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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went to see an advance screening of "Transformers" tonight, and I
walked out of the theater in disbelief. Not because the movie wasn't
what I thought it would be, but on the contrary, it was so much more
than I had ever expected.
Going into the theater, I was expecting a corny kids movie with decent acting and a fantastic, unrealistic plot. Needless to say the plot was indeed fantastic and unrealistic, but it was all kept in check with solid acting and the most incredible display of visual effects that I have EVER seen. Most...actually almost all of the acting credit in this movie has to go to Shia LaBeouf, whom is quickly becoming a Hollywood star after recently giving an excellent performance in the thriller "Disturbia". It was another great performance from Shia in "Transformers", with his clever wit still ever present.
However, the most impressive aspect of "Transformers" was most certainly the special effects. The robot vs. robot fight scenes were, in a word, remarkable. I didn't know that modern day special effects could produce images so fantastic AND realistic, to the point where the robots didn't seem computer generated at all. The interaction between human and robot was beautiful and flawless. It seemed like the actors were actually interacting with real, 50 foot tall robots during the movie. "Transformers" will, without a doubt, be the pioneer for future cinematic visual effects.
The plot may have been a little unrealistic and some of the acting a little sketchy at times, but it does not in any way override what was truly an entertaining movie. The plot simply stayed true as best it could to the cartoon story without becoming overly ridiculous or corny. When I say unrealistic, that does not mean "cartoon-corny". In fact, I would recommend that ANYONE over the age of 13 go to see this movie. I promise you won't be disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When the announcement came for a new Transformers movie for Summer, I
was pretty excited. I wasn't a major Transformers fan, but I had fond
memories of the cartoon and toys. However, I hated the re-designed
Transformers, thinking that these new designs were an overly busy cross
between Lego's Bionicle toys and expressionist modern art sculptures. I
also heard the script was poor, so I decided to skip this one.
However, I started hearing movie reviews about what an amazing film this was. "The greatest film of all time!" people proclaimed. So I came to terms with and accepted that these weren't the robots I grew up with, this was a "new" version, and I'd at least find interest in robots transforming into cars and beating each other up. I'd even go see this even though I don't like Michael Bay films.
How was it? Transformers is a disgustingly bloated and self-indulgent piece of crap. I understand that I'll get rated down for my review, but I'm prepared to accept that. Sadly, my theater must not have gotten the euphoria inducing gas that apparently other theaters got, causing me to gush over this film like other people.
Even the 1986 Transformers film wasn't perfect. It was basically one fight scene after another, and was a means to replace the old toys for a new line, but the action was good, showed the consequences of war, and featured the death of a beloved character. It kept true to the mythos, even though it was different. This movie makes reference to so many other films that it feels like a mishmash of 30 films you've seen before.
Bumblebee sends up an "Autobat Symbol" to summon the other Autobots like Batman. There's a scene in an underground bunker which felt totally pulled from Terminator 3 (and a few scenes later, uses the exact drumbeat from the "Terminator Theme"). The fight scenes with their out of focus cameras and "shaky cam" style seems like they are trying to treat the battles as if they were "Saving Private Ryan" caliber. When Bumblebee gets captured during a scene, the music swells up so mournfully and overdramatically, that it makes the tragedies found in "Schindler's List" seem modest.
The biggest problem in character design lies in the fact that they all really do look alike. The worst offender was the Decepticon Frenzy, which looked like a 3D rendered pencil scribble, and acted like the Zuni Fetish Doll from "Trilogy of Terror". During the final battle, I was having problems telling who was who, and when the robots collided, it was hard to see where one began and the other ended. The car forms were presented as blatant product showcases, ripped straight from a commercial. Then again, there was so much product placement in the film. eBay must have made a fortune.
The slow set-up to the action or even any real glimpses of the title characters felt like "The Hulk". I pay for a movie about transforming robots, that's what I want to see.
