7/03/2007

Explodo Robo Porn

Oh lord, where to begin?

I think I'll start with the things I disliked, because, to be honest, I enjoyed Transformers a lot more than I thought I was going to, despite the god-awful dialogue and nonsensical plot ... ah, I guess that's where I can start.

Okay, a quick disclaimer before I continue: I saw the movie with people from work. That is, writers. Writers whose ideas and opinions I respect. Writers who, also, are friends with John Rogers, one of the writers of the movie (he received a "Story by" credit). (I'd really love to read Rogers' original script for this movie, before it got into the hands of Kurtzman and Orci.) So I just want to have that out there before I move on.

Most of the dialogue was simply atrocious. Seriously. I groaned. People in the theatre chuckled or downright laughed and I just sat there shaking my head. There were a few good lines sprinkled throughout, but for the most part, it was just cheesy one-liners and pseudo-technobabble that wouldn't have made sense had it been written by Stephen Hawking.

Next, the plot. Plot, I hear you say? What plot? Well, yeah, exactly. Something about a cube called the "Allspark" (Allspark, can you fuckin' believe that? What the fuck is an Allspark?) and taking over the world. Whatever. Made no sense. Didn't really have to, but it would've been nice if it did. I guess with a movie about giant alien transforming robots, we were fortunate to get any sort of explanation at all.

The part where Bumblebee shines his chest light into the sky to signal the other Autobots (how'd they even see it, anyway? It didn't seem to be that powerful a light) ... total Bat-symbol ripoff. Very cheesy.

That little fuckin' robot, Rumble, I guess it was, the one on Air Force One and all that, he was fucking annoying. I wanted to rip his little head off myself. That grating noise he made, it raked across my brain like nails on a chalkboard.

And why were the symbols on the cube, and the subtitles when the robots spoke, why did their letters have a distinct Asian flair to them? They swing by Japan 10,000 years ago?

The bit with the red-socked president asking for a Ding-Dong - pretty lame. Not funny at all. But, then again, lots of what was supposed to be funny wasn't. Like the robots acting like the Three Stooges around the Witwicky home. Silly, yes. Funny, no.

John Turturro - can he chew the scenery any harder? I love the man, but wow. He wasn't over the top, he chomped his way right through the fuckin' middle.

I just realized I've been typing "fuck" a lot. Perhaps it's because, if I saw giant alien robots beating the crap out of each other, I wouldn't limit myself to a PG-13 vocabulary.

Women that look like Rachael Taylor simply aren't superhackers. That totally took me out of the movie. I sat there the whole time thinking to myself, "No one that beautiful is that smart and tech-savvy."

Megan Fox is absolutely gorgeous and Shia LaBeouf acted like her having a juvie record was a deal breaker for him. Uh-huh. Like that's believable.

"I gave up my future when I wouldn't turn my dad in! When have you ever had to sacrifice anything in your perfect little life?" - who writes this crap?

Don't get me started on the fact that the vast majority of this film was nothing more than a commercial for GM, who make some of the world's crappiest cars. What self-respecting transforming sentient alien robot turns himself in a Pontiac Solstice? Blech.

Michael Bay is Satan's gift to the film industry. His choppy cuts and split-second edits made my fuckin' head hurt. The man hasn't met a shakycam he hasn't fallen in love with. The only thing he's good at is balls-to-the-wall action sequences, which, of course, this movie had in spades.

The action sequences were spectacularly impressive. I tip my hat to the CGI crew who built those towering Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em robots. They looked amazing. As always, it's the little things. The way their gears and servos would continue to move after transforming. There were moving parts when they walked. You could almost see where all their parts went when they transformed from vehicle to robot. I could watch all the action scenes, hell, I could watch all the non-dialogue heavy scenes over and over again, they were so fuckin' pretty.

Hearing Peter Cullen's voice admittedly sent chills down my spine. That's a voice I'll never forget, y'know? It wouldn't have been right had they used someone else to voice Prime.

Hugo Weaving as Megatron - good call.

