While visiting my family for Thanksgiving, I had some time to catch up on two summer blockbusters I had skipped this year. Live Free or Die Hard and Transformers were pegged as the two biggest action movies of the summer. (Why did I miss them in theaters? Read why I don't pay for theaters anymore...)
Before either movie had come out, I was busy rolling my eyes at the trailers for each. A *fourth* Die Hard film? Helmed by Len Wiseman, director of the Underworld movies? I like the first Underworld movie... but to make the leap to the cherished Die Hard series was a bit much. Wait, the bad guys are hackers? And Justin Long plays his sidekick?? C'MON! These factors didn't add up to a Die Hard film in my head.
As for Transformers, I don't know why Hollywood keeps resurrecting IP from the 70s and 80s. It was a children's cartoon! Children's cartoon != summer blockbuster! Whoa whoa whoa, Michael Bay is directing? That's it, I'm out. I loved Bad Boys and The Rock, but every movie since has been over-the-top in a bad way. For some reason, people eat that shit up every summer, so who am I to argue against his movies? I can choose not to see them.
Imagine my surprise when these movies came out and received positive reception? I was shocked, but skeptical based on the people who were reporting they liked them. They were saying Live Free or Die Hard was a good ol' American ass-kicking action movie. It filled a hole that has been lacking in the last few years of film releases. I can respect that, but it's not enough to get me to the theater and spend ten bucks.
Five months went by of weekly "OMG you haven't seen Transformers yet?!" comments. They were poised to come out on DVD and I put them up on my Netflix queue. However, getting into November, I knew I would be out of the house a lot for a couple months, and decided to put my Netflix subscription on hiatus until January. Lucky for me, my family had a copy of both movies on DVD while I was visiting for Thanksgiving! I watched both movies back-to-back and here is what I thought-
Live Free or Die Hard = yippie-kai-yay, mother-fucker!
Transformers = one of the worst movies I've ever seen
Die Hard was just plain good. I understood about 30 minutes in what people meant by "good ol' American ass-kicking". It's just fun to watch Bruce Willis shoot some bad guys and blow shit up. Justin Long wasn't annoying at all and the hacking elements had physical manifestations that challenged the protagonists. I was concerned that if the bad guys were hackers, how would they be stopping John McClane?? He is ready and willing to bend you over and "drive this truck up your ass". How colorful. I was pleased with the writers' methods of translating hacking to physical conflicts. It's complete bullshit, but who cares, right? =)
Transformers was god awful. Too many actors, too many characters, not enough plot for 2.5 hours, dialogue and entire scenes that did nothing for plot or character progression, and can anyone tell me why they didn't shove the All Spark cube into Megatron's chest at the first opportunity? The Autobots certainly didn't give a damn that it was gone and it sure took out their worst enemy in five seconds. What's going on there?
You know what else? The CG sucked. I said it. Sucked. Impossible to track which robot is which; they all looked the same! The robots didn't look real at all, however the composition of CG with live footage was fantastic. Big difference.
The only reason to watch Transformers is right here: