Location: Los Angeles, California

Saturday, July 07, 2007

John McClane vs. Optimus Prime

Saw a double-feature of "Live Free or Die Hard" and "Transformers" today. Needless to say, I'm all actioned-out now.

It's interesting to compare the two movies. Even though they exist in entirely the same genre, their approaches couldn't be more different. One movie was surprisingly entertaining, witty, and relevant, while the other was relentlessly loud, dumb, and headache-inducing.

One relied on human stunts. It seemed grounded in some sort of actual reality, with a plot that seemed believable and threatening enough to sustain its kick-ass action adrenaline. It had a central character who was repeatedly surprised by his own ability to survive one ridiculous situation after another - an "analog" man who manages to grunt his way through an overwhelmingly digital world.

The other movie was all digital, zilch human. It couldn't care less about its human characters, and neither could we. Yet, its expensive CGI creations, while initially nifty in their shiny appearance, grew tiresome. It doesn't help that these machines, while representing an advanced civilization beyond mankind's wildest dreams, are saddled with a vernacular as cliched as a Saturday morning cartoon (did one of them really start monologuing about the virtues and weaknesses of the human race?).

Yes, Optimus Prime wasn't kidding when he said that at the end of the day, one shall stand and one shall fall.

"Live Free or Die Hard" - *** (out of ****)
"Transformers" - *1/2 (out of ****)


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