world. It had the decency to be a mix of so-bad-its-good and decent. Of all the Transformers movies I actually hated the first one the most, since I actually expected something decent out of it. All these other ones, well, I’m getting something out of the experience. It may not be what Bay wants me to get, and the movies may still be terrible, but I’m getting something for my time.

Philip Poirot
Guest

TransFOURmer’s 5-day gross in CHINA is $134.5 mil compared to $121 mil 5-day domestic.

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/transformers-grossing-more-in-china-than-u-s-1201257240/

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