Just when you thought it was safe to watch this year's Super Bowl commercials, Michael Bay decides to remind everyone why he's Michael Bay. And that's not a knock at the blockbuster director. In fact, it's a compliment. There are just a handful of filmmakers who can weld stunts and visual effects to create images on the big screen as iconic as Bay can and when he's on, he's hard to ignore. After appearing to be a rut the last go around, the latest clip for "Transformeres: Dark of the Moon" makes Bay and star Shia LaBeouf's claims the third installment in the franchise will be much better than "Revenge of the Fallen" seem pretty fair…so far.
Originality on the story, dialogue and comedy fronts haven't been a strong suit of the "Transformers" franchise to date, but you can't help but gawk when Bay teases moviegoers with the gigantic Optimus Prime spinning through a Chicago battle zone with a Voltron-esque sword swiping every decepticon in his wake. In fact, that sequence alone is enough for :30 of "Dark of the Moon" to trump the first trailer of Matthew Vaugh's "X-Men: First Class." As nice as it is to see Jennifer Lawrence turn into Mystique (did it really have to be the exact same effect as the other movies guys?) and the Beast mutate, an image of Magneto elevating a small submarine out of the water can't match Bay's work. So that's right Fox, we're still hoping you've let Vaughn create something memorable for us. Prove our doubts wrong!
As for the rest of this week's rankings….
Feb. 11, 2011
1. "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (not ranked)
That certainly got people's attention. Who needs dialogue or a story? Well, at least not yet anyway.
2. ""X-Men: First Class" (last week no. 13)
The reaction to the new trailer seems mostly positive. Now let the "it's a prequel" or "it's a reboot" debate begin!
3. "Captain America" (not ranked)
Joe Johnston's origin story looks great…until there's a shot with Cap and that awkward headpiece. Of course, we prefer this version of the film's first preview over the official one.
4. "Thor" (not ranked)
The one Marvel movie this summer guaranteed to be a hit. And the latest Super Bowl spot didn't hurt either.
5. Academy Awards (last week no. 3)
Want more evidence the economy has turned around? ABC has sold out its entire Oscar show and pre-show inventory to a reported sum of $80 million commanding around $1.7 million a :30 spot. That's close to Super Bowl money people.
6. James Bond 23 (same)
MGM snookered Sony Pictures into an insane deal, but at least the marketing and distribution of the next 007 film will be in good hands.
7. "The Avengers" (not ranked)
Geek favorite Monica Baccain didn't get the gig to play Nick Fury's second in command, Maria Hill, but "How I Met Your Mother's" Cobie Smulders did. For what's probably a three line role, we think she'll be more than fine.
8. "The King's Speech" (last week no. 4)
Roger Ebert says "Speech" is gonna come close to sweeping all the major categories at the Oscars. We think it's gonna win best picture and actor, but not sure about the rest.
9. "Fast Five" (not ranked)
HitFix thinks it speaks for everyone when it asks, "Can this come out tomorrow?" The epitome of dumb fun at the movies in the absolute best way possible.
10. "Super 8" (not ranked)
That's one nice Super Bowl TV spot, but is Paramount worried that a lot of the reaction to J.J. Abram's latest on twitter and facebook was, "Oh, what was that?" Um, they've had a teaser out since last summer people .
11. "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" (not ranked)
America loves Johnny as evidenced by the reaction to Disney's Super Bowl spot. It's gonna be a big, big hit. We're still worried something's missing without Orlando and Keira though.
12. Melissa Leo (not ranked)
We don't mean to harp, but please stop doing interviews about your rogue "for your consideration" Ms. Leo. The less you talk about it, the less we report on it and the better your chances are of winning best supporting actress.
13. "I Am Number Four" (last week no. 9)
Alex Pettyfer has hands that glow. Lots of young moviegoers want to find out more. Hit.
14. "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" (last week no. 12)
Joaquin Phoenix's loss is Dominic Cooper's gain. His new role as the 16th President's mentor in vampire hunting is a plum part for the "Mamma Mia!" star. Onward and upward.
15. "Justin Bieber Never Say Never" (not ranked)
This is a close one. Is Beiber's 3-D concert film going to be a surprise hit like the Miley Cyrus concert movie or a relative disappointment like the Jonas Bros. edition? Your guess is as good as the tween's next door.
Last week's rankings: