Movie: "Transformers"
Year: 2007
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Michael Bay
Writing credits: John Rogers, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 1/13/2008

Plot: A bunch of good robots from outer space that transform into product placements battle a bunch of evil robots from outer space that transform into product placements over a pair of oldtime spectacles being sold on eBay.

Review: Ah, remember the old "Transformers" cartoon from back in the day, with its charmingly unusual heroic characters such as klutzy-but-means-well Optimus Prime, homicidal Ironhide with no regard for human life, and mute Bumblebee who couldn't control his overwhelming urge to urinate on people? And remember Starscream who looked like a gorilla and a midget Soundwave (called Frenzy in this) who talked in an annoying series of squeaks and shrieks? Yeah, I can't either. But unfortunately, that's exactly what you're getting here. A lot of people apparently loved this movie, which is bad news for them, because this is a movie made for stupid people.

Granted, a movie based on a cartoon that was little more than a thinly-veiled commercial for a toy line probably shouldn't be expected to deliver much, but this was to the cartoons what the Super Mario Bros movie was to its source video games, bearing almost no relation to the classic and fondly remembered original. The most obvious thing that hits you right off the bat is the god-awful insectoid character designs that look more like something out of "Neon Genesis Evangelion" than the Transformers they're supposed to represent. The filmmakers have said in interviews that they tried the original "boxy" look and it didn't look realistic enough, so they opted for the overly complex and eye-straining "my insides are on my outsides" approach instead; this way all of the Transformers resemble C-3PO with his skin off, which is just a brilliant design for robotic warriors, leaving all their vital moving parts exposed for their enemies to get all grabby with. Perhaps the filmmakers, in their vain quest for realism, momentarily forgot they were making a movie about GIANT TRANSFORMING ROBOTS.

The only Transformers that have any real personality to speak of are Optimus Prime, Megatron, and Ironhide, which is a shame because on the original series most of the characters actually had distinctive traits (though admittedly most of them were one-trick ponies and many of the early Decepticons were boring yes-men). What little dialog the secondary characters have here is mostly interchangeable, and Starscream, Megatron's oh-so-detestable foil, disappointingly had only one fucking line, and it was a worthless one at that. People have argued in the movie's defense that there were too many characters to spend time on all of them, and to those people I have two things to say: 1) See the first two X-Men movies for great examples of how to better balance a character ensemble, and 2) Maybe if they hadn't wasted 75% of the movie following human douchebags who nobody cares about, they could have spent more time on the characters people paid money to see.

One of the most painful scenes for me to sit through was one where the audience laughed hardest, where our Autobots who weigh god only knows how many collective tons are stealthily sneaking around in Sam Witwicky's back yard, always just narrowly avoiding his parents' detection, while they grill their son about the topic of masturbation. Optimus Prime actually mutters "Oops, my bad!" after clumsily fumbling around and breaking things. This was lowbrow American Pie humor at its worst, but the audience gobbled it up, since masturbation is funny because it makes people uncomfortable, am I right guys??

The final battle is a confusing mess of typical Hollywood editing, where the fighting is cut so quickly that it's hard to follow the action and many characters are indistinguishable in the brief nanoseconds that you see them. And what Sam Witwicky ultimately decides to do with the MacGuffin (the all-powerful All-Spark which creates robo-life), defies all logic and common sense, given that they spent the better part of the movie trying to keep it away from the Decepticons. Had there been any cosmic justice at all, his act of extreme stupidity would have backfired and Optimus Prime's last words would have been "Sam, you idiot. Now we're fucked." right before everything went all pear-shaped and everyone died.

In the aftermath, the death of one of the heroes is handled with such gravity I expected Optimus Prime to cheerfully say "So who's up for pizza!" after briefly acknowledging their fallen comrade (one of my favorites from the cartoon who was a twisted mockery I was all too happy to see die here). And we also come to understand that the Transformers can fly around in space with no problem, but a little bit of snow and ice on Earth is enough to freeze up their systems (guess which of those environments is colder).

The one thing they did get right, which boggles my mind considering just how much they got wrong, was the casting of original voice actor Peter Cullen in the role of Optimus Prime. There was something momentarily delightful about hearing that voice come out of a live-action (albeit insanely ugly) Prime, but it's a shame that they wasted his voice on shit dialog like "Oops, my bad". The fans got to vote for one line that Optimus would say in the movie, and it was some nonsense about all sentient beings having the right to live, but after seeing this movie I really wish that "Megatron, I fucked your mom." had been the winner. I would have laughed, and that might have actually redeemed the movie somewhat.