During that final battle between Prime and Megatron, I couldn't help but think of their fight at the beginning of the animated Transformers movie from '86. That fight was fuckin' hardcore. Those two pounded the crap out of each other, and then Megatron kills Prime. Kills him. Within the first 20 minutes of a kids movie. Hell, half the Autobots were killed during that initial battle. That was pretty shocking for a kid of seven or eight. Of course, they only killed off the characters so they could introduce new characters and sell more toys, but that's besides the point. I didn't care about marketing when I first saw that movie. I cared that these characters whom I had grown to love and care about were massacred before my then-innocent, young eyes.

That was kind of a problem with this new movie, too. I never once really cared about the Transformers. We never got to know the Decepticons at all. They were just evil, which I don't buy anymore. No such thing as pure good or pure evil. Might've worked if I were still eight, but not anymore. And the Autobots ... Bumblebee was nothin' but Shia's puppy. He was E.T. to Shia's Eliot. A pet. There were some cute, Love Bug-esque moments, sure, but c'mon. And Optimus ... his dialogue was some of the worst of all. His exposition, his rah-rah humans-can-be-so-much-more platitudes at the end of the movie - feh. Coulda done without it.

And speaking of Shia's Eliot, I mean, Sam ... that kid, Shia, he's a pretty decent actor. He's got this earnestness about him. He's so into his roles that you can't help but buy into the situation. He makes it difficult not to enjoy the moments when he's on the screen. Hopefully he'll become a better actor, but even if he doesn't, this movie, combined with Indy 4 next year, will make him a huge star.

Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson were very convincing as airborne soldiers, except for the fuckin' lack of swearing. C'mon, these guys are supposed to be battle-hardened soldiers, remember?

When Prime rammed his sword (since when does Prime have a sword?) up through the bottom of whatever Decepticon he was fighting's jaw, that was fuckin' hardcore. That's a battle-hardened intergalactic robot warrior right there.

Did anyone else keep wanting to hear the hard rock soundtrack from the '86 animated movie?

I enjoyed Transformers a lot more than I thought I was going to, despite its inherent silliness. It's certainly not a great film, though it's probably Michael Bay's best one to date (I still think The Island could have been so much more had it had a better writer, such as Andrew Niccol of Gattaca). The explodo robo porn was truly sensational, to which the 10-year-old inside me can attest, as he had to change his underwear when the movie was over.

Given my initial trepidation regarding this movie, and Bay's directing of it, I honestly couldn't have asked for a better film, which I think is the highest praise I can possibly heap upon its scorched and burnished metal chassis.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's the most negative positive I've ever read, lol. You liked it overall, yet spent 90% on what you didn't like. I have to agree on the whole GM thing. I felt so sorry for the Autobots. Out of all the car dealerships in the world they could've crashed landed next to.... they got stuck next to a GM dealership. Poor, poor Autobots. (I have to admit I like the new Camaro.)

As far as the cheesy lines, good versus evil, and blantant marketing goes... THAT'S Transformers for 'ya. It's a kids movie, just like the old '86 movie. Weird Al sings a song in it, and there's the "Nop-nup-nip-neep-noop-grimy-bom" universal greeting. (Great line at parties, though.)

-Ben

raptorpack said...

You have gotten a lot more angrier out there.

Prime always had a sword. And the name was Bonecrusher. Seriously, if our gonna flame your childhood maybe you best brush up on it.

I agree with Ben. That's Transformers. It's a kids show. Only now the kids shows have lots of mechandise. And this movie targets teens into image and (can you believe it) cool looking cars that cost way to much.

And I'm not slamming your writers respect, but dude. This a film not a book. This goes back to what I said about films and books.

We are just not the target audience for marketing anymore so everything looks like crap when it shoved down our throats with out our permission.

I think I have lost some respect for your film critiquing skills. Why don't you take a few minutes...breathe...do some yoga...light a little insence...put on a dirty movie...wait...huh...closed doors and all :)

1031 said...

I don't see how my film critiquing skills can be called into question simply because I'm able to discern crap from non-crap.

This movie, it was crap. Entertaining-in-some-parts-crap, but crap nonetheless.

I prefer the films that I see to treat me as a viewer with at least a modicum of intelligence, that's all. The original animated film trusted me as a viewer more than Bay's ejaculatory robot military fetishistic slop, and I was eight at the time.

