Critics have universally panned "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," taking issue with the script, the acting and some have questioned the need for pair of racially insensitive robots -- and all of the sexual innuendo.
I think the critics have it mostly wrong. Apparently, you do, too.
After five days, the movie has raked in more than $200 million domestically and is well on its way to the $400 million club, the kind of U.S. business only eight films in history have done.
And the thing is, this movie isn't directed at the critics. It's directed at the pre-teens and teens who will enjoy all the shots of Megan Fox bent over motorcycles or in white jeans that appear painted on; kids who will enjoy the Animal House humor and the reefer jokes. They're not for those of us with 401Ks and a need to check the dependent box on our 1040s every spring.
Taken in that context, I'd say the movie hits its mark -- with a bullseye.
Tuesday afternoon, I took my son and his friend to see the film. The kids are both nine. I actually thought all the sex talk and sex play -- and there was a lot of it -- might be a little much. Then I thought maybe all the violence -- and there was an awful lot of it -- might be a little much. Many, many people die, and die spectacularly. The special effects in this one, particularly a huge U.S. warship going down after being slapped by a bad robot, are eye-dropping.
Both kids loved it. My son told me he's not sure if he loved (the critically praised) "Star Trek" or Transformers II more. But one thing he did like better: seeing the robots in IMAX. We saw Star Trek at Phillips Place, on a regular surround sound screen.
I'm not sure how Transformers plays in normal theaters, but in the IMAX at the Stonecrest Theater on Rea Road, it is spectacular. You walk in the theater and there's hardly any room for that brown curtain to cover part of the screen. The screen runs wall to wall and nearly floor to ceiling. You have to sit back a little to take it all in.
You remember the first time you saw a really good HDTV picture, when everyone had square TVs? That's kind of like the feeling you get walking into the IMAX for the first time. Everything is sharper, bigger.
The experience isn't as mind-blowing as at Discovery Place, where you're laid back and the IMAX screen nearly wraps around you, but it's close. The sound is amazing. And loud. The images are crystal clear and huge.
The only part I really hated was paying $37 to get in. That's $15 for adults and $11 for children. At the 12:20 matinee.
So after I bought the kids two Cookie Dough candy boxes for $8 total -- and those little things are devilishly good -- I was set back darn near a car payment.
At that point, I probably would've enjoyed "Fried Green Tomatoes." But Transformers was what I expected. A light, if somewhat predictable story with great special effects and a few loud out loud funny moments.
I could've done without the two jive talking robots, who claimed they couldn't read (a little too stereotypical). I was surprised this movie got past all the screeners and nobody ever said, "Hey, you think we might be upsetting folks for no reason here?"
Thankfully, those bots don't dominate the screen time, and thankfully this movie wasn't as bad as I was led to believe.
Critics “forget what the goal of the movie was. The goal of the movie is to entertain and have fun,” Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount told the Associated Press. “What the audience tells us is, ‘We couldn't be more entertained and having more fun.'”
According to Paramount's exit polls, 91 percent of the audience thought the sequel was as good as or better than the first “Transformers,” which got far better reviews.
All I know is on Imax, Transformers II, for me, was mindless fun, a nice getaway on a hot Tuesday afternoon: exactly what I wanted it to be.