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May 14 2010

Alan Tudyk joins Transformers 3. The Wrap.com says the cast list for Transformers 3 now includes our favorite Active and spaceship pilot, Alan Tudyk. No word yet on what he'll do or what the plot will be. And in related news, Deadline.com says that NBC has passed on The Rockford Files pilot (which co-starred Alan).

The movie has a pretty good line-up including John Malkovich, Patrick Dempsey and Frances McDormand.

Bwahahahaha! You said "plot".
Haha, "plot", nice catch danregal. :P
Seriously these movies are just plain bad. Megan Fox should probably enjoy this film shooting as much as she can cause this will probably be her last starring role. She proved she is not a bankable star.

Transformers plot synopsis: Explosions, Hack writing, terrible exposition.
I thought the first movie was great entertainment. The second is definitely one of the worst movies I've ever seen... EVER (just have to stress that). Good for Alan, but this will be a no-go for me.

[ edited by hitnrun017 on 2010-05-14 01:06 ]
They're both pretty terrible flicks.
Paycheck. Good for Alan.
Role in a high-profile, money-raking franchise juggernaut? Priceless. Quality aside, big win for Alan.
Yeah I call it a win. From the very first mention of a Transformers movie, you knew that the plot didn't matter so much as long as we get to see automobiles turn into robots and kick the crap out of each other. It was the perfect Michael Bay movie. The problem was that the first movie turned out halfway decent. Had the second movie been the first movie, we would have gotten what we expected, but since it came behind the first movie, it was crap.
The movies are amazing because giant transforming robots are just freakin' cool no matter how you look at it.

I go to Whedon's work when I want depth, plot, and characterization. When I want to see giant robots beating the crap out of each other, the Transformers franchise delivers (in all of its forms).

Really happy for Tudyk here. I actually hope he'll be doing voice work, because the human characters in the films are so incredibly boring.
My bet's on him portraying someone's left leg.
It has John Malkovich and Frances McDormand too? Wow, that must be a huge paycheck for them, as respected actors, to star in the sequel to the most reviled movie of 2009.
The ol' Wash expression "we're humped" takes on a whole new - er, old meaning. This is good news because it will get him some exposure. This is bad news because Transformers (under Michael Bay) sucks. Also, look at how much Tom Lenk got to show off his acting chops in the first one. Anyone even remember his character's name? Or any other non-Transformer non-Witwicky character's name? Hell, I don't even remember Megan Fox's character's name. Or anything about her personality other than "she knows cars".
Where was I? Oh, congrats to Alan.

[ edited by GreatMuppetyOdin on 2010-05-14 02:19 ]
See, it'd be fine if it was just giant robots beating the crap out of each other. Instead, what we got in the first movie, was bad acting from the human lead actors, an F-grade love story, and shapeless and indistinguishable CGI-blobs which probably were doing something that unfortunately got lost somewhere between the rapid-fire editing and all the redundant background explosions.

So it came as quite a shock that, somehow, the second movie managed to be even worse, by throwing casual racism and even more insultingly bad plotting into the mix. However: I did manage to enjoy it a lot more. That was partly due to the fact that the (still shapeless) CGI-blobs were somewhat more distinguishable and partly because the rapid-fire editing was ever so slightly less rapid. It probably also helped that at that point my expectations could really hardly have been any lower, whereas the trailer to the first movie looked great (and I'd been a total Transformers-fan growing up).

In all fairness, I really do get the: 'sometimes I just want to be entertained' argument, and it's often very valid. I love myself some dumb entertainment. It's refreshing to watch stuff that doesn't try to be 'good', but instead is very good at being entertaining. Unfortunately: the Transformer movies don't fall into that category. They just try to be entertainment and end up being an unsavory mess. Although Transformers 2 does manage to get to the old 'it's so bad, it's actually quite a lot of fun'-level.

One silver lining in all this: at the very least, Alan can be secure in the knowledge that whatever he does, the movie simply can't turn out worse than the previous one. In fact, given the new line-up, this might even end up having some decent acting, even if that will probably be inter-cut with Baywatch-style slow-mo shots of Megan Fox running.

