Friday, July 06, 2007

Robot Talk

6 July 2007

The other day, I had a big disagreement with my friend Merrill about the Will Smith I, Robot film. I don't know why I'm blogging about it now, but I wrote about it the other day and I thought I'd say a few words about Transformers: The Movie 1.2, so I'm sticking it in here.

I remember when I was living in L.A. and saw that trailer in the theatre, and wincing, just knowing that the movie was going to be the kind of soulless big-budget shitfest that every Will Smith movie from Wild Wild West to . . . hell, I, Robot had been. You know, the kind of movie where Will Smith plays Will Smith and they've altered the script so he can say stuff like, "Oh, HELL no!" and "I gotsta get me one of these!" But when it got to the second-run cinemas, my friend and I went to it, just for laughs (like we did for a lot of movies, including Catwoman). And I thought, "Well, this isn't so bad." It had a story behind it, there was some thought and a little emotion in there, and I must've liked it a little, 'cause I bought the short story collection, which I read during a night shoot for Flags of Our Fathers on the Universal lot.

So the other night, I went to Merrill's house, and he and his wife were watching I, Robot . . . and I was absolutely floored. What a big brown undulating turd, folks. All stupid lowbrow special effects pushing any thought, depth, or sentiment right out the window. Will Smith's dialogue had been lifted from every other movie he'd made, which had gotten their dialogue from a Brooklyn pick up basketball game. I don't know how I could've been so wrong.

But Merrill felt the complete opposite, and actually said, and I quote, "They could have taken Asimov's stories and made a big stupid explosion-fest out of them, but instead, they took the heart of those stories and made a good movie out of them."

I don't know, everybody's entitled to their opinion, and people often tell me my head is exploring my own body cavity, but wow, man, that just makes me sad. I Robot may be worse than I ever thought it was. Worse than Batman & Robin. Almost as bad as The Avengers.

But then, I may have just had a bad day.

So, speaking of big budget movies with robots and soul-free trailers . . . in an entry not too long ago, I talked about The Transformers and the dumb guys who said it was the upcoming flick they were most excited about. I wondered how it could possibly be a good movie, with everything I saw stacked against it.

But the film came out this week, and people are saying it's THE movie of the summer* (I've also heard people say it's the best summer movie in years, but most people who talk like that can't remember anything prior to April 2005). Judging from the buzz and the reviews, I thought I might be wrong on this.

Even tyranist went and saw it. He wrote, in his review, "I enjoyed it. Some of the dialogue was a bit cheesy, but the action was top notch and the robots truly impressive. Asian children have green blood. The plot moved nicely and made sense. Megan Fox is stunning. I hate all people with dark skin. I thought it was A LOT of fun and a pretty well put together movie. And I'm trying not to be TOO superlative. It was BETTER than my expectation." (emphasis and racist comments added)

Well, I can't be left out, I guess I'd better go see it. I don't want to be the guy who's left behind on this, the way I am on so many other things. But what if I was wrong before? What if Transformers is great? Do I dare risk that? Seriously. I'm almost tempted NEVER to see it just to not be proved wrong.

We'll see.

Rish "Mr. Roboto" Outfield

*I believe Peter Travers of the Rolling Stone said the film will be looked back on as the benchmark work of art of the 21st Century.

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