Say what they may (and they will) about the recently released Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but I suspect they’d be singing a different tune if they were the ones laughing their way to the bank right now. In its first five days in IMAX theaters, Transformers 2 set a five-day record of $14.4 million - and that’s only 3.5% of the film's total grosses as of June 28th: $390,240,609.
So if I were Michael Bay, it wouldn’t take too much for me to ignore the harsh criticism that Transformers 2 has garnered - but that hasn’t stopped anyone from trying to get his attention.
THE HIGH SALE OF LOW QUALITY
It didn’t take critics long to start slamming the movie for being juvenile, and what CNN called “...a grotesque exercise in hyperinflation”. Most nay-sayers were reading from the same script, touting the film as a non-stop, action packed, plotless, 147-minute Hasboro commercial that appeals only to 14 year-old boys and their fathers who once owned the toys.
And they’re right, in my opinion. Transformers 2 is everything the critics say it is, and more. It is a Shia La Beouf/Megan Fox vehicle; an opportunity to watch Fox run through the sand in slow motion while La Beouf stammers like some next generation Hugh Grant; and of course, it is a chance to see the toys of our youth have the life-giving breath of CGI breathed into them so they can bang around like junkyard porn.
This is why I was willing to be gouged at the box office for IMAX tickets. Watching this movie made my childhood playthings come to life. And watching Megan Fox bounce through sandy explosions in super slow-mo made another childhood plaything come to life...
I, like so many others (and unlike so many critics), were not surprised to find that this movie wasn’t likely to be awarded an Oscar, nor was it going to warrant attention from any elite festival. So I didn’t leave the theater yammering about how the last 45 minutes of the film were vapid and mind-numbing, or groaning about how Skids and Mudflap were such offensive stereotypes of African Americans that I’m henceforth boycotting Michael Bay and everything Chevrolet. Instead, I left grinning from ear to ear, having gotten exactly what I expected. In fact, had I sat through two hours of insightful dialogue and profound, globally relevant social commentary, I would have left rather peeved.
But the people have spoken. Currently trailing closely behind The Dark Knight’s record grosses, the new Transformers will have its Revenge on the critics as it thunders down the road toward some serious box-office records of its own. And with numbers like these, it's amazing that those involved with the production are still unsure about a third installment.