Overall rating: Whole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Jan 14th, 2008, 06:19 AM
I never understood why the decided to cover Optimus Prime with flames. It seemed just too childish for me.
Jan 14th, 2008, 07:06 AM
"A lot of people apparently loved this movie, which is bad news for them, because this is a movie made for stupid people."

I concur!

And the "sneaking through the backyard" scene is used as effective torture in most countries.
drifting in the void
Jan 14th, 2008, 07:33 AM
I remember myself calling out for "Robo-Destruction" about ten times in that movie and what do I get? Some boring teenagers talking about things that are NOT Robo-Destruction. This movie fails. Oh, and the "What´s your Credit-Card-Number Sir?"-Scene was one of the worst things I have seen in a loooong time.
Jan 14th, 2008, 07:38 AM
I'm one of those stupid people who liked the movie, enough to see it four times.

Flame away!
Jan 14th, 2008, 07:40 AM
I agree utterly with this review. But then, my love affair with Transformers had been brutally and cruelly ended with the original movie, when my man Kickback was killed. They broke my heart and I never looked back.
Hitler's Canoe!
Jan 14th, 2008, 08:25 AM
This was seriously one of the worst pieces of crap I've seen in a long time. I think Southpark lampooned Bay's efforts most effectively in the Imagination Land episode; Some generals were trying to get some good ideas about how to fight the terrorists by interviewing film directors. Micheal Bay sits down and starts describing how a truck could flip over and slide along the road then explode into a million pieces. One general says something along the lines of "Uhh, that's not a movie you're describing... that's a special effect". The other general leans over and says in a hushed tone "he doesn't know the difference".

That really sums this film up.
Fucking Finland
Jan 14th, 2008, 09:39 AM
Well, atleast the sound score was great. [Track 10 - Scorponok]

But yeah, I haven't really followed the cartoons, but I found the movie quite average. Not something worth of 8€ though.
Jan 14th, 2008, 10:06 AM
Thank you, sir.

My gut instinct was to avoid this movie at all cost. I am glad to see from this review that my instincts served me well.
Jan 14th, 2008, 11:06 AM
I actually liked it. I turned off my brain, tried to look at it independently (not as the TF fanboy I am), and in rewatching a few of the cartoons, realized that it's not any better or worse than they were. It's kind of like the 2008 Godzilla. Gripes aside, it wasn't any better than some of the worse Toho flix. The big G is my fav and even though the Broderick flick was horrible, it still was better than Godzilla's Revenge.
Tropical Viking
Jan 14th, 2008, 11:33 AM
I didn't hate it that bad, but probably because I don't know the first thing about Transformers. I've never seen the TV series, and didn't have any of those toys, so even if optimus and bumblebee had a gay affair I wouldn't really mind. But I understand people going frustrated about this live-action port, because I have also been frustrated before (Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, Street fighter, oh, childhood memories...) and, well, the movie is dumb, the robot design is way convoluted, but I found it quite watchable. I've enjoyed seeing giant robots on screen, and despite all those design issues, I tought it looked quite impressive.
And there was this other phrase in the contest, "It's prime time!"
From the Home of MST3K
Jan 14th, 2008, 01:36 PM
I saw this movie for free before it was released, as a guest of Oscar Meyer and Lunchables (one of the union guys had two tickets and didn't want to go see a "kiddie flick" so he let me have 'em) and I /still/ felt ripped off. About halfway through I started riffing the movie, and I almost got thrown out.

I still think that my parting remark was the best:
Optimus: "But there is goodness in them."

Needless to say I beat feet out of there before the men in suits could find out who I was and who had given me tickets.
James Brown in hiding
Jan 14th, 2008, 02:28 PM
The first X-Men movie is a very very horrible example to use for cheracterization, especially when one bitches about cheracter discrepancies between the original source material and what we all saw on the big screen. Magneto wanting to turn everyone into mutants? Exploiting Rogue to do it? Sabretooth, one of the greatest villians in X-Men history resorted to a growling ape. Storm did nothing but stare pensively at everything like she was sucking on a sour kid way waaay too long. Yeah, THAT was a horrid movie.

Transformers? Not so bad. I grew up with the toys and the cartoons and enjoyed the movie. Lots of people complained about the cheracter designs but when we look at the old steel mullet on Megatron's head and the new, more demonic appearance he has it was an all to welcome change. Transformers in general was such a rediculous premise that it was nice to see it given somewhat of a realistic treatment. Namely because I'm not eight anymore and in order for me to be involved with what's on screen I have to be able to relate.

