directed by Michael Bay
starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Tyrese Gibson
All right, a Transformers movie! Giant robots collide in a battle royale! Enormous colorful and shiny metal boxes banging heads on the big screen! It’s an action packed neo-drama that guarantees to rock your socks up into your ass and have you begging for more! Or so it seems. I’m actually hoping that it’s finally out of everyone’s system. If there’s a tiny sliver of society that believes in the power of good cinema, please unite with me and rise up against these colossal box office superheroes from another world. There has got to be a better way to make a dime, entertain people, and produce a decent movie. One has to admit that Transformers is just too easy. It’s only natural that if you take a childhood favorite animated t.v. show and mix it with a well known producer and director to create a long anticipated “live” action full-length film, people are going to freak out. Everyone is going to want to see. Toys are going to get made. Fast food restaurants are going to cash in by promoting the thing and video games will appear. Why does it seem like anytime a craze like this comes around, there is never a good movie attached to it?
Transformers starts out moderately heartwarming, with a number of geniune laughs spattered about. Shia Labeouf is truly charming and worth a good percentage of the hype surrounding his name. He brings a style of relatable humor to the film and deserves the lead role he was given. In the beginning of the movie he receives his first car as a reward for getting all A’s in high school; a typical scenario for modern day Americans. The relationship that devolops between Labeouf and his new ride, which also happens to be the Transformer named Bumblebee, is the most entertaining and well written part of the whole movie. The best scene occurs when Bumblebee attempts to help his owner attract the dazzling Meagan Fox. Once Labeouf gets her inside of his car he discovers that the only songs his radio will play are excessively romantic. Bumblebee also stages a breakdown conveniently overlooking a breathtaking landscape absorbing the sun as it sets. Even more comical than the moment scripted was the notice of a large tree they had parked under, which looked exactly like a tree used in one of Michael Bay’s previous love scenes from Armageddon. At this point there was still hope for the movie, but unfortunately it had peaked. Once the action started to take place it was a downward spiral of not-so-special effects and dizzying camera tricks the rest of the way.
The movie falls into the “been there done that” category, if there is one. Are people still impressed by the thousands of computer geeks it takes to make a giant robot smash a car on the big screen? There were complaints that the last few Star Wars movies used too much C.G.I. – So how is Transformers acceptable? If the excuse that there is no other way to do it is being used, then creativity and originality is truly dead in the film industry. There are other ways. Models and latex can still be used with computers to act as ehancements, not the entire structure. Apart from shoving expensive graphics down our throats, why not give us a plot as well? We’ve seen computer generated dinosaurs, snakes, giants and robots running around for years now. There is nothing new here. Why do we do it? What are we looking for? I like to think that people are hoping for a story. It would be nice if instead of thinking about all of the dollars that are going to pour in, people thought of actually making a good movie. I know that we’re just talking about Transformers here, a child’s toy and cartoon, but that doesn’t mean that a plot has to fall by the wayside. It doesn’t have to be The Godfather but it shouldn’t be The Garbage Pail Kids either. There’s a moment where Optimus Prime (The leader of the Transformers) and his team are hiding in the main character’s backyard. This is exactly the kind of trashy, easy to throw together humor that wastes time and brain cells. It went on for way too long. I’m sure the kids thought it was funny to see the big clumsy robots trample a beloved garden and break expensive items, but children laughing doesn’t necessarily mean movie gold. That scene might even have been acceptable if there was a big payoff in the end but there just wasn’t. At least not for the audience.
The many complicated moving parts of the Transformers and their enemies made the fight scenes almost impossible to understand. They looked like huge mounds of trash rolling around the city creating a mess. I couldn’t tell what was up or down. To make things worse the camera never stopped moving. I waited the whole movie for at least one good action sequence and when it arrived I felt sick and had a headache. And what the hell happened once John Turturro’s character showed up and confiscated Bumblebee? Things took such a dramatic turn at that point, I wondered if another director had hijaked the film to put his or her own spin on things. Slapstick jokes and toliet humor, such as a robot urinating on someone, destroyed any good feelings I thought I had previously.
If you are still impressed by computer graphics, see Transformers. If you loved the toys and the t.v. show and don’t care about how simple and unimaginative the movie might be, see Transformers. If you have children, taking them to this movie could be fun. If you’ve never heard of a Transformer, stay the hell away. If you’re hoping for great action, stay the hell away. If you’re like me and every time you see a movie you hope someone raised the bar just a little bit at least, then not only should you stay away from this movie but warn your friends. It’s just not worth the hype.