Why would they keep a deadly robot under Hoover Dam, a major water source and tourist attraction? Why would they bring this "All-Spark" out of the desert and into a heavily-populated city where property damage and civilian casualties could run their full course. The dialogue was painful, sounded like it was written for teenagers, by teenagers in a really bad fanfic like what they thought people would say. What really irked me is how the Autobots couldn't seem to kill a Decepticon, but a lone soldier skidding on his back could dispatch one with a single shot. Why were the Autobots even there if the humans could do it better? How is it that they can save Bumblebee, but they can't repair Jazz? What was the difference? The government/military/robot/anyone dialogue was totally unrealistic, with officials willing to "bet their ridiculously high government paychecks" on hunches. Every line smacked on bad puns, clichés, or just sounded stupid. There was an extended conversation about masturbation between Sam and his parents that felt really awkward and extended far too long.
The personalities were also way underdeveloped. Transformers has over two decades of history that wasn't touched upon. The Starscream and Megatron rivalry, where Starscream tried to usurp Megatron for leadership was not mentioned or covered at all. Jazz was cool and fun-loving with a sense of style, while in the film he sounds like a ghetto thug. His first line is profanity, and I felt insulted. Not because of the language, but the fact that this was apparently the best the writers could do. Decepticons were introduced and blown away within minutes. The Autobots weren't much better. Did the people who wrote the story know anything about the subject material besides the fact that robots changed to vehicles? And then Optimus Prime. Obviously, Bay's madness knew better than to totally ruin this character, as he was the only robot who looked even remotely familiar to any previous version. And the personality was fairly accurate... up to the backyard scene, where Prime's personality suddenly shifts, breaks character, and he becomes a clumsy comedian. The next scene, he shifts back into a "leader" personality.
The saving grace outside of Prime was Sam Witwicky (played by Shia LaBeouf), who brought a credible "gee whiz" performance to the film, and yet I felt sorry for him using such ham-fisted dialogue.
Summer 2007 has been really mediocre for "blockbuster" films, as we're apparently supposed to lower our standards, "sit back, not think and enjoy" with these types of films, but how is one supposed to do that with with film devoid of heart, personality or no focus on the main characters? As a stand-alone film, this is a really bad movie. As a Transformers-licensed film, it's a God awful embarrassment. I'm avoiding the sequels unless they drastically overhaul the franchise and get a script not limited to high-school level online fanfic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This deafeningly loud, obnoxious, usually stagnant and glorified epic
disaster of a film was presented with too many opportunities to be one
of the all-time greatest summer flicks ever. However, despite the
advancements in today's special effects, it being inspired from the
highly popular 1980's Hasbro toys and cartoon, with Steven Spielberg
overseeing the production as an Executive producer, Michael Bay and his
writers were still guilty of making this a "steaming pile." I can
effortlessly breakdown at every level why this film didn't work for me.
The story was about a teenager name Sam (Shia LaBeouf) who purchases a car that happens to be a robot in disguise from another world. Sam is then caught in the middle of an ancient battle between two groups of these alien robots, the heroic Autobots and the Evil Decepticons. Both are seeking a mysterious cube known as the "Allspark" that contains their "life source." This central plot intertwines with the story of a special ops team being attacked by one of the Decepticons in the beginning, the pentagon enlisting teams of computer hackers to decode a signal they detected that ultimately came from the Decepticons and a hokey love story between Sam and Mikaela, the gorgeous bombshell in his class.
As intriguing as all of this may sound, besides the many battle scenes, car chases, attempts on Sam's life and Decepticon attacks, nothing happens to move the story along. Whatever layers of stories that were suppose to be happening beneath the unimpressive action sequences were uneventful and slow. So, all you're left with is the action, which by the end was boring and tedious to watch.
The characters were flat and moronic. The humans were one-note, soulless caricatures. They were also more than capable of damaging the robots, which took away from the extraordinary antagonism the original cartoon presented for our human heroes. The humans were helpless against the Decepticons and this made the Autobots necessary. In this absurd film, the humans didn't really need the Autobots to take out the Decepticons.
And whatever happened to characters like Jorge "Fig" Figueroa and Maggie? They sort or left this film halfway to the end to join the film playing in the theater next door.