This movie was great. Make no mistake, it is by no means a masterpiece but it does do what it promises to do, that is be loud, explosive, flashy and entertaining. The fights thought chaotic and outright distracting at times is also understandable because the whole thing is told from a human point of view because essentially the movie is about a group of humans and the race as a whole trapped in an extra ordinary circumstance.

The common critisism most nerds have had reguarding the movie is the lack of the Transformers in it. Call me a straight male here but the movie has Megan Fucking Fox in it. This woman is possibly the finest looking lady to hit the screen in a long ass time. They coulda called that movie Transformers and the only nod to the original would have been Optimus flipping off the audience. If it was Megan running around in a bikini I wouldn't notice, nor care. If the movie's got someone as sexy as that in a belly shirt and mini skirt and you're complaining there's not enough giant robots in it? You're taking your hobby entirely too seriously.

Good movie, I had a blast but that's probably because I don't take it or myself too seriously.
Funky Dynamite
Jan 14th, 2008, 03:21 PM
I was at a disadvantage when I saw the movie because it was playing in the other room while I was doing something else, so all I got was the awful dialog and uninteresting characters. Eventually, I came out to watch, and I thought there were some interesting designs for the transformers, and their animations were really well done. I'm not really familiar with the original stuff, but it still looked ok. Unfortunately, there was all this other crap on the periphery that kept it from being a good movie. Really, if they just condensed it to just the big fight at the end, I don't think anyone would object. They could call it a "Director's Cut".
CEO Boobs
Jan 14th, 2008, 04:03 PM
Whether or not the designs were too far from the original for your taste it was still cool to see them fight and transform. Sure, scenes like Sam's backyard and Jazz's "urban" colloquialisms were weak attempts at humor. But watching Barricade chase Bumblebee or Optimus shiv Devestator through the head was quite thrilling. A movie based off a cartoon that was only a big product placement itself to begin with; I'd say it wasn't that bad.
I likes PIE!
Jan 14th, 2008, 04:27 PM
i broke up with a woman over this film. she liked it and i could no longer bring myself to be around her.
2 cool for school
Jan 14th, 2008, 05:09 PM
Humans are more than meets the eye *tear*.
Forum Virgin
Jan 14th, 2008, 05:38 PM
I saw this movie 3 times in the week it came out. Not because it was good, oh no. Because I had three friends who all wanted to see it with me but couldn't do it the same day.

No good deed goes unpunished, as they say.
Built in the 80s
Jan 14th, 2008, 07:05 PM
I think one pickle is a bit harsh, but otherwise i agree with what your saying. The depressing thing is i walked out of the movie releived that Bay hadn't ruined Transformers even more! It's safe to say that my expectations were pretty low.

What i don't understand is why they didn't get Welker for Megatron? Surely he could still do a fairly decent Megatron. It sounds lame but i actually had tears in my eyes when i heard Cullen's voiceover at the beginning, as this wave of nostalgia crashed over me. Not long after that (maybe two minutes) i felt the cold hard smack back to reality when i realised that this was NOT going to be a good film.
Jan 14th, 2008, 07:20 PM
Honest to God I was a big fan of this franchise. Then I saw the movie. Now every time I even hear about this movie or the franchise I have to punch a baby. After reading this article alone 5 infants got suckered.
Forum Virgin
Jan 14th, 2008, 07:44 PM
I gotta say as much as I love the originals I also like this movie. I think it works as a movie. As far as the non boxy look, look at cars. The cars in the 80's were boxy cars now are more streamlined. The "my bad" line, they learned english through the radio and internet, the originals used slang from the time and so do these.
Your Doing It Wrong
Jan 14th, 2008, 07:57 PM
The one thing i couldnt stand beyond the savage product placement (i.e. XBox-bot, the Mountaindewinator, and the Nokia Death-bot) was the pathetic, rushed attempt to have a love story meshed with a robotic battle for the sake of humanity.... "omg im so hot" "omg your so hot" "omg i used to watch my dad steal cars" "omg i hate you and everything stand for despite the fact that ive been swooning over your fucking vagina for the whole movie" "omg just because i used to steal cars doesnt mean im not still hot" "omg your right, hold my hand while giant robots and blowing up everything in sight" "i love you" "ROBOTS!!!"
Dr.Acula MD
Jan 14th, 2008, 11:44 PM
Fuck the robots, I watched this movie for the palpable sex dripping from Megan Fox...

