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Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

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Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby Biddybot » Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:21 pm

Hi, all. Well, I finally got to watch Dark Of The Moon, the 2D version. I got all pumped for this one too. Rewatched my copies of the first two movies several times…spoiled myself silly by reading a couple of plot synopsis and some of the fan forums to know which tidbits to especially watch for…you get the picture. All in all, I was really anticipating having a fine ol’ time at the theatre because DOTM sounded to me like it was going to be another Revenge Of The Fallen and for me that was a GOOD thing. But instead…

Instead, I wound up feeling depressed.

It took me most of the hour’s drive home afterwards to figure out why. Now, objectively, I still do think that this new film has more in common with ROTF than with the first Transformers movie. What I saw was lots of time spent on the mundane human stuff again, most of it flavoured with the same juvenile level of humour as before, interspersed with spells of fun, great-to-look at action and the odd stab at a serious scene, which I could never take seriously at all in ROTF, given the overwrought and obvious, cartoon-styled manner in which they were always presented. I was enjoying DOTM the exact same way at first—heh! more live-action craziness, bring it on! Then the Sentinel Prime character was brought out of stasis. And sucked all the frivolity out of every scene he was in after that.

The hell of it is that I’d been prepared to kind of laugh at Sentinel Prime. I mean, the beard and mustache? Why? He’s a robot! What was the point? And was he supposed to be another one of these improbable geezer robots at that, a sort of junior-senior to Jetfire’s ready-to-kick-the-bucket senior? Thank goodness it turned out that I’d gotten an entirely wrong impression of him off the photo stills and descriptions and that any silliness dropped away the instant he finally sprang into action. Once he did…wow! What a great-looking character! That face I’d thought too humanistic and goofy? Just wonderfully expressive. And he could ACT, his voice-actor could act, with not a shred of ha-ha about him. I was astonished by how arresting he was and by how much I wound up liking him.

Do you know why the Lord Of The Rings movie trilogy was so successful and why so many people who normally don’t care for fantasy enjoyed it? It’s because the folks who made LOTR were smart enough to make it a drama first, one which just happened to take place in a fantastical setting. Sentinel Prime in some aspects reminded me of that—he was an excellent dramatic actor first and foremost, who just happened to be an intelligent transforming alien robot to boot. He’s for sure the first adult-level, dead-serious depiction of a Transformer which I’ve ever seen, at least in my estimation of what constitutes ‘adult’.

Another thing I thought great about Sentinel Prime was that he seemed to draw a show of genuine drama from anyone interacting with him as well. Most often this involved Optimus Prime, and I must applaud Optimus’s own voice-actor, Peter Cullen, for rising to the occasion every time. There was one scene in particular, the first time they really clashed and Sentinel beat Optimus down onto his knees, which I found heart-breaking…Optimus actually sounded faint with shock as he pleaded with Sentinel to reconsider, just a devastating moment for him. I think it was also the turning point for Optimus, the scene after which he finally boxed up all his usual compassion and kindness and tucked it away for later until he’d finished stepping up like Atticus Finch to destroy all the rabid dogs threatening his community. But I doubt I would have gotten or been so moved by a performance by Optimus if Sentinel Prime hadn’t been there first for Optimus to play off.

The flip side of getting snippets like this, of course, was that the rest of the movie started to seem—I’m sorry—pretty stupid and superficial to me by comparison. It soon became almost like flipping between two TV channels, a minute here of Schindler’s List, then ten minutes of Spongebob Squarepants. Not that there’s the slightest thing wrong with Spongebob Squarepants either. It just doesn’t go well with certain types of other entertainment offerings…there’s too much clash of tone and content. The gravity of Sentinel’s scenes became so much more appealing to me that I eventually started to resent the same goofy stuff I was snickering at earlier. Even the sight of Starscream flailing around like a drunken chicken during his long, played-for-yuks--well, you KNOW which scene—didn’t elicit a single laugh from me. Then I started feeling bad for feeling resentful!

I dunno… Maybe I was just feeling especially womany that afternoon when I watched DOTM. Or maybe I’ve got more emotion invested in this live-action incarnation of Optimus Prime than I thought I did—he is my favourite. All I know for certain is that I was riveted by Sentinel’s performance throughout and that the pain he dealt Optimus with his monstrous betrayal often had me cringing…hell, I even winced when Sentinel smacked Megatron…Megatron, of all people! Worst of all in the end was knowing that a serious adult drama involving Transformers characters CAN be done and that the perfect setup for such had been there, right there in DOTM, all the ingredients already lined up, but none of it was developed and it WON’T ever be developed because the movie market for a serious version of Transformers is just too small to be commercially viable. So yeah, these are the reasons why I think DOTM ultimately depressed me... I think…

It would be nice to know that I’m not entirely alone in feeling the way I do or even hear that maybe you think I’m nuts, that you think I’m being ridiculous. Either way, thanks for putting up with this long and whining debut rant from one of your long-time lurkers and for investing some of your time to read this far. I couldn’t have confessed this to anyone but another Transformers fan.
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby 5150 Cruiser » Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:43 pm

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So first go from people complaining there isn't enough robot charachter development, to there being to much character development. :roll: I wonder if anyone in the movie industry will ever take the fandom seriously.
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby Firebrand » Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:14 pm

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5150 Cruiser wrote:So first go from people complaining there isn't enough robot charachter development, to there being to much character development. :roll: I wonder if anyone in the movie industry will ever take the fandom seriously.


