If you were stuck on a long lost island somewhere with no wireless connection you could be forgiven for having no clue about the second installment of actor Shia LaBeouf’s gold dust blockbuster, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The success of the first movie exceeded all expectations with worldwide ticket sales at $700 million, leaving backers DreamWorks and Paramount pictures frothing at the mouth with the prospect of the sequel topping that mark. According to Transformers director, Michael Bay, the sequel cost $400 million (including marketing) to make and shows off some of the best special effects around today. The film hasn’t garnered the best of reviews but then Bay isn’t exactly trying to sell Hamlet here. Bay reaches for the 13-year-old male jugular and doesn’t let go. It has all the bells and whistles to keep the franchise running halfway into the next decade with LaBeouf as cute but regular nerd boy, Sam Witwicky, Megan Fox in a limited role as feminine eye candy and girlfriend, Hugo Weaving (V for Vendetta, The Matrix, The Adventures of Pricilla Queen, of the Dessert) as the voice of the evil Megatron, and Josh Duhamel (Las Vegas) as soldier hero, Captain Lennox.
What bugs me about making a movie for 13 year-old boys is that it is these very teenagers who have little to no disposable income, the same broke teenagers who turn to illegal downloads or web casting sites that air home HD pirated cinema copies, who thus stay away from theatres. There is a huge demographic out there with a pot of retirement funds, just waiting for Hollywood to make a movie for them. But instead, these retirees are stuck at home watching re-runs of old movies, holding on to their dough, all the while wondering why today’s Hollywood is catered for penniless teenagers.
In interviews, straight talking LaBeouf has made no secret to the fact that he and all the other actors in the film are playing second fiddle to machines. LaBeouf can certainly act, as we’ve seen in Eagle Eye and
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, and Transformers, regardless that it’s a film about toys, has brought LaBeouf the kind of global recognition that actors in Hollywood can only dream of.
LaBeouf is currently working on director Oliver Stone’s sequel to 1987’s Wall Street, with the clunky titled, Money Never Sleeps, and starring along side Hollywood big guns, Michael Douglas, who won an Oscar for his role as Gordon Gekko, and Javier Bardem.