Oh who am I kidding, I teared up when Prime transformed for the first time. Then threw up during the "hiding in the backyard" scene.
Is a thin donkey
Jan 14th, 2008, 11:53 PM
Protoclown, I honestly thought you were going to give this a 0.5, consider your hatred for Michael Bay.

Compared to the cartoons, this well and truly sucked. Any movie that has Linkin Park in it's soundtrack immediately sucks in my book.

And to all those who are defending it because of Megan Fox (Who fully deserves her last name), just download naked pictures of her off the net like everybody else.
Forum Chaos Lord
Jan 15th, 2008, 02:44 AM
I'd give it a solid 1.5 Pickles, since it's not done by Uwe Fucking Boll.

The movie focuses entirely too much on the wholly unlikable protagonist and his useless accessory female counterpart. Had they merely focused on the giant fucking robots - hell, keep the damn marines as well - the movie wouldn't have suffered so much fail.

But noooo, we have fecking silly robot hijinks, Bumblebee urinating on someone, and miscellaneous stupid crap in such gargantuan numbers that it boggles the mind. Hell, there are extras in this movie with more screen time than Jazz.

Micheal Bay needs to be shot. In the face. With a crowbar.
Jan 15th, 2008, 04:24 AM
the transformers suck, you guys

they always have
James Brown in hiding
Jan 15th, 2008, 10:53 AM
Yeah they did suck but they were entertaining. I think that's why I liked the movie. It had lazers and robots that looked somewhat realistic. I think it was just that old school fans couldn't accept the fact that the cheracter designs really fucking sucked. I can prove it.
Forum Virgin
Jan 15th, 2008, 12:12 PM
The movie wasn't bad because it was a big advert or a storyless constipated-looking-giant-robot orgy, it was horrible because THEY TORE JAZZ IN HALF! I cried. Alot.
#1 on the ignore list
Jan 15th, 2008, 12:15 PM

A shitty show, based on a movie, based on a show, based on a toy line, and in the style of Teen "Fucking" Titans

Ah, ha ha ha!
Can't even THINK straight
Jan 15th, 2008, 12:42 PM
Mediocre at best. Didn't make me gag too much but easily forgettable.
hanging out
Jan 15th, 2008, 03:19 PM
A bad review from a trusted source, read the synopsis on TheMovieSpoiler.com. I guess I can take it off my Netflix queue now.
Jan 15th, 2008, 05:38 PM
My biggest gripe about this movie is that it's impossible to make out what's going on. It's like watching NASCAR!
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 15th, 2008, 06:14 PM
D-Mon: I never said anything about the characterization in X-Men; I said that X-Men was a good example of how to balance a large ensemble cast. X-Men has its flaws, but I actually find it enjoyable despite them, and I'd take it over this garbage any day. And as a long time reader of X-Men books, I can assure you that Sabretooth doesn't amount to much more than a growling ape in the comics.

And Megan Fox is alright, I guess, but she looks kind of average to me. Certainly nothing to write home about, and in no way capable of coming anywhere close to redeeming that shitbucket of a movie.

Autrach Sejanoz: I had wondered if perhaps I wasn't being too generous by giving it one whole pickle, but then I considered the fact that I have seen worse. So it doesn't quite belong on the bottom of the barrel. Close though. Damn close.

I've enjoyed reading everyone else's thoughts on the movie as well! Based on the kind of response I've seen and heard on the internet, I figured I was in the minority on hating this one. Glad to see that's not the case.
lurking on the walls
Jan 15th, 2008, 10:34 PM
they called wave "frenzy" because the concept of spundwave wasn't working out, so they changed the name. they're planning on using Soundwave in the 2009 sequel. and aparently Devistaor as well
An Arizona Horror Company
Jan 16th, 2008, 12:20 AM
Peter Cullen voicing Optimus Prime = much excellence.

Everything that wasn't the above = much eye-stabbage.
James Brown in hiding
Jan 16th, 2008, 07:13 AM
Actually I always found Sabretooth to be one of my all time favorite villians. Namely because when you hang around with bikers and shit in real life he comes off as all to believable. No long winded speaches, just kicking ass and taking names. I was a long time reader of the X-Men. Even the shitty writings of Chris Clairmont couldn't scare me off.

As for X-Men being balance? How? I need to know HOW. Apart from Wolverine and Professor X the remainder of the X-Men were reduced to bit parts. Now the sequal did it a bit better despite the fact that I was drunk one night and caught an episode of Mad About You that was more X-Men then the first X-Men movie.