That wasn't at all what he was talking about. If you tl;dr'd this post then don't reply at all.

One a second note, I completely agree with the original poster's opinion on this. Its a shame the whole movie couldn't be like Sentinel's performance, instead it is marred by superfluous silliness and pointless contrivances.
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby Burn » Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:35 pm

Yeah see, I can't agree with the comparison to LOTR.

Lord of the Rings was written, by what many consider, one of the great authors of history. His books sold before and continue to sell after the movies, and with The Hobbit around the corner, the interest in them will be there again.

Transformers was written by Hollywood writers. These are guys that will NEVER be regarded as literary authors.

So to you can't compare LOTR to Transformers, one is the adaption of books written by a great author, the other is written by a pair of two-bit over-rated hacks and a guy that probably won't do much else.
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby Rodimus Prime » Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:17 pm

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Decepticon_Vandal wrote:
5150 Cruiser wrote:So first go from people complaining there isn't enough robot charachter development, to there being to much character development. :roll: I wonder if anyone in the movie industry will ever take the fandom seriously.


That wasn't at all what he was talking about. If you tl;dr'd this post then don't reply at all.


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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby Treetop Maximus » Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:01 pm

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Well typed, my friend. While Nimoy and Sentinel didn't have this effect on me, I believe you have an interesting viewpoint. Bravo!
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby theraffia » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:45 pm

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His character was spot on to what I was expecting, which is strange because I shouldn't expect amazing things from Bay. Still, Nimmy did a great job and wore that robotic beard proudly.
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby Bonecrusher27 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:44 am

Welcome Biddybot and what a debut post!

I have to agree with most of what you said. On a lighter note, I did think that moustache and beard looked ridiculous when I first saw the concept art, and I actually wondered if we'd get another replay of farting senility. Was I wrong! The character along with his motivations were so well-written I completely forgot about the facial hair. Plus of course, I'm a fan of Leonard Nimoy.
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby Marcdachamp » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:07 am

Wow, what a great post. You really dissected the movie well.

I definitely think Sentinel was the most compelling villain we've had in this series so far. Megatron in the first film was terrifying. A disturbing, demon-like entity that crushed everything in his path. A fantastic first villain that really added a weight to the final battle of the first film, but kind of mindless, in a way. Not in a bad way, though. He fit perfectly as a first film villain.

The Fallen, unfortunately, never had much going for him. We never got much more than a second Megatron-like character. I don't think anyone ever really cared when he died.

Sentinel was a different breed from both. Nimoy perfectly captured a regal, 3-dimensional character that was willing to compromise what he believed in for what he wanted. His interaction with Cullen was fantastic.
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby shamone » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:43 am

5150 Cruiser wrote:So first go from people complaining there isn't enough robot charachter development, to there being to much character development. :roll: I wonder if anyone in the movie industry will ever take the fandom seriously.


and this is why flame wars begin.


but spot on OP, i had same feeling in the movie and mentioned it in my initial review, the tension release was so poor, went from heavy dramatic scenes to god awful humour

this is true from the start of the franchise you had the kickass decepticon attack on the base, stakes have been raised, the transformers have revealed themselves.

Then cut to sam at school, and cue 25 minutes of childish humour
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby 5150 Cruiser » Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:39 pm

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Decepticon_Vandal wrote:
5150 Cruiser wrote:So first go from people complaining there isn't enough robot charachter development, to there being to much character development. :roll: I wonder if anyone in the movie industry will ever take the fandom seriously.


That wasn't at all what he was talking about. If you tl;dr'd this post then don't reply at all.

.



Haha.. NO trolling here. Buuuuutt...... After looking back i can defenatly see how that could have been "bating". My apoligies to the OP. :D

The point is was trying to make is that is was funny to be going from one extreme to another. On one side we have people saying not enough character development, then we go to another extreme were someone says the part was actually played to well, and by comparison, made the rest of the characters seem inferior. I agree that Leonard Nimoy was to Sentinel Prime what Heath Ledger was to the Joker. He was a stand out character, and in many ways did out shine the rest of the TF cast and very much made the movie. BUt i think that was part of the point. Not every character is always going to get the same treatment. I think extra focus was need on Sentinel to deliver the impact that he had. And the fact that Leonard Nimoy voice acted.. Just icing on the cake. IMO, no one could have played the part better. wether or not you like the character design (More human face and beard) is personal taste. To me it was a bit easier to relate his character to the general audience. One moment he seemed like a nobal believer of the autobot cause, next he was a traitor hell bent on enslaving the human race.
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby Wing Saber II » Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:09 pm

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I think Liam Neeson should have voiced him. After all, he already has practice on the whole "Doing what needs to be done" from his part as Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby Blackstreak » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:38 pm