Call this a kids' film all you want, but so was The Incredibles, and that was a good movie that didn't insult my intelligence and pander to the lowest common denominator.

Flashy cars, sweeping camera movements, jittery editing and lots of shit blowing up does not a good movie make. Bay's Transformers was a car commercial combined with a music video, not a film.

This could have been a pretty cool movie, but, other than the CGI, this was a sad and pathetic joke.

As an aside, "Only now the kids shows have lots of merchandise"? Transformers started life as merchandise before it became a half hour animated commercial.

And what does anything I wrote have to do with this being a film, not a book? The writers I was referring to write both films and TV shows as well as comics.

And just because something is a film and not a book, does that mean it's okay for it to be silly and stupid and an insult to our intelligence? Good is good and bad is bad, regardless of what form something takes. I'm not going to lower my standards for "good" just because something is a "kids' film" and not a book. Why should we have to accept mediocrity for quality?

You guys liked the film, and that's great. I'm glad you did. I said it was a fun, entertaining movie, and it is, but there's just no way I can call it "good" with a straight face.

Anonymous said...

You're totally right. Yeah, I know it isn't Oscar material. But it was entertaining. That's the key for me. If I pay 9 bucks to see a movie, it damn well better entertain me, lol. I think the day the entertainment industry takes itself too seriously will be the same day it is no longer entertaining.

1977 Top Sales. Star Wars.
1977 Best Picture. Annie Hall.

1984 Top Sales. Ghostbusters.
1984 Best Picture. Amadeus.

-Ben

Anonymous said...

Other stoopid movies I like.

Space Balls
Goonies
Indiana Jones (any)
Highlander

You could pick apart any of these movies with your journalism degree. But c'mon, who doesn't like the Goonies?

-Ben

raptorpack said...

I think we got off on the wrong foot because you are confusing some of the things I am saying and not realizing that we agree on a lot of points.

First off, my bad, I'm sorry for getting you riled up on what appears to be a miscommunication.

1. This Transformer movie is not for kids. It is reflective of the kid’s show WE used to watch. We used watch some amazing crap that had way cheesy lines and only saw the world in black vs. white...we were kids. It made sense to us. So they made a movie that reflects that TV show that WE use to watch to (probably) give us some sense of nostalgia.

2. Bay is a terrible director. The shaky camera movements make my stomach lurch. That being said, it appears to me when a big summer movie extravaganza is about to happen they (you know...them) call Bay and say, "Hey, can you make something big and loud that movie goers, with little brains, will pay tens of twenties to see and eventually buy our outlandishly priced DVDs?"
Bay, "Does it have to be, like, good?"
Them, "Would we be calling you if it did?"

3. This movie is, obviously, a giant advertisement. I'm saying that back in the day we had one toy per character...standard TV show toy line. Now, we have, like, 5 toys of the same guy in different poses, colors, with clothes/without, this one has a hat, etc., plus the video games, ad nausium. So when I said, "Only now the kid’s shows have lots of merchandise," this is what I meant. Kids don't play with them, they just collect them. We use to have friends over and always switch it up for good guys and bad guys. We played with our toys, even after they broke. Kids don't do that and advertisers know that. So now kid’s cartoons are basically just one big commercial for kids to bother you while you're on the phone.

4. A big one, we obviously have a different definition of the word 'good' when we use it to refer to movies. I say good to down play my intelligence so the layman can understand me. I mean good the same way you use entertaining and fun. The reason is because I have no need to flaunt my movie critiquing skillz. Most people (about 95%) want to know if it was good or bad and that's the end of it. So I say it was good 'cause I had fun and they probably will also. For example, someone asked me about Shrek 3. I flat out told them to not waste their money because it was terrible. They didn't listen, of course, and they told me it was bad. I said "I know, I told you."
They said, "No, you said it was terrible." Apparently, they thought that I thought it was so terrible that it had to be seen. Like when you smell something bad when you're with someone, then you say, "Smell this" and they smell it after just watching you wretch from the stench. So now I say good or bad, without feeling or enthusiasm.