Also, part of the cartoon's success was the personalities of the Transformers. They were emotional beings that were capable of treacherous, loyal, courageous, cowardice, morose and optimistic behavior. They weren't just giant piles of junk destroying an American metropolis. Whatever happened to the ongoing struggle for power over the Decepticons between Starscream and Megatron? This would've added some real complexity to this paper-thin story. Instead, Bay and the writers settled for hinting at it with a laughable one-liner from Megatron that rang falser than the action. Wasn't Bumblebee the kindest, frailest of them all? He was essential for his undying compassion for the humans in the cartoons. Not in this film, where he obviously fought in many battles and, when annoyed, can urinate on a human being at any given time. Now going from the true character to the characterizations of the robots, the looks of the original were more engaging and attractive to the eye. In this film, they looked like metal scraps of junk.
Then the films auteur had to take it there by making Jazz the Transformer with the Black-American soul, screaming, "What up, b****es?" Ironically, he was the only Autobot that easily gets killed as well. Now, a lesser minded person would pull the race card for this. I would just blame it on lazy, unimaginative, sloppy, hack writing and directing. In the end, I couldn't care less about any of the characters, human or Transformer.
The original Transformers could be chastised for wooden dialogue. However, when the characters weren't trying to be funny in this film, the dialogue was ten times worse than that of the cheesy words spoken in the cartoon. It was absolutely ridiculous, with zero subtext. The quality of the dialogue was lessoned in scenes where exposition was inappropriately forced in, like the ineptly written scene when Agent Simmons (John Turturro) was questioning Sam and Mikael in the backseat of the SUV, revealing Mikaelas' weak back story. And how many times did Optimus Prime have to tell us his name? At one point, I thought he was forgetting the many times he said his name previously. Besides, the whole introducing-yourself-thing from the Transformers, especially the Decepticons, was extra cheddar cheesy to me: "I am Megatron!" Yeah, and?! The monologues underscored by the sappy music could've gotten the collective "heave-hove" from this film as well.
The special effects were cool but could've been better. Most of the time, the Transformers looked animated instead of real in my opinion. And the confusing, unorthodox way they transformed, not to mention detailing that made them look like piles of scrap metal, revealed most of the flaws in the cartoon like computer generated images. As a director, I wouldn't be satisfied with the end result.
The most entertaining thing about sitting through a screening of this film was the hordes of people that were going ballistic over it. They laughed at anything and applauded for everything. From Bumblebee shattering all the glass in and around the car dealership to the Autobots skidding in unison on a U-Turn, these people thought every little thing deserved a standing ovation. Okay, maybe they were not standing. But it was all so laughable to me.
In my opinion, Bay, Spielberg and the writers massacred what could've been one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made. The only thing amazing about this experience was my girl sleeping through most of it with me nodding off right along side her. Bay has proved himself to be one of the worst, overpaid film directors in the history of Hollywood.
Transformers is a very mixed bag. There are great things about it and
there are some not-so-great things about it...
- The visual effects. Perhaps the best special effects I've ever seen in a movie. The transformations are amazing not to mention super-awesome. The CGI fits in seamlessly with the live action and it's easy to forget how logistically difficult a lot of it would have been to film.
- The sound design. The sound effects complement the action perfectly making everything twice as exciting. Probably less acknowledged is the alien atmosphere created by some of the score which heightens the tension very effectively and probably without the majority of the audience noticing.
- Shia LeBeouf. Without him the movie wouldn't be nearly as engaging. He has natural comic timing and is probably second to none in expressing disbelief of the "holy crap, there's a giant alien robot transforming in front of me" variety.
- The humour. Transformers is funnier than most good comedies which I was not expecting in the least. The transformers themselves are often funnier than they are impressive.
- The Decepticons. Man are they cool. The opening scene is particularly kick-arse.
- Megan Fox. If hot means "can't act and doesn't weigh much" then yes, she's very hot. It's not a good sign if you want one of the main characters to die or at least get out of the way and stop trying to act. Her performance just seemed very shallow and probably wasn't helped by her dialogue.
- The script. Although the overall storyline is good, some of the dialogue is terrible. Too much of the film is spent on mumbo jumbo technical explanations the audience just doesn't care about. The less serious parts of the script work very well though.
