Movie Review: Transformers

Too bad it couldn’t transform into a good movie

Man, I had such high hopes heading into this movie. A quick history: I owned just about every Transformer toy ever made in the 80s. I watched the cartoon religiously. I even bought Gobots, which were cheap imitations of Transformers.

So when I heard a movie was being made, I (a 30-year-old kid) was excited. When I heard Michael Bay — the man who produced two of the worst films ever made in Pearl Harbor and Armageddon (not to mention directing the awful Bad Boys movies) — was behind it, I was less excited.

Turns out, I had reason to be.

First off, the good points of the movie: Yes, the Transformers are neat. Yes, the action sequences are cool. We knew that would be the case coming in. But a pleasant surprise was Shia Lebeouf, who actually performed well despite an awful script and carried the movie.

Beyond that? A few funny moments here and there … not near enough to make this movie what I would call “good.”

Now the bad: The plot, for one, is awful. Why is there a computer hacker who looks like a model? Why do the Transformers need the cube again? (The fact that I don’t know this answer bugs me, because this “cube” is the whole point of the movie … yet, I still don’t know what it does).

So apparently, Megatron (the bad guy) was discovered in the North Pole in the 1930s, and he and this cube, which are hidden in the Hoover Dam, are the basis of the technology we have today? Wait … what? So we had this amazing technology, yet all we could do with it was invent Pong 40 years later?

While I’m on a rant, why does one of the Transformers talk like a gangsta? Why does one have a British accent?

Like I said above, the Transformers were neat, but the “dialogue” given to them was, in short, atrocious. The line “They’re more than meets the eye” was uttered at least three times. Then there’s a scene were one of the Transformers lets its “liquid” go, so it looks like it’s urinating on John Turturro.

Look, I’d say this was great and all if this was a kid’s movie. But Michael Bay couldn’t decide if he wanted this to be a kid’s movie. So there’s a lot of cussing and sexual overtones for the adults, but we get pee-pee and fart jokes for the kids?

And in the midst of this semi-serious movie, we get robots with names like “Optimus Prime,” “Bumblebee,” “Jazz,” “Megatron,” “Bonecrusher,” … I know it’s from the cartoon … but it was even goofy for a cartoon.

Oh, and let’s not forget the other thing that makes this a Michael Bay movie … the slow motion, patriotic camera shots. Soldiers walking away from a plane get slow motion treatment. Little innocent girls watching the big bad robots crash to earth are given cute lines like “are you the tooth fairy?”

I’m a writer by trade, but I feel like this review has been as poorly put together as this movie was … but there’s really no other way to go about this. It was a jumbled mess … and I’m usually an apologist for movies aimed at nerds like me (i.e. Star Wars I-III).

I just did not like this movie, and I wanted to. I think my wife Jennifer summed it up best on her message at USAtoday.com’s “Pop Candy” Web site today.

Well…my husband (Transformers fan as kid), a friend and I (not remotely familiar with the cartoon) went to see it. Though I wasn’t a Transformers fan foaming at the mouth to see this, I thought it would be enjoyable and, in fact, going to the movie was my idea. As we left the theater, my husband summed it up best: I feel dumber now. Aside from the humor, Shia LaBouef, John Turturro and the special effects, this movie was really terrible. The dialogue was not smart, the movie was too long, the plot had so many holes in it. And, the special effects weren’t even that great…they made everything happen so fast that you couldn’t tell what was going on half the time. How did this movie get any good reviews? How did USA Today give it 3 of 4 stars?? I want my money back!!!

GRADE: *
(1 * out of 5)

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3 thoughts on “Movie Review: Transformers

  1. Finally having seen this movie, I can comment on it. After reading your review in February, I resisted as long as I could, but finally my wife caved and rented it on the basis that anything with Shia LaBeouf in it couldn’t be THAT bad. And my wife enjoyed Bay’s previous disasters (Pearl Harbor, Armageddon), and likes slo-mo shots of soldiers walking away from things, and pointless “cute” lines delivered by little girls to menacing things. Well, Diane fell asleep before the first Transformer spoke, which was ironic, because I felt that that was the point at which the movie crossed the line from 2-star yawner to total embarrassment. In addition to the ridiculous plot holes you mentioned, I found myself why a robot would have been named “bone crusher” on a planet in which none of the inhabitants have bones. And why the lazy Autobots needed a cube to “rebuild their planet”, instead of just rolling up their sleeves and doing some hard work. There was the laughable “foreshadowing”, where Prime says, “If all else fails, I’ll put the cube in my chest and destroy it and myself because I’m so, so noble.” I wondered what the “all else” part consisted of. Apparently it involved putting the cube in an helicopter piloted by humans and hoping Decepticons wouldn’t blow it up. (Ooops. Oh well.) Why didn’t prime think of shoving it into Megatron’s chest himself? Why do missiles sometimes hurt the Decepticons, and sometimes not? And I’d love to have been a robot-fly listening in to the meeting where the bad guys first decide to call themselves Decepticons, “because hey, that’s what we do — we deceive! It’s perfect!”

    All that being said, I have to agree with Transformers PC Wallpaper when he says, “what on earth did you expect”? The cartoon itself was based not on comic book source material like so many super-hero movies, but on a line of action figures. In this case, the toys preceded the cartoon. When we were kids, I remember occassionally stopping my play and wondering, hey, why are they fighting exactly, and why here on Earth? So I’d make up something that made sense to an 8-year-old and get back to playing. I guess the older we get, the more demanding we are in the plot department.

    Incidentally, I never had many transformers because we were poor, and Transformers were the “high-end toys”. G.I. Joes and Super Powers figures were $3.37 at Wal-Mart, but the Transformers, Mask, and other figures that were vehicle-based went for over $5.00. Too rich for two teachers with three kids. I watched in envy as other kids played with these toys, and felt ashamed at birthday parties when other kids were given these toys as gifts, and I could afford only dollar-store fodder. I believe I’m going to go commit suicide now. Excuse me a moment…

  2. I am glad I found your site on google. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my brother were just preparing to do some research about this. I am very glad to see such reliable information being shared freely out there.
    Best Regards,
    Cloten from Akron city

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