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Jul 24, 2007

Fletch's Film Review: Transformers

Well, I've put this off long enough to the point of irrelevance, but I figured I ought to at least post a short take with my thoughts on Transformers.

It's funny, really. For all the crap Michael Bay takes, he is generally regarded as a good "action director," experienced with big set pieces and complex action with a lot going on, be it gunfire or explosions or - most often - both. However, the big action sequences in Tranformers, expensive-looking as they may be, are probably the worst thing about the movie.

Most of the problem lies with the 'bots themselves. With this modern take on the 80s cartoon focused on a bit of realism when it comes to the origins and capabilities of the alien robots, the end result is a semi truck that, when transforming from upright form to truck form, seems to be made of a billion parts. The same could be said for any of the other robots. Now take that complexity and throw it into fight scenes between two or more hunks of metal that change shapes seemingly constantly. Add on to that the fact that the Decepticons all look generally the same (grays, blacks and whites) and the confusion really sets in (luckily, the Autobots are easier to tell apart).

What you're left with is essentially Independence Day with incomprehensible action. Sure, it's a loud, shiny spectacle (albeit with some very cool moments for anyone who grew up with the cartoon and toys), but in the end, it's empty, shallow and destined to be forgotten within moments of leaving the theater. So, a typical Bay film, in other words. Whether that's a good thing or bad thing for you depends on your feelings going in, I guess.

I'd expand more, but is it really necessary? Instead, just a couple more unorganized thoughts:

* Some may deride it, but I really enjoyed the "hidden location" (and explanation) of one of the robots. It's just the kind of geeky conspiracy theory that's just dumb enough to be brilliant.

* The movie would have been a good 2-3 times more enjoyable had they scrapped the entire "hackers/Aussie chick/Anthony Anderson" storyline. It added nothing, and was annoying and time consuming to boot. Jon Voight was laughably bad as well.

* John Turturro, playing essentially a role that looks like it belonged to Steve Buscemi, bombs. He's meant to be comic relief, and a bit of a threat to Shia LaBeouf, but just comes off as a pest.

* Though I wouldn't want to spoil the aforementioned location, let's just say that upon leaving that location, the action moves to a metropolitan area that was seemingly concocted just for the film. I found that interesting.

* Though I know some hate him (Gaylord, for instance), The Boof is probably the best thing the film has going for it - outside of the obvious. He doesn't take himself too seriously or too lightly, which is a good tone for these sorts of movies. It's the same reason Will Smith excels in these roles.

Fletch's Film Rating:

"Whatever."



5 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Transformers"

Gaylord said...

No mention of Megan Fox?!?! She came out of nowhere, and now shes the hottest thing in Hollywood, though her hooking up with Boof did hurt the film's credibility, shes way too hot.

WampaOne said...

I agree with the Hacher/Aussie chick supblot, but the lines from the big black dude and the cop raid there were priceless. Plus, I thought Voight nailed that the Secretary of Defense role

I know you feel "whatever" to this film, but from reading your post, I thought you were actually going for "Decent". Anyway, Gaylord said it first, just because of Megan Fox upgrade this one.

For the guys out there who watched that cartoon, I say, go for it and you won´t be disappointed. There just something about cars transforming into robots that makes you want to be ten and playing with car that transforms into robots again. Can´t wait for the sequel.

Fletch said...

Very perceptive, Wampa.

After I saw that I gave 1408 a "Whatever", I thought of upgrading TF to "Decent," as I definitely enjoyed it more than 1408.

It kind of depends on my mood, I guess. It will probably go down as a very watchable (and re-watchable) movie. Then again, a lot of bad movies could say that (Roadhouse, et al).

It wasn't terrible by any means, but it sure had some head scratchers in it.

Matt said...

I'm definitely in agreement with the Hacker subplot. As wampaone added, the Aussie chick didn't add a single thing to the movie and she pretty much disappears entirely later on and rightfully so.

Anthony Adams was funny at least, even if he didn't provide any more depth, and I think that was pretty much the theme of the entire movie.

Jasmine said...

I didn't grow up with Transformers, but thought the movie was enjoyable