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Sentinel Prime's 'facial hair' is really nothing new. Scourge and his Sweeps and Wreck-Gar all sported the same thing. Of course, cartoon will render them different but I like the 'facial hair' on the live-action because that's what it would be like on robotic lifeforms. The dreads were rockin' too! :grin:
Leonard Nimoy did an excellent job as Sentinel Prime. I love the irony of his betrayal: to save the Cybertronians as a race but betraying his own ideals to do it. Perhaps Sentinel gave in to despair (you should read Thomas Covenant series by Steven R. Donaldson about actions resulting from despair) and it clouded his judgment. But his motives were noble.
Peter Cullen as always did an excellent job portraying the expressions of being betrayed on so many different levels. Sentinel was his mentor, friend, father figure. And it was all betrayed. I think Prime truly understands how to be compassionate and forgiving when situations call for it, but it gets put aside to do some nasty business. To save a race unfortunately requires the extermination of some. And Sentinel had to be removed inspite of his long-term goal.
It is my opinion that DOTM exceeds everything the first two movies tried to accomplish. Meshing together moments of seriousness and moments of tomfoolelry I think is a direct reflection of real life. Everyone goes through all those aspects to one embarrassing degree or another. And everyone goes through the tear-jerking heartbreaks as well.
Personally, whether there is a reboot of the series or a continuation, whoever steps into the director's chair has some big shoes to fill.
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby Biddybot » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:13 pm

Just back from days off and geez! thanks much for all the replies and comments, folks! I’m actually feeling relieved now—I’ve had bizarre responses to movie characters and happenings before and was starting to think that my assessment of Sentinel Prime might fall into the ‘out to lunch/personal hangup’ category. And please, don’t ever mistake my whining about Leonard Nimoy’s unexpectedly serious and dramatic depiction of Sentinel as a genuine complaint. It’s really a massive compliment to the guy. After all, what actor WOULDN’T like to know that someone thinks he outperformed everyone else in a given movie? And did it just using his voice, for Pete’s sake!

I like Sentinel’s moustachioed face now, and in retrospect, wonder if the facial hair in of itself wasn’t something of an in-joke warning of his evil turn to come? I did catch the quick Trek reference in the movie, which was cute…maybe someone was having a bit of fun with Trek’s goatee equals evil bit too. It’s still a very organic looking robot face compared to those of some of the other Autobots though, don’t you think? Optimus’s for example…part of why I like his facial design is because it’s still at best just a mechanical approximation of a human face. I like the whirling machinery you glimpse inside his mouth when he speaks, the moving bits on his head…it’s all very expressive, but in a nicely alien way. Do Autobots develop a more sophisticated, greater ability to modify their external robot-mode appearance as they age? Might explain it… Of course the real answer is probably that the movie’s CGI character designers just wanted to make Leonard Nimoy happy by coming up with something that vaguely looked liked him, so…yeah…

One of the things I did over the weekend was read the novelization of Dark of the Moon. Nothing new, overall, but I’m convinced now: Sentinel Prime really is the first, true grey character the movieverse has come up with, one of those intriguing yet frustrating sorts who straddles the line between conventional good and evil and who’s impossible to neatly categorize. How do you even begin to describe him? Treacherous? Maniacal? A monumental traitor? Or just driven and desperate? Perhaps even…pitiable? Whatever he was and despite my liking for the character, I’m glad Optimus saw fit to play jury, judge and executioner and take him out at the end. No slave gig desired by THIS particular human, thank you!

Thanks again to all of you too. Biddybot out.
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby ishfishmial0 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:31 pm

I think Leonard Nimoy is one of the best actors ever. He really pulled of Sentinel Prime really well.
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby Blast Cannon » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:49 am

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Am I the only person who just didn't 'get' the betrayal? Sentinel and Optimus were supposedly not only comrades, but close friends. And the audience is supposed to believe that Sentinel would go behind Prime's back and betray everything that the Autobots stood for, thousands of years of fighting and essentially kill those whom he had counted as friends throughout the war, in the blink of an eye and without hardly any reasoning?

I just didn't connect with the movie in any way. For me, it was sequence after sequence of BOOM and POW.
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Re: Leonard Nimoy played his part TOO well!

Postby BeastProwl » Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:42 pm

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Burn wrote:Yeah see, I can't agree with the comparison to LOTR.

Lord of the Rings was written, by what many consider, one of the great authors of history. His books sold before and continue to sell after the movies, and with The Hobbit around the corner, the interest in them will be there again.

Transformers was written by Hollywood writers. These are guys that will NEVER be regarded as literary authors.

So to you can't compare LOTR to Transformers, one is the adaption of books written by a great author, the other is written by a pair of two-bit over-rated hacks and a guy that probably won't do much else.

Not all novalizations are the best though. I left "Tales of the guardians" Almost in tears, because I read almost all of them. I was around book 7 or 8 when the movie finally came out. I was soooooo stoked! I wanted to watch it MORE than transformers! I left so disapointed at what they did to the story.....
Sorry, I bet I'm the only one here who even reads these. I'm on 15 right now... only because I don't want it to end.....
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