[ edited by GVH on 2010-05-14 02:35 ]
Maybe they're bringing him aboard to replace Tom Lenk as analyst #3? Or with any luck he's going to play a the role that gets a quip or summation of a story point that ends up in every single trailer. (but is it going to be "I'm way under-dressed" or "Mr. President-- all robots are attacking all humans" if we're luckly and they borrow from John Hodgman?)
Why are there so many good performers attached to this?!
Glenn - "The Marriage Ref" also gets high profile stars. I think it must be greenback-induced! :)
Hey - it worked for Sir Alec Guinness.



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Aw. This makes me sad. Now I'll have to WATCH it.
These are just so frakking bad! And you'll bet Michael Bay is writing and directing too x( Nevertheless, I have to watch it. Come on! Alan's in it!
GVH: Fair enough. I paid no attention to the human characters in either of the films. I greatly enjoyed the second film because one of my friends whom I was seeing it with was unable to control herself at one of the robots posing as a girl, freaking out and getting popcorn everywhere when the girl suddenly had a metallic tail. So whenever I see or even think about the second Transformers film, the memory of my friend screaming "WHAT THE F&$* SHE HAS A TAIL WTF IS GOING ON?!" arises. And I enjoy it. =)

I guess that's more of a testament to my friend than the movie itself, but I will always enjoy the movie now because of that memory.

I agree that the CGI blobs were more defined in the second film. I also enjoyed it more than the first. But I cried when Autobot Jazz died. =(

And let's not even get into the "casual racism" of the second film. I really think people are too sensitive about these things (and I'm speaking as a biracial American citizen).

Edit: And come on, the Mt. dew Transformer was priceless.

[ edited by Waterkeeper511 on 2010-05-14 04:42 ]
I never understood all the hate for the Transformer movies. It never claimed to be Shakespeare. The trailers were essentially, "We have robots. They turn into cars and blow each other up. Come watch." I, personally, went to both movies and enjoyed myself immensely. Sometimes I'm in the mood for really intelligent, well-written dramas. And sometimes I just want two hours of pretty people looking distressed and robots sucker punching each other in the face. Screw plot.
I really enjoyed the Transformers 2 trailer. It was one heck of a decent dark 30 seconds!

And then the movie came out and quickly changed that...


Good news for Alan - bad news for those of us who were hoping to avoid T3 but now must watch it 'cause we love Alan so much.
I've seen the first Transformers and for the life of me I can't remember anything about it apart from the Special Effects looked really good.
I'm glad that Alan managed to land such a high-profile project.
NBC passed on The Rockford Files so no Alan on the telly for now. I'll add that bit of news to the entry.

http://www.deadline.com/2010/05/primetime-pilot-panic-rockford-files-is-now-dead-at-nbc/
Sad to see such a talented thesp join such a creatively-bankrupt and empty project/franchise.
And sometimes I just want two hours of pretty people looking distressed and robots sucker punching each other in the face. Screw plot.


Fair enough, Kon4MItY, but the one thing in this line of reasoning I don't get (and which I alluded to in my previous post as well), is this: does it then not matter what ever the heck happens in a movie, as long as there's a few explosions, some robots and some pretty people?

Could - say - the pretty people stand around looking confused for 2 hours and do nothing, while 2 robots duke it out in the background and we get some occasional out-of-the-blue cool looking explosions? I'd say: probably not.

Because even with so-called dumb fare without any pretensions, most of us still like our movies to at least be well made, instead of having a nonsense plot (it can be simple and dumb and lack depth all it wants, but I like it to at least make some semblance of sense), confusing action scenes (I payed to watch giant, cool robots duke it out, not see a confusing jumble of somethings doing something) and incredibly bad acting (having a dumb/pretensionless movie doesn't mean one of the lead characters - in this case, I'm mostly talking about Megan Fox - get to just forget to act. It certainly doesn't have to be an Oscar worthy, nuanced performance, but there's still standards, y'know :)).