- Michael Bay. Although some of the action scenes are very well put together and the humorous parts are timed very well, Bay can't help but ruin some of the scenes with unnecessarily flashy editing and over the top drama accompanied by none-too-subtle dramatic music. It's not that Michael Bay's style is too loud, it's that it's too clichéd.
- The music. Nothing new here (other than the alien sounding parts). Practically rips of Batman Begins and is otherwise forgettable. The music should enhance the film by bringing out interesting themes or emotions, not force feeding us the drama we can plainly see on the screen in super slow motion.
- Megatron. He's ugly. And super cool.
So, my verdict? The good outweighs the bad pretty comfortably. If you took out the bad you might even have a classic on your hands. Instead you get revolutionary action scenes and some great comedy with Michael Bay's unique brand of mediocre directing sprinkled throughout.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What a concept it was. Two rival factions of transforming robots crash
land on Earth, and are re-awoken in 1984 to continue their epic
struggle amongst a vastly inferior race. One side, the heroic Autobots,
battles to save their homeworld from the evil Decepticons.
Humans took a back seat in this war. Seen by the Autobots as life that should be protected and by the Decepticons as insignificant obstacles, the characters that made Transformers so popular were the transformers themselves.
Alas, Michael Bay's vision was obviously something quite different.
After an outstanding exposition in which we meet the lead and supporting characters, the movie goes downhill. Fast. Full of plot holes that invalidate half the events of the movie, and stupid writing that just doesn't make sense, Transformers severely makes me doubt the abilities of its writers (then again, one of its writers did do Catwoman AND The Core - two more stupid movies).
Plot flaws? That's right! The better part of the movie is spent following the two factions as they race to find a map Megatron made to the 'Allspark'. Naturally, we later find out that the Allspark was moved by the humans AFTER the map was made, to a place specifically selected to prevent the transformers from finding it. But does that stop them from using the now invalid map to find it? Not at all! The map leads them right to it. Somehow.
So now the Allspark is found, but entrusted to Bumblebee. And what does a US special forces operative decide to do? That's right - drive it into the middle of a large city, where hundreds, if not thousands of people can be killed in the inevitable battle between 20 foot tall transforming robots.
A good story can be set in the present day, or in Shakespeare's time, or Ancient Rome, underwater or in space. Your characters can be humans, farm animals or robots, and if it's a good story, little will be lost.
So why did Bay find it necessary to give the transformers barely any lines or decent screen time? And why were half their scenes just petty jokes (I refer to the far-too-long scene in which the transformers act like complete idiots as Witwicky searches for his Grandfather's glasses. It was funny for about 2 minutes. The other 30 minutes were just painful.)?
I don't think I could ever run out of bad things to say about this movie. Seriously, don't see it - especially if you care about Transformers and have more than one brain cell.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(This comment was deleted by IMDb based on an abuse report filed by
another user, so I'm guessing it was pretty abusive; maybe it spoiled
some aspect of "the plot," if you can call it that, for some poor soul)
I think it was about four or five words into the opening narration when we burst into laughter. "Before time began..." Ouch. When a film can't go 5 seconds without a cliché, it doesn't deserve to be watched, at least not with a straight face.
Michael Bay's Transformers is hilariously awful, a sub-Ed Wood affair all the way through, a camp classic in the making. If Bay is the new Edward D. Wood, Jr. then Transformers may be the new Plan 9 from Outer Space. Let me count the ways:
1. Incoherent narration/ incoherent plot? Check.
2. Laughably bad dialogue? Check.
3. Pompous aliens with inexplicable plan to conquer Earth? Check.
4. Day turns to night in an instant? Check.
5. Copious use of military stock footage? Check.
6. Epic numbers of continuity errors? Check.
7. Dramatic confrontations solved via fistfights? Check.
8. Dramatic scenes that fly straight out of left field? Check. ("I'm so glad I got in the car with you.")
9. Formerly respectable older star sinks to a new low? Check. (Poor, poor Jon Voight)
10. Incredible overacting that is obviously encouraged by the director? Check.
11.Character who cannot speak for no apparent reason? Check.
