Confused Views: Strictly for chump-core

Matt looks back on the carcasses of Wolverine, Transformers 2 and Terminator Salvation. What's becoming of modern-day audiences, he wonders...?

On a recent trip to Portsmouth I found myself aboard the HMS Victory with a group of people I don’t know very well. They’re friends of my girlfriend, so I have to be nice to them and they have to be nice to me. The peace between us seems very tenuous, but it exists, balanced like a sober Mickey Rourke – safe for now, but always threatening to disappear into the abyss.

Aboard the Victory, the debate raged amongst them about Nelson’s last words, at the very point where he died. “Kiss me, Hardy”, “Kismet, Hardy” or ‘other’ appeared to be the main points that were being made. Now, I can’t claim to have any insight into this subject. I had nothing to offer the conversation, which became quite intense. Given that I don’t know them very well and I don’t think they like me anyway, it seemed foolish to interject with nothing at all. That said, I was becoming very bored. We’d been stood on the spot for some time whilst they each reiterated their point. It’s not like they were going to come to any conclusion. None of them were there anyway, so the idea that any of them had a definitive and correct answer seemed arrogant.

Then, the point was raised, “What you’re saying is nonsense and gibberish, sir. Who would say ‘Kiss me, Hardy’?”

“Stan Laurel?” I questioned.

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I knew that none of them had a sense of humour and that they were having a debate that was of some importance to them, so why would I make a stupid joke to trivialise it? All I achieved was ostracising myself from the group and a brief smirk of amusement from myself. The whole rest of the day was a write-off. I don’t know what my problem is.

I think it’s the same problem, my inability to avoid jabbing the big red self-destruct button, which was responsible for my presence in the Leicester Square Odeon on Saturday afternoon watching Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. I didn’t really like the first one and the second looked awful, too. In fact, nearly all of the big summer movies look terrible this year, so it only makes sense that I’ve managed to see all four of them so far. Fortunately for the Trek-core elite, Star Trek was alright. Everything else has been, well…

It seems as though there’s a big scrap on this year for who can spend the most money on turning out the crappiest film. Transformers this weekend was so awful I wanted to chainsaw pieces of my own face off and use the chunks of flesh to construct a blindfold to shield me from the bad. Unfortunately, I’m not comfortable making that much noise in a cinema and so the chainsaw idea had to be abandoned. I did make a brief effort with a discarded popcorn box but just ended up rubbing salty cardboard onto 40 paper cuts. It hurt, but not enough.

There are so many things to hate about Transformers. The robots themselves look like Meccano mis-shapes as constructed by a handless drunk. Two of the Autobots talk like gangster rappers and during a critical moment of the film Optimus Prime issues the rousing battle cry “Let’s roll!” It’s a series of very stupid events that you can’t even see properly because, apparently, if the cameraman stays still for too long, it violates union regulations and the whole crew gets to strike. Which, to be honest, might have improved the film.

Perhaps the most annoying thing about Transformers: ROTF is its fans. They’re hardcore chumps. They refer to it as T2, like Terminator 2 never happened, and they can only praise the film in obnoxious Americanisms they’ve heard on Friends like ‘totally awesome’ and ‘hello? Best movie ever!’. I’m sure I even heard someone say ‘that scene where the little dog humps the big dog made me do a serious LOL’.

In Leicester Square they applauded after the film. I’m not sure if this audience were such chumps that they actually meant this or if they were only chump enough that they didn’t know what clapping meant. Perhaps everyone had a simultaneous hand spasm. But from where I was sitting it felt like they were condoning the film, which would confirm that Transformers: ROTF is strictly for chump-core audiences.

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Terminator Salvation wasn’t much better. We get a 45 minute montage of explosions and shootouts, some kind of plot that involves Christian Bale shouting very loudly at a pregnant woman and a radio, some naked Austrian grappling and lots more explosions. I do think it’s funny that the Terminators are starting to look more like Transformers, where Transformers seems to be developing Terminator-like Transformers.  This never would have happened on Cameron’s watch.

However, in terms of the shittiest film of the summer so far, it’s Wolverine that is leading the pack (I know, that is awful, but good films get good word play and Wolverine gets ‘leader of the pack’). The film stumbled onto screens after a troubled production and bizarrely-handled Internet leak looking like a once beloved boxing champion in the pitiful twilight of their career: sluggish, confused and in terrible shape. It also had weird-looking ears. Every single character who isn’t Wolverine seems only to be present to advertise a spin-off film. Perhaps the worst part, though, is the last twenty minutes, which seem to feature special effects from Crayola as rendered by a handless drunk.

So where does this leave me for the rest of the summer? Standing in queues in sweltering heat, waiting to buy an overpriced ticket for a film that I know is going to be awful. Why do it to myself? It seems that the captain of the HMS Confused Views is the biggest chump of them all. Drop anchor. Abandon ship. Kiss me, Hardy.