The thing is: there's plenty of great/fun, well-made action movies. Take a look at the recent Iron Man 2, for instance (and there's plenty more examples where that one came from). It's not going to win any awards, but there's some great lines, a nice story that makes sense, some good acting and some great looking action scenes. Or look at an oldschool action flick like Die Hard, or something like 'Back to the Future', etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. All those movies aren't trying to be Shakespeare either, but they're still miles above 'Transformers 2' :).

Now it's fine to enjoy Transformers - heck, I managed to really enjoy part 2, despite it being one of the worst things I ever saw - and it's also fine to disagree with me that they're bad (In fact, it's always fine to disagree with me. Sometimes it might even be wise ;)). But what I don't get is saying that these movies don't need to be good, because they're 'just' entertaining action/sci-fi flicks. That's just selling yourself and the genre short, in my opinion.
If a movie does not have depth/layers to it or developed-enough of characters than I don't care how visually-enticing it is; that will always equal a big fail for me.

I may have too high of standards for the art I consume but that is just the way I roll (... and I never use that phrase, by the by!).
The second film annoyed the crap out of me. The first film I really enjoyed for the first three quarters. T1 made me like Shia for a little while and T2 destroyed that but made me hate Michael Bay way more than Megan Fox. How weird would it be to film the gratuitous Sexy Megan Fox + Friends for Teenage Boys(tm) scenes? I can't imagine Bay, looking like he does (no real offense/meaning behind that statement), wanting to do so many of them scenes. Which, apart from the globetrotting, ridculous "I love you" story and undistinguishable robots made me hate the film.

When I found out it was a Orci/Kurzman story I felt betrayed. I haven't read their script but to me it seems almost like an Alien Resurrection situation - Bay KILLED their writing skillz, which they have because they wrote Star Trek (2009) which was one of my favourite movies of last year. And Fringe. This being said, I've read interviews with them and they did write some weird things, but in, probably, a more cohesive manner... hopefully.

Ignoring all that, Welcome Alan Tudyk! I'm going to hope you get some killer lines.
The first two movies were just godawful. At the urging of some friends, I decided to see the first one which among other things, was way too long and gave me a headache by the time it was over. Avoided the second one completely because of toxic word-of-mouth.

Now I'll have to see the third one. Not just because of Tudyk, but also since Frances McDormand and Patrick Dempsey are in it.
Agreed that 'Orci/Kurzman' certainly have skills Jaymii, but it's not like 'Star Trek' was so great simply on the basis of its script. In fact, I felt that - certainly in the second half - that was one of its weaker points. Not in dialogue, but certainly in plotting.

For instance: how Kirk goes from cadet-who-has-to-be-smuggled-unto-the-Enterprise, to captain of the ship - bypassing many others who are probably equally or more suited to the job - is something that still baffles me every time I watch the movie. (Or: the incredible unlikeliness of Kirk and old!Spock finding each other on that enormous ice planet).

The movie is saved by having genuine fist-pumping moments of win (and one of the two best opening sequences of any major movie that year - the other one was the tear-inducing first bit of 'Up'), which we can of course also credit Orci/Kurzman for, as well as by a great score and very competent direction by Abrams.

