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Return of the bots

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Movie stars and directors have been conspicuously staying away from Japan since the March 11 disaster, preferring to publicize their films via video messages. However, in a sign that things may be changing, director Michael Bay joined stars Shia LaBeouf and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for the recent Japan premiere of “Transformers - Dark of the Moon” -- albeit in Osaka, rather than Tokyo.

Some 40 TV cameras and over 200 media attended the gala event. LeBeouf, 25, wowed audiences when he greeted them with “Maido,” a word of Osaka dialect that he said he remembered from a previous visit. “I am very happy I was able to come to Osaka,” he gushed. “For guys like me who grew up in the ’80s, ‘Transformers’ is right there with ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Jurassic Park’ as a piece of childhood we don’t often get to revisit.”

Bay, 46, said: “I’m also happy to come to Osaka for the last stop on the world premiere tour. I was very saddened by the disaster that struck Japan and extremely impressed with the courage of the Japanese people, especially those still living in the disaster area. We worked very hard on this film to wrap up this 6-year series. Japan introduced ‘Transformers’ to the world.”

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” opens with the historic American moon landing (actually a mission to investigate a Cybertronian spaceship that crash-landed there). The story spans the globe, with lots of explosions, battles and product placements (especially for Chinese items). LaBeouf’s character and his giant noble Autobot allies have to fight to save humankind from the evil Decepticons led by Sentinel Prime (voiced by Leonard Nimoy).

Bay took a roasting after the second film in the series, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” bombed at the box office in 2009. It won Razzies for worst director, worst script and worst film. Bay admitted he made mistakes on Part 2, but promised that “this one is a lot better.” He said it has more mystery, more heart and more epic.

New cast members include Frances McDormand, John Malkovich and British Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Hungtington-Whiteley, who replaces Megan Fox as the obligatory love interest. In a well-publicized incident, executive producer Steven Spielberg had Fox fired after she compared Bay to Hitler.

Huntington-Whiteley, 24, who was making her first visit to Japan in nine years, said she was thrilled to get the part which signals her feature film debut. “I got to see a totally different me in the film. It was a wonderful experience, a dream come true,” she said.

Continuing the trend for summer blockbusters, “Transformers - Dark of the Moon” is filmed in 3-D. Bay said: "You’ll really see the difference between the robots and humans and feel you are in among them.”

Once again, critics have been negative toward the film. But as Bay told AP in an interview shortly before coming to Japan, “Critics have a field day making fun of me, but people go to my movies in droves. I don’t make movies for critics. You’ve got to do movies that you like and you feel in your gut and hopefully the audience likes.”

“Transformers - Dark of the Moon” opens in Japan on Friday.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


14 Comments
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I don’t make movies for critics.

Yeah, what do critics know. I make movies that appeal to people's basest urges and make a lot of money by doing so. Somebody's gotta do it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I make movies that appeal to people's basest urges and make a lot of money by doing so.

Whats wrong with that? I would GLADLY do that. Also the people are not being FORCED to see it.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," bombed at the box office in 2009.

I believe that "Revenge of the Fallen" was made with a budget of about $200 million. It's U.S. domestic box office gross was about $400 million and it's total world-wide box office gross was about $800 million. I would say that is the opposite of bombing at the box office.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Exciting !!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I would say that is the opposite of bombing at the box office.

Yeah, a $600m profit must have been really depressing for the execs!!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Critics love criticising Michael Bay, but personally I enjoy watching his movies. I can just sit down for a few hours with the family, turn up the volume on the home theatre, and turn off my brain. Great fun. I can't do that with most of the stuff the critics love.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Wow, only a month later than Slovenia. Looks like things can be speeded up when there's a serious bit of thought-provoking culture involved.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

And the film board of Japan is as always INconspicuously keeping the movies away for up to months after release in MANY other nations. My brother-in-law saw this in SK nearly a month ago, and for only 800 yen.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've seen a preview of this CG movie. The preview is more than enough.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And the film board of Japan is as always INconspicuously keeping the movies away for up to months after release in MANY other nations. My brother-in-law saw this in SK nearly a month ago, and for only 800 yen.

I have nothing against it if they kept all thrash Hollywood movies away from us.

But human greediness wont be prevented even by a nuclear accident. American actors and producers are back in japan to promote movies nobody wants to watch. stay in Osaka please or further away, Okinawa is safer.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This Japanese summer top movies have been dominated by Hollywood. If it's not Pirates, Super 8, or HP, now it's gonna be robots, which were ironically based on Japanese toys.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pirates, Super 8, or HP, now it's gonna be robots, which were ironically based on Japanese toys.

I wont see any of these. Movies like these are more annoying than the sound of cicadas. But american moviemakers are also very annoying. Japan is struggling with an enormous crisis here, and they come and say "watch these entertaining movies bevause we want to make profist of you".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Took the family to watch it last night and both my kids fell asleep...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the toys are Japanese. But the names, characters, and story are American.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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