Monday, 18 July 2011

Transformers Review

I figured I should watch the first two Transformers movies again before going to the third one.  So, here we go.

When I first saw this movie, I think I so badly wanted it to be great that I fooled myself into thinking that it was.  I was a huge Transformers fan as a kid and wanted so bad for it to bring back all of those memories and such from my childhood.  Then, I watched it again and discovered that it really is not very good at all.  And I'm not a purist.  I understand that they have to modernize the movie from the 80s toys and make Optimus Prime a non-flat nosed truck and make Bumblebee something other than an old VW.  As a businessman, I understand that GM paid a lot of money to have Michael Bay feature their new Camaro.  I have no problems with that.  I do have a problem with not having Megatron turn into a gun that another Decepticon has to fire.  Megatron was always the ultimate egomaniac and for him to be reliant on others for his usefulness in battle was an aspect I really liked.  They did away with that in the movie and it makes me sad.

Michael Bay does one thing well.  He knows action.  His special effects and blowing up stuff is really, really good.  All of the robots are done very well and seem believable in structure.  However, they act like robots, have dialogue like robots and, sadly, are the best actors in the movie.  Save for John Turturro, all of the human element in this film is pretty much crap.  They rely too much on trying to deliver one-liners and make reference to old Transformers stuff and past Michael Bay movies that they forgot to actually write a decent script (the reference to Armageddon almost made me want to punch myself in the face to make sure I wasn't having a bad nightmare).  The acting (both human and voice over) is just very, very bad.  There's no other way to put it.  I did enjoy Turturro's performance but I think that may have something to do with his look.  He's a goofball trying to be serious in most of his roles and it comes off as likable.

I said Michael Bay does one thing well but that's the only thing.  He is consistently bad at getting good performances out of his actors and he doesn't seem to be getting very innovative on his camera work.  There are many times that I felt like I may have been watching Bad Boys.  His use of semi-slow motion makes you feel like you are watching a music video rather than a movie which I guess is fitting because that's how he got his start.  Bay also made the movie way too long in trying to develop the human side of things.  If it had any meat to it, that would have been an OK idea.  But 40 minutes of thin and weak crap seems like 90.

It pains me to say it because I still love the whole Transformers franchise from the 80s but I cannot, in good conscience, recommend that you see this movie.  If you like action, you do get plenty of very good action.  But that is all you will get.  Everything else is actually pretty painful.  But, I will continue to be fodder for Bay's money cannon because I like Transformers.

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