Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Anthing Chris Nolan can do, Michael Bay can do better?

In the realm of not-very surprising news, Michael Bay has announced his intention to shoot several scenes for Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen in IMAX film. For some reason, I didn't mention this possibility in my Iron Man 2 IMAX 3D article earlier this month, but the rock-sock-em robots sequel did seem the next likely tent pole film to go this route. And frankly, Transformers 2 could be even more tailor-made for this process than The Dark Knight. Even as someone who hated Transformers and loved The Dark Knight, I must concede that the technical aspects of Transformers were beyond compare. The robots were basically supporting characters in their own movie, and there wasn't nearly enough robot action to balance out the campy, cliched character arcs and tone-deaf comedy, but the rare out-and-out robot smackdowns were truly impressive. This is the exact opposite case of The Dark Knight. Does anyone really have a favorite action sequence in that film? Did anyone come out of the theater blathering about 'that one scene where Batman went to Hong Kong, jumped off a building, punched out five guys, and escaped on a zip line'?

People loved the story, loved the characters, and loved the acting. But the choppy actions scenes, while less Paul Greengrass-y than Batman Begins, were no one's highlight. And, truthfully, they were rendered even harder to follow on a giant IMAX screen (Nolan probably sensed this, as he had Morgan Freeman basically narrate the climactic construction site brawl). Actually, has any Batman film ever contained a truly stunning action sequence? Transformers, on the other hand, is all about empty spectacle, so the giant screen format will be a huge bonus. Frankly, I'm surprised that Bay isn't going for 3D this time to boot. I'd imagine that the CGI robotics would be much easier to convert to 3D than the practical car chases and explosions of The Dark Knight (I'll let someone else discuss the added incentive for the core audience seeing Megan Fox in 3D). Furthermore, Paramount's main summer competition, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, has already announced that its climax will be in 3D yet again.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how the two biggest movies of the summer will split IMAX screens, as they will open less than a month apart. If Paramount really wants long-term playability, then maybe they ought to consider moving up the release date. I'd imagine that Transformers 2 would threaten the three-day opening weekend record no matter when in summer it opened, so maybe an early June berth might be in order. This does bring up an interesting problem. As more and more event films decide to go the IMAX route (and make no mistake, Nolan has opened the floodgates), how will the limited number of IMAX screens deal with competing product when this because the norm for tent pole films?

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

Anders said...

Firstly, welcome to the LAMB! I'm thoroughly enjoying reading your opinions.

Whilst i agree that Transforms was just a hollow spectacle, i actually think the action sequences in The Dark Knight were quite memorable as well. The batmobile/bat bike scene -especially when joker is firing rockets at him - along with the mentioned Tokyo scene were both great. Whilst not an action sequence, the moment the Joker walks out of the hospital as it explodes is truly something. I do agree though that the concluding action scene was difficult to follow and the the film's appeal lies in every other aspect it does so well in...but I still think the action sequences held their own.

Anyway, thanks for the read.
Check out my blog at cutprintreview.com if you get a chance!

Cheers,
Anders.

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