12. Rampant stereotyping (not just the racial ones but stuff like cops acting dumb, doing a lot of shouting, and eating doughnuts, and military officials being all secretive one minute and spilling said secrets the next)? Check.
13. Characters with a lot of face time who end up playing no important role in the "story?" Check. (What useful purpose did Duhamel and the troops in Qatar serve after the first ten minutes?)
14. Heavy handed social/political commentary/references? Check. (eBay, eBay, eBay;imagine how much trouble could have been avoided if they'd just BOUGHT THE DAMN GLASSES OFF OF EBAY!)
15. A flying saucer catches on fire then crashes? Check.
16. Sudden flashes of light appear from nowhere and knock characters over? Check.
17. The action in some shots is hopelessly muddled? Check.
18. A character's hilarious death scene is matched only by his hilarious eulogy? Check.
19. The action halts suddenly so that someone can explain the back-story? Check.
20. Random bursts of laughter fill theater during screening? Check.
21. Gaps in dialogue perfect for Mystery Science Theater 3000-esque commentary? Check.
22. Inevitable cult following? Check.
Only these three things are missing, keeping it from true Ed Wood greatness:
1. No giant octopus. (Though Scorponok comes pretty close.)
2. No transvestites. (It has the prefix "trans-" in the title, though.)
3. No ludicrously campy speech made by the main villain. (Just " I AM MEGATRON!!!", which is plenty campy but not much of a speech.)
Maybe these'll be in the director's cut.
Except, of course, Ed Wood's movies had heart; even at their worst they feel like more than exercises in feature-length product placement. Bay doesn't have anything even remotely resembling a heart in his chest - that's why he's not even in Wood's league as a bad director, no matter how many laughs his terrible films get. And at least Wood's films didn't cost $150 million to make.
I'm a Transformers fan from way back. I've got an Optimus Prime and a Megatron atop one of my bookshelves. I have ancient videotapes of the fondly remembered cartoon series and a copy of the 20th anniversary movie DVD. I had worried that this film would damage my childhood memories beyond repair, like Star Wars Episode I did. But the film is just TOO bad and TOO stupid to have any real effect on me. The old animated movie, bad as it is, mops the floor with this one. If anything, it is a more mature(!) and entertaining work. The music in the old movie is terrible, but it fits. The music here is just terrible.
There are good points, but none anywhere near enough. John Turturro is the only actor who escapes this mess unscathed - his great over-the-top performance suggests that he actually understands how Z-grade the script he was given was. He's a lot of fun to watch, even as he's quickly reduced to a non-entity by the plot mechanics. Turturro is a great actor and this part only serves to elevate his status in my eyes. I hope he got a serious paycheck.
I can't stand CGI as a rule, but the special effects here are moderately convincing, at least in those rare moments when the camera isn't performing idiotic cartwheels to obscure them. I honestly like the models for the new TFs (the Autobots, anyway - I can barely tell the Decepticons apart), but the fact that they have little personality isn't so endearing.
Maybe the sequel will be up to the lofty standards of Ed Wood's Night of the Ghouls. But I doubt it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tripe. Filth. Mud. Worthless. Blunt. Stupid. These are six words that
aptly describe the idea behind Michael Bay's latest smash-fest
As one of those "poor saps" (as I was called while waiting in the theater) who had never seen the TV show as a child, I went into the movie expecting nothing, especially considering that Michael Bay is one of the least artistic, most pandering directors of the present. But once the movie started, it was all right. Shia LeBeouf was charming, as was the quirky teen-humor that pervaded the first 45 minutes. In fact, the Transformers were pretty bad-ass.
...Until minute 46, when they began to talk. Not only was their behavior evocative of stoners and idiots, they lumbered around his backyard, and, later in the movie, peed on a federal agent. There was even one transformer (I forget the name, and I am all the better for it) that talked like he was from the "projects." The plotting was puerile and idiotic. There was even a subplot where Shia LeBeouf's love interest was discovered to have a criminal record, but that subplot was handily absolved five minutes later when Shia LeBeouf cuts a deal with the government. SO STUPID AND POINTLESS! Not to mention, the movie abounded with Michael Bay's never-ending car chases and slow-motion hoohah. Very very bad scripting like "I'm not leaving without Bumblebee!" and the leader of the good Transformers saying "Oops, my bad" made for a horrible experience.