So, like I said: Orci and Kurzman certainly aren't bad writers and they do have a feel for great set-pieces, but it's not like they never slip. I have no trouble imagining Bay taking their script for Transformers 2, and making it worse (those gratuitous Megan Fox panning shots and slow-mo scenes were almost certainly all him, for instance), but I doubt it was any kind of stellar achievement before he got his hands on it either :).
I think this is great news. But he's a guest at Hallowhedon con in October, and this shoots September- I'm thinking the chances of me meeting Alan at the con now are pretty slim. Gutted.
The problem with the "I just want to see giant robots fighting" argument is that 1) the robot design for the Transformers movies is absolutely horrendous and 2) Bay's direction makes the action incomprehensible. They lack value even as blast-em-up fan-service. I honestly enjoyed the GiJoe movie more, and that was a huge stinker.
I don't think action movies should be judged by a different yardstick. There are tons of action movies that are smart, funny, well written, well directed, well acted, and entertaining on all levels. Action does not have to = stupid. Stupid is just stupid.
The movie franchise may be a big fail (creatively, I mean), but I wouldn't write off the whole Transformers franchise. Yes, it was based on a toyline (so were/are a lot of cartoons, but amazingly the folks that're tasked with writing them sometimes produce some worthwhile storytelling anyway), but a lot of well-respected writers in animation worked on the original, 4-season `80s cartoon (and the bridge film, the original TF film that was released to theatres, that happened between Seasons 2 and 3) and once in a while, they produced some good/genuinely entertaining sci-fi writing. This isn't just 5-to-8-year-old-me's nostalgia talking, I gave the `80s series a re-watch in the early part of the 2000s. The bulk of the eps are throwaway, but there were some gems (you could probably edit the series down into one season's worth of episodes and then be able to point to a better product. It's not like you'd be losing out on too many critical plot developments by excising more than half of it, and character development was almost nil). Usually the space-faring/eps-set-on-Cybertron stories fared better than the Earth-based ones, for some reason. And the animated movie still holds up and has a great soundtrack, IMO.

For all the flak it got for making most of the characters have animal transformations (instead of vehicles like most of the TFs in the original, although there were beast modes in the `80s series as well), the `90s Transformers series/continuations/spin-offs Beast Wars/Beast Machines took the writing up a few dozen notches. The continuation has its bits of cheese too--there's slapstick among some of the situational comedy throughout, plus it started off being aimed squarely at children/feeling like its own independant maybe-reimagining of The Transformers, until they started playing to fans of the original series as well and got one heck of a series-long story arc in gear (really nice to see in an action-adventure drama cartoon, but not something I expect from episodic comedy like The Simpsons or Looney Tunes). The characters were a lot better fleshed out than almost all of the ones in the original `80s series (yeah, I know, tons of folks have a boner for Optimus Prime and cried when he died when they were kids and all that, but aside from being a good leader character and having a great-sounding voice actor, he's just a little flat as a person).

I haven't seen more than a few minutes of the Japanese Transformers cartoons, the ones that came in the late `90s/early-to-mid-`00s. They had nothing to do with the `80s and `90s shows, were complete reboots of the franchise, and didn't seem like they offered anything worthwhile in the kinds of stories they were telling.

I think I enjoyed the first movie okay, for what it was. As a fanboy, it sucked that Megatron was barely in the film. It was fun to see a live-action take on it, I guess.

The second film, though it brought some popular elements from the original series in (The Matrix, a big brawl in which Megatron kills Prime, a female TF/Arcee, etc), just felt off and overdone, for the most part. The thing about the potential racism of the "brother" bots...eh, Ironhide was made to have a British voice in the first film (in the cartoon, he had a US-Southern voice, so there was precedent for "ethnic"-sounding characters even before the films were added to the TF franchise, even though none of these characters were born on Earth--although the fact that they learned human speech by listening in on radio transmissions probably explains it well enough). I dunno...the "brotha"-bots were more just annoying than particularly offensive, IMO. Probably the worst element of the second film.

The franchise didn't have to suck in live-action/CGI form. If they can make good movies about aliens and extreme natural/widespread-biological disasters occasionally, why not giant robots ? (to be accurate, the Transformers are aliens, so I guess it would fit under that heading--alien-featuring sci-fi). But...almost overwhelmingly bad acting + weak plots with too many MacGuffins & rushed explanations = mindless blow 'em up. Which is fine, if that's what you're in the mood for. I had definitely lowered my expectations before the first film came out, but knowing what the franchise was capable of producing from having witnessed it occasionally on TV, I had a little hope that some of that might bleed through.

I'll still be going to the third one in theatres, most likely.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-05-14 19:44 ]

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