Summer is winding down and two of the blockbuster season's biggest entries, Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra have both debuted in theaters to mixed opinion amongst audiences, total lambasting by critics, bale fulls of money made at the box office for Paramount and even more bale fulls made in merchandising by Hasbro, the company whose toys were the inspiration for both films.
But which film was better (read: not as bad as the other)? Even the critics who tore apart both Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe would be hard-pressed to argue that both films are equally as bad. And among you, the fans (or haters), that debate is even more polarized, if our comment sections have been any indication.
So now, for your consideration, Screen Rant is proud to present our first Popcorn Movie Showdown: Transformers 2 vs G.I. Joe!
THE EYE CANDY
OK, so Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen had some of the best-rendered CGI ever to appear on film, hands down. Expect the film to get some kind of (Academy?) award nod for its technical work. And if you've seen Transformers 2 in IMAX, you already know that the "true IMAX" sequences of robot-on-robot action are gorgeous enough to make you almost believe that transforming alien robots do exist. Amazing stuff.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra had some cool f/x moments (most people seemed to enjoy the accelerator suit sequence), but nothing even CLOSE to the level of Transformers 2. The two films are not even on the same plane in that respect. Clearly, the win for best f/x goes to Michael Bay and his team of tech wizards (aka Industrial Light and Magic)...
...But not so fast - the term "eye candy" means more than who had the smoothest CGI. What about the ladies? G.I. Joe had red-hot Rachel Nichols making a big-screen splash, and god bless Sienna Miller for always wearing something tight and revealing in every scene (even when her character was standing in the frozen Artic tundra). Now that's dedication! However, Transformers 2 had the lovely Isabel Lucas and, of course, queen-gorgeous herself, Megan Fox. Even that little toy truck robot wanted to hump her leg; the G.I. Joe ladies got no such love. But hell, in this case, isn't a visual aid better? Decide for yourself:
The Ladies of G.I. Joe:
The Ladies of Transformers 2:
Winner: In every sense, Transformers 2 was the prettiest belle at the ball.
So let's just come clean: Both so-called scripts for these movies were half-baked hams that couldn't even pass for coherent if they were reviewed by the blind and deaf. And that's putting it mildly. It was a shame, too, because both scripts were written by some of the industry's best and brightest talent: Transformers 2 was scribed by (two of my favorites) Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Fringe, Star Trek), while G.I. Joe was written by Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean, 30 Days of Night).
So what went so wrong that we ended up suffering the go-stop-go pace of Transformers 2 and the make-you-cringe dialogue of G.I. Joe? Or worse yet, The Twins? No doubt the pain we're feeling now rippled out from the WGA Strike of 2007, when studios pushed their writers to finish the job quick-fast in order to get all scripts possible into production (in whatever half-cooked state they were in) before the impending strike left the studios without any tentpoles for Summer '09. I like to think I'm a pretty good writer myself and I can tell you: It doesn't matter if you're freaking Shakespeare - if you aren't allowed sufficient time and space to write a story right, it isn't going to turn out right.
Now we know. And knowing is half the battle. Hollywood: Pay those writers what they're owed. We've all been officially reminded why good writing matters (don't let those big box office receipts fool you).
Winner: G.I. Joe at least kept things moving lightly and quickly enough for (most of us) to forget that we were watching a half-cooked story - so long as nobody was talking. At least the plot was easy to follow: Tug-of-war over destructive warheads between good guys and bad guys. Simple. Transformers 2 had me scratching my head so hard, so often, my scalp started to bleed (what was the point of having The Fallen in there? Anybody?).