• Tag Archives Alex Kurtzman
  • Canister X Movie Review #116: Transformers (2007)

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    Transformers (2007)
    Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
    Directed by Michael Bay
    Runtime 144 min.
    4 out of 5

    It is called the All Spark. Powerful. Incredible. Able to create robotic life and destroy it just as quickly.

    On Cybertron, a planet far, far away, a war arose when a robot named Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, wanted the power of the All Spark for himself. Optimus Prime and his band of Autobots rose up against him and their battle destroyed their homeworld, sending the cube-shaped All Spark into space.


    The Autobots and Decepticons scoured the galaxy looking for it, knowing that whoever found it first would be the victor and would decide the fate of not just one world, but the universe.

    The All Spark found its way to Earth, but not before Megatron tracked it there. It landed in the Arctic, and Megatron was frozen there until found later on by Captain Witwicky, explorer.

    Decades later, his grandson, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), needs a car and after visiting a used-car dealer ends up coming home with an old Chevy Camaro. Little does he know the car is more than meets the eye and lurking beneath its yellow shell is an Autobot named Bumblebee. It’s not long ’til Sam finds out and is thrust into a robotic world where two teams of giant robots compete to find the All Spark.

    Joining Sam is his high school crush, Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox), whom reluctantly is dragged on this journey with him but soon finds herself getting interested in this guy who she barely knew existed.

    It’s robot vs robot in this giant epic of good vs evil, with fireballs, bullets and vehicles that are more than meets the eye.

    What can I say? When I heard they were taking the Transformers from my childhood and lifting them from the cartoon to “real life,” I was ecstatic. I was also concerned because I knew it’d take a crazy amount of CGI to make it happen, and not just any CGI either—good CGI. The last thing I wanted was for a bunch of cartoony robots with rubbery parts dominating the screen.

    Boy, was I shocked when I saw Bumblebee transform and tower over all, shining his spotlight into the sky, or when Optimus Prime showed up and that glorious digital transformation sound roared and he stood proud, huge and detailed.

    This stuff was real, and it looked like the makers of this movie actually made real Autobots and Decepticons to make it happen.

    Good times.

    Storywise, yeah, I liked it. The alien invasion thing worked. Very well done. Same with the notion that, unlike the cartoons (from what I recall), the Autobots had a vow of secrecy to keep themselves hidden from the humans while they searched for the All Spark.

    Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky was funny, same with Kevin Dunn as his father.

    The story also bodes well for a sequel, which has now come and gone, with more stories in the works. If you’re going to go epic, like Transformers did, you’re going to need more than one. Last I heard, they’re doing 5 or 6 of these things. Me? I’m all for it. I go into these things expecting a good time and not some life-altering film where, years later, I look back and see it as a turning point for me. Transformers is just that: a good time, and one that tickled my inner fanboy.

    More than meets the eye? You betchya!

  • Canister X Movie Review #54: The Legend of Zorro (2005)

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    The Legend of Zorro (2005)
    Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
    Directed by Martin Campbell
    Runtime 129 min.
    3 out of 5

    In this follow up to 1998’s The Mask of Zorro, Alejandro must try and abstain from adventuring as the black-masked crusader in an effort to keep his home life under control as his wife, Elena, now feels it’s time for him to give up the mask since he’s been Zorro for nine years. Meanwhile, a nefarious plan is afoot to stop California from becoming part of the United States. Soon the lines between the Fox’s life as Zorro and his life as Alejandro blur and our hero must balance the two and ensure California’s statehood comes to pass before it’s too late.


    I loved The Mask of Zorro so was super excited when this one came out. To me, it was one of those “what took you so long?” things. Well, I don’t know what went on behind the scenes or why the delay, but I was happy when they finally made this movie. Due to being a new parent at the time, I didn’t make it to theatres to check it out and had to do so once it hit the direct market.

    It was all right. Wasn’t as thrilling as the first one nor was the story as good. There was a lot of Zorro in this, which, of course, is a plus, but I think because it was more lighthearted than its predecessor I was let down. Sure, Zorro isn’t a grim and brooding hero, but since the first movie was so serious, I expected more of the same with this one. That’s not to say this was all slapstick and camp. Far from it. Just had this lighter vibe to it that I wasn’t really into.

    I think, for me, the romantic tension in this movie is what wasn’t my thing. There was good reason for it in the context of the story, but I just didn’t see how Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) couldn’t just simply tell Alejandro (Antonio Banderas) what was going on and together they would take on Armand (Rufus Sewell). Perhaps relationships were different back then than they are now, I don’t know.

    The swashbuckling and adventure were fun and would make any male watching it want to put on a mask and get on a horse and go ride around. Kind of hard nowadays, but you get the idea.

    The thing that makes Zorro interesting in this movie is the fact that he has a son. Superman Returns aside, what other superhero on the big screen has to juggle being a dad and a superhero? Even in Superman Returns Superman didn’t find out about his kid until the end of the flick so we never got to see him be a family man and Earth’s champion. If you were a superhero and had kids, you’d have to keep it a secret lest they spill the beans to their friends. You’d also have to face years of them being disappointed in you because you’re always “working” and are never around. And the sacrifice involved on the part of the parent is also high because you’re missing out on all these great moments from your kid’s childhood because you’re off saving the day.

    I think this movie would’ve worked well as a third in a trilogy after some kind of high-octane swashbuckling adventure of a second flick. Then you can have your hero think of retiring and moving on instead of setting him up as a legend at the end of the first movie then suddenly saying, “Nope, you’ve had enough. Let’s slow things down.” What happened in between?

    This is a fun movie, don’t get me wrong, and is a good time for adults and kids alike.

    I do recommend this movie because I think it’s important the younger generation knows who Zorro is in this day and age of high-profile DC and Marvel superheroes and suggest parents show their kids this flick for that reason.

    Any Zorro exposure is good in my book.