Wednesday, April 25, 2007

April 25th, 2007

"What makes me better than you is that I don't think I'm better than you."
Gerald N. Kappler

Let's see if I can rant for a moment in between trainings at work today.

The drive to work was pleasant today. I pass a college campus on the way and while stopped at a red light, I saw a dude walking on the sidewalk. He was tall, blond, athletic, and handsome. I have to admit that, for a moment or two, I wanted to be that guy. But then I noticed he was walking strangely, perhaps he was crippled. I thought, "Uh oh, this guy has a clubfoot or the beginnings of spina bifida."

Upon closer inspection, I realised that his pants were so baggy they hung a literal foot lower than they should have. The pants' crotch was at his knees, and that was what was impeding his walking. As I drove away, I changed my mind. I do not wish to be stupid people.

But who would I like to be? That's a difficult question. It's easy to say WHAT I'd like to be: A professional screenwriter who also writes short stories. Ideally, I guess I would be a less-talented Richard Matheson. I wonder if that is too much to ask.

I saw HOT FUZZ last night and quite enjoyed it. Simon Pegg is quickly becoming a hero of mine. I hope he sleeps with women so hot it would make Colin Farrell jealously dry heave himself to death.

It's funny. I had three or four subjects I terribly wanted to blog about during the commute this morning. Now that I'm in front of a computer, I could barely rant a paragraph about the baggy pants guy . . . and the rest of the subjects have fled my mind. Perhaps this is how serial killers get started.

One more thing came to me just now. I complained to tyranist about it last night, but a couple of the guys in my training group are really, really excited about THE TRANSFORMERS movie coming out this summer. Stoner-types, in their early to mid twenties, they think it will be better than both SPIDER-MAN 3 and PIRATES 3. But I just can't get my head around that. Is there any way the movie can be good? The way I see it, it has three things working against it:

1. It's based on a cartoon series based on a comic book based on a Japanese toy line back in the Eighties.

2. If you were a huge fan of the old cartoon (or cartoons), won't you be disappointed by the characters not looking anything like they did on that show(s)? It can't have all the robots in it that you loved from the original franchise(s). Except for Peter Cullen, all the Transformer voices will be different. And most importantly, since most of the potential audience for this movie were fans when they were kids, how can a 2007 movie satisfy that? Should it be nostalgic, should it be a modern take? Should they try to thrill you as an adult or appeal to the child within? Or should it be aimed at the next generation of children? Is there any chance that it can work on every level at once?

3. Michael Bay is directing.

I don't hate Michael Bay as much as many do (in fact, my favourite of his movies is the one 95% of Bay-bashers mention most), but find his work to be headache-inducing, shallow, cinematically unwatchable, and almost completely soulless. I'd call him a rich man's Renny Harlin, except that Harlin's films are almost always entertaining, even if they're ridiculous, dumb, and unbelievable.

I went to a Q&A with the screenwriters of TRANSFORMERS and found them to be funny, clever people. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 wasn't bad, but it felt like JJ Abrams wrote the stuff I most enjoyed. But regardless of how good the script to THE ISLAND was, the film was really dissatisfying and trite (and I lay the blame right at Bay's feet).

I guess it's childish of me to want the movie to fail, but I really loved the Transformers twenty-something years ago, and have absolutely zero interest in this new film, the same way I had no interest in seeing THE OMEN or STEPFORD WIVES remakes.

When I went to the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES movie (in, when was it, 1990?), I thought I was a little too old for it, having enjoyed the comics and cartoon just a couple of years previous. If I watched a classic episode of "Transformers" today, would I really think it was that great? Would I even think it was good? Years of separation do that to a person; somebody you were only mildly attracted to can become a goddess in your mind as the distance increases. Then when you're face-to-face with them again, reality can often be a disappointment.

I could go on and on about this (which is why it's referred to as a rant), but I'm not going to. I simply think TRANSFORMERS is going to disappoint because it just doesn't look good. Prove me wrong, guys.


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