Tag Archives: Michael Bay

SBox Recommends: Transformers – The Last Knight (Movie Review)

Note: SBR never spoils. You are safe. Enjoy!

Welcome back to SBox Recommends, where our motto is “Every film has its fans”. Here I review a movie and then determine who will like it best and who will like it the least.

Let me start by saying I’m sorry. I do realize the gravity of what I’ve just done. I know that by seeing this in the theater (on opening day) I’m directly contributing to the problem these movies cause — a problem I promised myself to try and extinguish by simply staying home. All I had to do was just wait 2 measly weeks for Spider-Man, but no. I caved and saw this movie anyway, knowing it was a terrible idea. In my defense, T-Mobile made me do it. They offered tickets to the movie at just $4 and we were just so bored that day… more like weak.

I gave this movie my money and I’ll have to live with that now. The question now is should you do the same? Continue reading SBox Recommends: Transformers – The Last Knight (Movie Review)

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My 2014 Movies: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (#20)

I remember when Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was first announced. That was a fun time only to see the entire Internet descend into mayhem and outrage. Many of us are familiar with criticisms of Michael Bay’s film adaptations, namely Transformers. Bay is known to not do well with beloved 80’s franchises from a critical point of view despite always impressing in a financial point of view. The film was finally released in all of its CGI glory in the summer. My consensus: that could’ve been way worse.

Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, and Raphael are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The four turtles and a rat named Splinter were part of a science experiment years before. All five were infected by a mutagen which made them all human-like creatures. The rat Splinter takes the role of fathering the four young turtles and taught them ninjitsu in honor of the experimenter.

The film begins years later with April O’Neil, a journalist played by Megan Fox, discovering the turtles and rat. Turns out the same scientist that created them was April’s father who was killed by his partner. The turtles’ discovery causes the turtles to be hunted down by this partner, who teams up with Shredder, the leader of a gang called the Foot Clan, to annihilate and experiment on the turtles for evil purposes.

That is the gist of it I guess. If there really is a main issue worth noting is that the film isn’t too memorable in the story department. I struggled to recall much of the movie’s main conflict to the point of having to look it up. By then, everything started coming back to me. What I recalled was a rather dull and uninteresting story.

In past entries on this countdown, I’ve mentioned films I barely remember and slandered them, because a film being unmemorable is something I detest in my movies. So, you may be asking what made this one rank this high on the list. Well, while I don’t remember elements of the story, I do remember the action scenes. That’s more than I could say about films like Transformers 4.

The action scenes and effects were the reason I stood in my seat for as long as I did. While I admit I’m not too big a fan of the character models, those models did some fun looking crap. I still recall the climax on the side of the building, the fight down the mountain slope, and the fight in the sewers. They were all amusing to watch while managing not to get old (like Transformers 4).

Additionally, the film was actually capable of making me laugh once or twice. Sure they were simple and stupid jokes, but I still laughed for whatever that’s worth.

That’s not to say that the writing is anything of high merit, though. The story isn’t all that cativating, the writing consists of some really dumb lines and moments, and the film’s general charm is all over the place. That’s the movie’s greatest struggle.

I wouldn’t call myself the biggest Turtle fan in the world, but I like any other American boy have at least basic experience with the Turtle cartoons and movies. (I personally have seen two of the original movies and some episodes of the 80’s cartoon show). I know that the charm of the Turtles is one of the most important aspects of what made them so enjoyable. This movie tries to reach that level of charm at some points, but constantly flip flops between an overly-serious, adult action film tone and the goofy, cartoony tone. All the movie had to do was pick a direction to go all the way with or find the correct balance. That makes some parts more memorable than others and makes the film seem unbalanced.

This is a very difficult movie to talk about. In reality this film should be a lot lower on this list. For some strange reason, though, I am willing to watch it again, even more so than the past films on the countdown. That’s the source of my reasoning.

As a Michael Bay production, the high budget of his projects always manages to show. Camerawork, special effects, and other production values are all fine and good. Acting is passable. The special effects are of course amazing. The score was complimentary to the action scenes while the licensed sings served to make for comedic effect. There is one point of which that is actually well-placed.

I very well realize that this overview is all over the place, but hopefully you see where I am coming from. I guess my point is that compared to what I expected out of this movie (very little), this was way better than expected.

I will recommend this film to those looking for a mindless action movie to entertain you on a boring night or afternoon. Kids who are fans of the Transformers films will be at home here. Turtle purists, you may be surprised to know that the turtles are defined in their personalities, but I’m almost certain you’ll take issue with some of the film’s decisions. It’s most certainly a nice rental if you’re interested.

View #19 here!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

My 2014 Movies: Transformers 4: Age of Extinction (#29)

This will be the last movie that I don’t like or wouldn’t see again on this countdown. I’m not trying to please any crowds by saying I didn’t like this movie, because I know hating on Michael Bay’s Transformers films is a very popular thing to do online. I actually like the Transformers films mostly. However, out of the four, soon five, films in this series that just won’t die already, this is one that I actually consider not that good.

Transformers 4 strays a little in its traditional casting as Shia Labeouf’s character is replaced by a new protagonist played by Mark Walberg. Walberg is an inventor who’s falling on hard times and soon to lose his house. He stumbles upon an odd artifact that turns out to be a Transformer. This is apparently odd as Transformers are now being hunted down by the government to either be assassinated or used in experiments. This crossing of roads causes Walberg’s character to go into hiding and assist the Autobots as best he can. This is not helped by the fact that the Autobots also face being used for commercial purposes by a greedy manufacturer.

People have been saying for years that these Transformers films are nothing more than a collection of CG explosions, stupid characters, and stupid dialogue. This would in any other movie be at least a bit entertaining; something that allows you to turn off your brain and have fun. These would be called “popcorn flicks”. If you can enjoy that, the Transformers movies will entertain you.

What’s inherently wrong this time around is that this formula is now so stale and so dull that its charm is pretty much gone. Similar to what I said with the Legend of Hercules, if you make me bored of ten-story fighting robots that turn into cars, there’s a problem. The epic and action-packed third act which was impressive in Transformers 1 is hackneyed the fourth time around.

I feel that at this point Hollywood is trying to see how far they can milk this before they stop losing money. Michael Bay has even said before that he never pays mind to the criticism his films get because he knows they’ll see it anyway. This is sadly true.

All things considered this movie does have good production values. Walberg’s character is charming and is aided by the great performance given. The CG definitely looks nice, too. No one in all these years can say with a straight face that the effects are bad.

For me, this movie boring, but to some others this movie will suffice. The Transformers films continue to have an audience that will probably like these movies just the same as the other three. However, I’m not in that group.

View #28 here!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!