5. A film is not a book. What I meant (and you can attest to it) is that a writer doesn't make a film. Directors, producers, and studios do. A writer can give input but it is the director, producer, and studios who have final say, unless creative control has been acquired. Then they all bitch it out until a compromise is reach, which it probably just as bad as the writer not getting his skill across since he must alter to pander to his partners and to the general movie goers, which we are not. In truth, I just don't care what your writer friends say because it is going to be bad regardless, for most mainstream movies. Now, for other 'films' like Annie Hall, Blade Runner, Citizen Kane, The Godfather, etc. These are movies I respect the opinions of writers. But seriously Michael Bay, what else would I expect but probably the most horrible review ever. And I don't want to hear someone spit all over something that a lot of people, obviously, put a lot of hard work into (not referring to Michael Bay but to all the unfortunate souls that had to be associated to him).

6. Now I go on the compromising defensive. You need to go back and familiarize yourself with Transformers. Prime has always had a sword and the All-Spark (also known as the Matrix) has always been mentioned. It is their god. In much the same way we say 'Blessed be' or 'God go with you'. They use to say "May the light of the All Spark guide your way." And as for the plot, yes it is different from the cartoon in that they had a battle over Earth crashed here millions of years ago and went into shut down mode for repairs until a Volcanic explosion woke them up (around the 1980s). Well, this film took an obvious 'Christian' approach saying that the All Spark brings life to planets and they said it crashed here 10,000 years ago which most die-hard Christians believe is when life started here. That was lame. And Prime's cheesy lines were not just based on the fact they are cheesy (which they are) but because he is a soldier, a warrior, an honorable being. These people tend to say very cheesy things. I can't even stand talking them most of the time.

So there, hopefully you will calm down now. :)

1031 said...

Who knew posts about a crappy movie would generate so many comments?

So, TJ, what're you're basically saying is that we're in agreement on Transformers being a bad movie, but a fun and entertaining bad movie?

As for my knowledge of Transformers lore, honestly, I don't care. C'mon, I haven't watched any of that stuff in 15 or 20 years. I might as well have been a noobie when it came to this movie. All I know is, something called an "Allspark" sounds ridiculous. As does the colorfully '80s name of their planet, Cybertron.

And I honestly don't remember any of my Prime toys having a sword. Guns, yes, but I don't remember a sword. And, like I said, other than the '86 movie, I haven't watched any of the episodes in such a long time, so I shall take your word for it.

I guess I just wanted something more than a nostalgia trip from this movie. I wanted more than cheesy lines and childish plots. I grew up over the past 20 years and I thought it'd be cool to have Transformers grow up with me, get that mature, contemporary edge to it, be treated more realistically. That kind of movie I would've enjoyed.

Like, show me the war on Cybertron. Let me get to know the characters before they came to Earth. Why was Megatron such a megalomaniac? What was his and Prime's history? Just throw me some backstory, that's all I ask.

And Ben, c'mon, how can you call Indiana Jones and Highlander and Spaceballs "stoopid" movies? Those are classics, man. Well, the first Highlander, anyway. And Especially Indiana Jones. There was so much great plot and characterization in those movies. I'm not hopeful about the upcoming fourth one, but my fingers are crossed. But there's a huge world of difference between Raiders of the Lost Ark and Bay's Transformers.

raptorpack said...

So, 4 days of bitching blogs and comments and we came to an agreement...we all had fun, HA. Sometimes intelligence has it perks.

raptorpack said...

(whisper) and Goonies rulz ;P

mick said...

Ok - All I know is hot chicks and giant fighting robots kick fucking ass.

Although yes we have all grown up in the past 15 years, isn't it nice just to sit down on the floor and watch some cartoons?

This was my cartoon. Hot chicks and giant fighting robots. This shit had missles and guns and tits and flame throwers and a nice ass.
This wasn't meant to win any awards or to bring forth attention to the current state of the nations morale grounding or anything like that.

This movie was so guys could go and watch giant robots blow the crap out of each other. That is all I expected/wanted and this movie was more than adequate.

raptorpack said...

RAmen

Anonymous said...

I like Goonies, however...

If you step on a rake, it will not stop vertically.

If you shake pipes and plumbing, they tend to leak. They wouldn't ocsillate back n forth. Also the people above in the showers might have noticed a drop in pressure, but the whole handles bursting from the walls and people getting pulled in was dumb. When Sloth "fixes" the pipes, you hear the cheesy schreams, crashes and a police siren. I'd love to live in a place with 5 sec response times.