The bulk of the movie was terrible. The acting, aside from noticeably realistic screams from Shia and others, was stilted and just perfect for the sort of film that doesn't even hide that it relies wholly on special-effects and the toy franchise itself, the kind of things that Michael Bay loves to beat over movie-goers' heads like a blunt object.
This movie is ACTION. I say this first because if you think this movie
will be anything more than this, you will be disappointed on some level
(as I was). Frame for frame this movie screams Michael Bay.
Now that's out of the way, there's a lot of stuff here that works and a lot that doesn't. It's a good thing that the robots do work. Seeing autobots and decepticons in glorious photo-realistic CGI is enough to wring out any childhood fantasy from anybody (not just boys from the 80s). Watching these robots move is to realize a revelation to what is possible with modern movie effects. Whether it's transforming on the move, bashing the living daylights out of each other, or just standing and talking, these guys alone make the movie work. And unlike the other blockbusters that have came out this year, these effects have a sense of weight that adds so much to the visual satisfaction.
As for everything else, well... that's when things start to go downhill. In typical epic fashion, this movie contains a sprawling cast. Along with this however, are a large number of writing and acting issues. With such a large number of underdeveloped characters, names are pretty much luxury. Also, most of the human related humor gags miss badly, which makes it hurt more considering a lot of the characters were unnecessary. Jon Voight's Secretary of Defense character completely baffles me, which makes me think that audiences responded positively to the President in Independence Day doing aerial dogfights. Any positives from the supporting cast (including the strange yet entertaining overacting of John Turturro) are outweighed by the large set of negatives.
However, the cast has got it where it counts. Shia Lebeouf plays an important part in selling the reality of the robots as the lead character Sam, and also carries an easy likability factor. Megan Fox's acting does a reasonable job bringing some interest to her character to beyond her looks. The voice cast also does an overall superb job. Peter Cullen IS Prime, and although his dialogue does border on the ridiculous, he always has a sense of gravity to his lines. Hugo Weaving also does an equally commendable job as Megatron (His booming entrance will forever be embedded into the minds of little kids everywhere). The rest of the transformers don't say much, which is a shame because I wanted to see so much more interplay between them (The taunts that Optimus and Megatron yell as their fighting is great stuff).
Another major gripe I have is Bay's ADD editing. Although it does keep the movie constantly moving, it creates some issues with continuity and distracts from some of the action (probably the biggest crime committed in the movie).
I could go on and on about the good things (Bumblebee, Frenzy) and the bad things (Anthony Anderson and his family, forgotten Barricade) and the downright weird things (Dubya's cameo, Sam's friend climbing in a tree). Overall, the film delivers where it really matters. Although I was disappointed, the amount of potential for the sequel (which just got greenlighted) just gets me giddy (is it too much to ask for a tighter script and better acting?)
(Also, the Autobot Assemble scene is one of the coolest things I've seen in theaters in years.)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Summer action flicks should never be seen with the preconceived notion
of high expectations. The reason for this is simple: eye candy films
that are released when school is out aim for a youthful demographic who
are simply looking for good way to kill 2 and half hours. These films
can be instant blockbusters even without a coherent plot or compelling
dialogue. Films about massive robots based on a toy line which wreak
havoc narrow the demographic further (and lower the bar of cinematic
standards), but throw in wannabe epic director Michael Bay (Armageddon,
Pearl Harbor) and you can guarantee the trailer will pull in other
audiences. I never played with the toys or watched the cartoon, but it
can be assured nothing more meets the eye than CGI goo and decent Foley
artists on sound in Transformers.
