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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief

 

in this farewell



"I fear the wounds are... fatal"

Perceptor is correct - transformers was an utter failure. i've spoken at length about the two angles i battled to approach this film from - both as your average moviegoer, and as a TF fanboy whose childhood was blessed by the original series.

as an action movie: it suffered from the typical michael bay flaws... it was a gaudy, hollow fluff piece, a big-budget behemoth with the soul of a ten-year-old... explosions were substituted extensively for heart and intelligence... the best description i can think of is E.T., Independence Day and Armageddon duct-taped together and stuffed in a bag of rotten garbage... about 45 minutes too long, paced terribly, with several scenes of awkward "plot development" that simply crawled... the only positive thing i can say about it is that it had a few clever moments, probably from spielberg's hand, and mostly surrounding shia labeouf, who managed to survive being directed by bay enough to come off as charming and sincere. but even that couldn't save the film, which won't be remembered as a flop simply due to the success of its marketing campaign, but is nevertheless completely bereft of soul.

as a transformers film: i watched the first few episodes of the series recently, to remind me why i loved it so much, and the contrast between the series and this film are clear - bay moved the focus from the 'bots to humans. it started off well - i had chills listening to peter cullen as prime, introing the movie with a background of the Cybertronian wars, but any similarity died soon afterwards.

where the series highlighted the personality of the autobots and decepticons - ironhide's down-home soul, blaster's fun-loving nature, starscream's treachery, soundwave's deep loyalty - bay's film turned them into highly-detailed gimmicks and weapons. sure, there were a few weak-willed attempts to illustrate the concept, with prime's fatherly nature as he gently chides ironhide for wanting to terminate some humans, or megatron's beratement of starscream's failure. instead bay resculpted them into a chittering, almost reptilian race, and surrounded them with dopey clowns like voight's foolish defense secretary and turturro's secret-government-project agent.

and i certainly didn't need to spend ten minutes watching the autobots pull off a sight gag, trying to hide in plain sight in the witwicky backyard while prime spouts off totally out-of-character lines like "my bad". to quote galvatron: "this is bad comedy."

bay tacked on enough fanboy service to make the non-believing audience collectively roll their eyes and giggle, but not enough to satisfy even the most shallow TF fan. it certainly could have been worse, no doubt, but it didn't end up landing anywhere above my vastly low expectations.

 

for this post

 
Anonymous Artie Says:

I had such high hopes. I went in understanding that things would be changed. I've been okay with the styling changes and the name changes and whatnot from the get go. I really thought "how hard is it to make a great Transformers movie? All you need is giant fighting robots." I guess Bay didn't agree 'cause there were only like 30 seconds of giant fighting robots. The ONLY really cool fighting robots scene was when Optimus and that tank guy fought, and that was like one third of how long it should have been. The fight between Megatron and Optimus was horrible. If I was a screen writer, here's what I would have changed (spoilers follow):

Cut out all the stuff with the hacker security girl @ the DOD. Every moment of that was useless. It didn't further the story, nothing.

Move the final battle from inside a city out into the desert. The city battle causes a ton of problems. Problem one: you spend all your budget making CG buildings explode. With that extra money, make the Prime/Megatron showdown longer. As a fanboy, I hated that the kid killed Megatron...but if you must make that happen, at least make it at the end of a huge fight scene where both are almost dead (an homage to the original movie?). Problem two: a plot hole. In the end, they made it sound like the government hide the Transformers' existence, but a few hundred people ran away from giant fighting robots in the city.

Okay, there are a ton of plot holes, but the one that kills me is the glasses. If Megatron's "navigational system" or whatever is activated by Shakleton touching his giant thumb, wouldn't it make sense that the glasses imprint where he and the cube were at at that moment (in the artic), not where they would be a hundred years later when the gang showed up (hover dam)? Another one, you have this HUGE monstorous cube that weighs a ton. It gets sweet talked to by Bumblebee and it transforms down into a shoebox. I'll buy that it gets smaller, but how is get getting light enough for Robin or whatever boy wonder's name was to carry? Next plot hole: why is Robin and the girl given a tour of the super secret facility?

Next thing to cut, loose the military guys in the desert. Let them all die in the battle with Scorpio. Would have been a valiant and sacrificial death.

Next thing to add: the dog fight with Starscream was really cool, but it was like 5 seconds long, that could have been a really long sweet sequence.

Next thing to cut: get rid of the Autobots cruising in on Hale Bop. We get that they're aliens who assume the forms of normal old stuff, we didn't need those scenes.

Loose the goofy "I can't find the glasses" sequence entirely. Served no purpose.

The whole thing reminded me of a standard design principle: cut out all the fluff. I read an interview with Brad Bird (the director of the Incredibles and Ratatoille (sp?)) where he talked about how he took over Ratatoille and had to cut a ton of stuff because they were trying to accomplish too much. He really made a bunch of people @ Pixar mad and a main dude quit over it. Same thing needed to happen here.

That and we don't care about the people, we care about giant transforming robots fighting in the streets.

/rant

 
 
Blogger Quentin Says:

I consider myself a fairly stuanch G1 Transformers fan, and I thought the movie was a lot of fun - I completely disconnected all attachments I had from the original Transformers and character personalities before I went in and enjoyed the hell out of it. Yeah, the glasses was a plot hole big enough to for Devestator (G1) to walk through, and I have no idea what Prime pulled out of Megatron's chest or why he called him brother... maybe in part two Galvatron will arrive to earth and resurrect his 'son' Megatron so that they can go after Galvatron's renegade son Optimus Prime and we'll get another brotherly showdown. Whatever, I'm fine with it and look forward to a plot as vapid as that.

I'm satisfied because I wanted to see a movie about big ass robots that transform and break shit. That's exactly what I got. The Autobot comedy hour in the Witwicky yard, I'll admit I lol'd. The bumbling S7 and the graphic hackers, I lol'd s'more. Ironhide and Jazz acting more like CG puppets rather than soldiers, more laughing. Again, I realized that these were *not* the characters I grew up with, and it actually kinda bugged me to hear Prime giving all the speeches about sentient rights - little to deep for my movie about big robots kicking ass.

 
 
Blogger Darren Says:

My problem with the movie is that they focused too much on developing the human relationships and not enough on developing the Transformers characters. I knew everything about the Transformers from the cartoons growing up. I wanted them to interact more. You have this vastly superior race of Robots that say like two dozen words the entire movie. That was gay. When Jazz died I should have been more upset, but he seemed like a extra, not a major character. After reflecting on it I agree J. M. Bay failed to produce a good Transformers movie. I am actually kind of angry about it now. Like he just pissed on my childhood.

 
 
Anonymous Artie Says:

Quentin, I tried to do the same, but there just wasn't enough "big ass robots fighting" to be a movie about robots fighting. It seemed more like it was about humans fighting the robots then some other robots showed up to help them out a little bit. Did any of the autobots even kill a bad guy? I'm pretty sure it was always the humans that dealt the death blow.

 
 
Blogger B-Call Says:

"Death Blow"??? Now there was a good movie!

 
 
Blogger Darren Says:

Optimus punched that one "bad guy" in the head and killed him. That was pretty much it.

 
 
Anonymous Artie Says:

Yeah, and that was the only decent robot v robot fight scene in the whole movie and it was a grand total of 25 seconds long.

 
 
Blogger Darren Says:

True.

 

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