Bats burst from the iron grate in the basement. Bats have neither the speed or size to do that.

How does a man who sits chained to a chair doing nothing but watch TV become so strong?

Data's punching glove could never work. The slow speed combined with his small mass would do nothing. His plastic teeth grappling hooks could never work.

Where does a pirate find the time and engineering skills to build so many traps?

How does a a pirate ship get inside a cave with no large entrances?

Yet, I like the Goonies. It's not meant to be serious. It certainly has its charm, and is fun to watch in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 sort of way.

In the end of this, I think I've overanalyzed this. I'll just go back to what I first pointed out. You had a very negative review of a movie you liked. It's just a blog, but generally I'd expect a favorable review to spend at least half its length on the good points.

Maybe I'm just being harder on you since you have a journalism degree and expect more from your writing, I dunno. It's probably not fair of me to expect that in a blog.

-Ben

1031 said...

C'mon now, I think that's a little unfair. I mentioned a number of positive things:

1. Action sequences

2. CGI (which kind of goes along with #1)

3. Bringing Peter Cullen back to voice Optimus

4. Hugo Weaving as Megatron

5. Shia LaBeouf

6. Duhamel and Gibson as the military guys

7. Optimus jabbing his sword up through the head of, who was it, TJ, Bonecrusher? (did I neglect to ask why there's a giant robot named "Bonecrusher" when giant robots have no bones?)

and

8. "The explodo robo porn was truly sensational, to which the 10-year-old inside me can attest, as he had to change his underwear when the movie was over."

See. I can be positive if I try.

mick said...

Wow - your last comment should have been your blog post!

mick hearts explodo robo porn!

Anonymous said...

I apologize. I was just trying to be critically constructive. Let's pretend that this is a newspaper review, and go over some stuff. Don't take anything personnal.

"Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson were very convincing as airborne soldiers, except for the fuckin' lack of swearing. C'mon, these guys are supposed to be battle-hardened soldiers, remember?"

"I just realized I've been typing "fuck" a lot. Perhaps it's because, if I saw giant alien robots beating the crap out of each other, I wouldn't limit myself to a PG-13 vocabulary."

My response to all this would be. The movie is rated PG-13. Walking into a PG-13 movie and coming out complaining that there isn't enough profanity is a bit over the top. I know you want a rated R Transformers. If the movie was rated R, I'd consider the point valid.

"(Allspark, can you fuckin' believe that? What the fuck is an Allspark?)"

"That little fuckin' robot, Rumble, I guess it was, the one on Air Force One and all that, he was fucking annoying."

"John Turturro - can he chew the scenery any harder? I love the man, but wow. He wasn't over the top, he chomped his way right through the fuckin' middle."

"Michael Bay is Satan's gift to the film industry. His choppy cuts and split-second edits made my fuckin' head hurt."

As for the rest of the swearing, it makes you appear pissed off when I read it. That's probably why TJ wrote, "You have gotten a lot more angrier out there."

Overall, I think the long length of criticisms and language used undermined the positive conclusion.

My two cents.

-Ben

Jennie said...

um... I should get bonus points for making it through your entire post, but I just... can't... get through all the comments. picture charlie brown's mom: "wa wa wa wa wa wa wa wa" I still have a transformer action figure at my parents house, though. so, uh - yeah. I do remember Prime having a sword. Or is that my memory of Thundercats sneaking in?

1031 said...

Ha, just you wait 'til they make that CGI Thundercats movie they announced last month.

rainbowponi said...

so i get lots of bonus points because i did make it through all the comments too!!!!
i love thundercats!!!! always had a crush on that red-headed leader.

p.s. i checked your blog just to decide if i wanted to see this movie. i think i'll wait til video.

any word on shrek 3?

and i saw harry potter but didnt see a review from you, did i miss it?

1031 said...

I have not seen either Shrek 3 or Harry Potter yet. I've heard Shrek is pretty not great, and Alissa has seen Harry Potter twice already, so there's that ringing endorsement. I'll probably wait 'til it's on DVD, just because I'm not as freakishly fanatical about Harry as some people are.