The basic plot involves the benevolent Autobots and their archenemies (Decepticons) dragging their robot war on Earth, as if humans didn't have enough of their own war mongering to deal with. The Decepticons are looking for their cube which is powerful enough to create new robot life or destroy Middle Earth..err...the universe but the Autobots are willing to have Frodo...I mean... Sam (Shia LeBeouf) sacrifice the cube (and new transformer life) for the victory of the human race. The stereotyped prodigies give hope to nerds everywhere: teenage intelligence agents, a computer hacker, even a car mechanic with too much make up. Sam probably feels left out as the average kid, but is reassured later that "you're a soldier " too. Michael Bay, who is only good at directing big locations blowing up on camera , struggled to find a logical reason for the final battle. He fails at doing so and consequently has a character suggest (with knowledge of an impending robot onslaught) to rendezvous in a major human population area. Everyone else, including the Secretary of Defense (John Voight), quickly agrees to this idea of jeopardizing the safety of an entire city. I have this to say to Michael Bay: No, pushing the story along so you can have your 20 minute destructo-scene isn't going to make me forget about that line earlier in the movie. You know, the one where the boy films the Autobot simultaneously crash landing and yells, "Wow! This is cooler than Armageddon!" I didn't sit down in the theater expecting fine cinematic quality, but I don't want to see a movie where the director services himself for what he believes to be past "accomplishments."
At least there were a few well done casting elements. Shia LeBeouf was good as the quick witted underdog student, but I'm afraid he is in danger of being typecast. Didn't I already see him play this role in Disturbia? John Turturro as the oddly likable top secret agent also makes the monotonous dialogue scenes more dynamic. Most importantly, the film lacked Michael Bay's favorite fan boy Ben Affleck (It was reported that for this reason, the crew had to stop production for a week because Bay locked himself in the bathroom, sobbing uncontrollably.) Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings) was in the film voicing Megatron but you wouldn't know it considering his two lame lines. Then there's Sam's caked up love interest (Meagan Fox) who, besides the horrible acting, loses points for actually saying, "Sam, whatever happens, I'm glad I got in the car with you." It must have been a homage to every poorly delivered, cheese ball romance line in the the history of cinema.
At least Bay, who sold his soul to corporate America in this film, didn't force her to to replace the word "car" with "Camaro." It wouldn't have been surprising, considering I counted 11 different products being shamelessly placed throughout the entire film. Ebay is not the only online auction site, I'm not letting Bay have that one. As for the rest, was it really necessary to show the words "GMC" and "Camaro" as if the movie was a car commercial? Was it really necessary to include the words "Blackberry", "Nokia", and "Energizer" in under a minute of dialogue? Did John Turturro feel as sold out as I did for not walking out when I heard him say, "...your little Taco Bell dog?"
I only stayed for the duration of the movie to write this review, which will never happen again if I witness such disgusting product placement. A summer action flick about fighting robots is tolerable, but the special effects weren't even that great. A shot without any movement other than the CGI spectacles, isn't live action, it's animation. The music sounds stripped from another Bay film. Take away those elements, Bay's pathetic direction, the typecast characters, the poorly written plot and all you have left is the sound, which actually made the film audibly pleasing. I salute you Erik Aadahl and friends of the sound department. Michael Bay, please take the advice of Matt Stone and Trey Parker and stop making movies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I honestly don't know where to start with this movie. I will say
however, that - like many other people - this is the film I've been
waiting 20 years to see.
I suppose it's sensible to start with what should be the foundation stone of any cinematic experience - the script. It's cheesy, cliché-ridden, and poorly-structured. Characterisation (especially of the Autobots/Decepticons) is non-existent. Optimus Prime uttering the words "My bad" must go down in history as one of the worst moments in movie history. Actually scratch that - the "lubricating" scene is definitely worse. The writing of human characters is lazy at best, sticking with stereotypes such as the beautiful code-breaker, fat computer whizz, bumbling government agent etc etc. The performances (Shia aside) are instantly forgettable, but a great deal of that comes down to the script and direction. Megan Fox may be a great actress for all I know, but she may as well be a stripper for the purposes of this movie.
The effects are incredible (although not helped by Bay's erratic editing style), but when you've no reason to care about them it results in an empty experience. Effects DON'T MAKE A MOVIE.
With Spielberg as part of this project I allowed myself a little optimism, but it's patently clear that Bay and Co. had no understanding or respect for the Transformers franchise. GIANT "FLIPPING" ROBOTS BLOWING "STUFF" UP this may be, but it is most certainly not Transformers.
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