It can be difficult figuring out an effective scale to rate anything on. Some sites use a five star system and others ten. I like the idea of ten stars because you create a percentage without any heavy math. Although a ten star system seems fair enough at the outset, I still feel it can be misleading. Giving simple percentages can sometimes sway a person to check out a movie that may not be in their wheelhouse. I need to be able to showcase the good in a film like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, without slaying it mercilessly for its lack of depth and continuity while also embracing the power of a film like The Messenger that doesn’t wield the flash and effects of a modern day blockbuster. To accomplish this I have decided to split my scoring in half in the form of Style and Substance. When added together they will create a score out of ten but can also be judged separately depending on the type of film someone is deciding to view.
Style will represent everything that makes a summer blockbuster. How was the filming? Did the action keep me on the edge of my seat? Were jokes effectively used to break tension? Was the costume design of the proper period? Did the actors do justice to an accent they use throughout the film? Here, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen would take the cake. The filming and CGI were spectacular. Shiny robots transforming on the large screen, you have to be in awe of that. AND, they make the noise when they transform, unlike the toys I had as a child. The Messenger wouldn’t score as well. Of course, with a film like The Messenger you should focus more on the authenticity of set design and, since it is a military movie, the uniforms and demeanor of the soldiers. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 5, The Messenger 3.
Substance will represent the lifeblood of the film. Did the movie move smoothly from beginning to end? Was I treated to performances that made me care about what I was watching? Was I given enough back story to predict what would happen next, or did the film keep me in suspense throughout? Were my opinions on a topic changed because of the film or did it at least make me think further about my own beliefs? Reflecting back on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, there were no moments that I didn’t know the eventual outcome of the film. I didn’t care about the characters and any actor, aside from John Turturro, could easily have been replaced. On the flip side I was completely drawn into both Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson in The Messenger. I felt for the task they were given and don’t ever want to be in their shoes. On a number of occasions, supporting roles were good enough to loosen up the tear ducts. Of course, I never shed a tear. I am a Caveman after all. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t taking short breaths to hold them back. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 0, The Messenger 5.
Adding the two scores together would give Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen a 5 and The Messenger an 8. I feel confident where both of these films finish. If you are someone that is just looking for a good time at the movies and love explosions and high action comedy then Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen may still be a movie for you to see. And if flash isn’t necessarily your cup of tea, story is, then grab tissues along with your popcorn and enjoy The Messenger.