X-Men and Transformers actually have a lot in common except for the fact that X-Men sucked. Apart from that, Transformers had.. well.. A-10 Tank Killers. Those plains are so fucking cool and that avenger cannon is just really cool to watch! And it had Abrams tanks and Predator Drones and.. OK enough drooling over military hardware. At least Transformers was written with some level of understanding of the source material at hand. X-Men couldn't even be bothered. WHERE THE FUCK WAS WOLVERINE'S MASK?! Ahem.. sorry.. anyway Transformers was better because at least it was believable and Shia LaBouf was genuinely funny and entertaining which is more than I can say for any of the cast in X-Men barring Professor X and Magneto.

What I think most people forget is that it's a summer, popcorn, action movie and yet so many of the hardcore fans went in expecting Waiting For Godot. Like somehow, in those fractured, virgin minds, Transformers was the modern equivalent of Shakespear. It wasn't. It never was. The concept was borderline stupid but it worked out cool because we all liked the cartoon and toys but it was hardly gospel. Essentially the movie delivers exactly what the cartoon did only with more whiz-bang. Unfortunately those who are even bigger nerds than me will never comprehend that because to them, every stupid, redneck cliche Ironhide uttered in the original series is like divinity made cheap japenese animation.
Forum Virgin
Jan 16th, 2008, 10:21 AM
Thank you Protoclown, thank you for finally putting into words what I've been feeling about this movie.
I went with my brother to see this movie, and he loved it while I sat through it cringing and groaning at all of the crap that we as an audience were expected to just "take." Does anyone really believe that if a car just "shows" up at a car dealership that the dealership owner will just sell it outright? No questions? You don't want to see the title, registration, anything? Really? After seeing this I will never park in a dealership to browse cars again. My car'll be sold out from under me and I'll have to buy another car with shattered windows...
Using Ninjitsu of Fushin
Jan 16th, 2008, 11:45 AM
I went to see transformers with my girlfriend and her two younger brothers, i was very apprehensive but I hoped for a nostalgia trip,

What a shower of shit,

I was so angered by the film I couldn’t resist giving the two-finger salute to Michael Bay's name at the end of the film, something I shouldn't have done in front of two children.

I suppose in that way it did revert me back to being a kid again.
The Magnificent Bastard
Jan 16th, 2008, 06:49 PM
Originally Posted by D-MoN
What I think most people forget is that it's a summer, popcorn, action movie
I just want to point out that I really HATE"summer, popcorn, action movies".So, I don't see how that's much of a defense. I mean if that's what you like, enjoy. But, to me, it just seems like the exact reason not to bother with it.

To Protoclown:
Don't worry, you're not alone in hating this movie. Wes at Scary-Crayon wrote a very scathing review, himself. I think you'd enjoy it. You can also check out the accompanying Blog-entry for more thoughts on the movie.
Freelance Product Tester
Jan 27th, 2008, 03:39 PM
I really wish a lot of you people would take your Nostalgia Goggles off. Seriously. And Neen: I actually think that show has potential. Starscream blew up Megatron in the very first episode. It already has Grimlock and the DinoBots, and Grimlock has a flaming sword. And Soundwave? He has a guitar. Which transforms into Laserbeak.
Freelance Product Tester
Jan 27th, 2008, 05:38 PM
It has some other another thing going for it: It's not a 30-minute toy commercial.
Official Punching Bag
Feb 1st, 2008, 08:57 AM
I saw it with some immature buddies and enjoyed it then, because I wasn't a hardcore fan of Transformers, ever. I liked the idea of Transformers better than the show itself, and my brother has an Optimus Prime without flames on it in his room (it's the Anniversary version of the TV show Optimus). I agree, American Piesque humor has no place in a movie about Optimus Prime, but at least they didn't make it completely serious and just plain awful instead of a one-watch summer blockbuster.

But there's bad news for other franchises of yore: Michael Bay is said to be remaking the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. That would just be a crime!
Forum Virgin
Jan 6th, 2009, 06:19 PM
Slaggin' Bayformer Gobots.
Forum Virgin
Oct 21st, 2009, 11:58 AM
Ah michael bay...I don't mind so much that you raped my childhood (I liked transformer toys but never really got into the cartoon that much)...nor do I mind that you foisted megan fox into the spot light (she has big breasts, it was bound to happen)...nor am I particularly upset about the upcoming freddy remake (I'll say it now and take my licks...after freddy 1, he annoyed the living shit out of me)...but what really pisses me off is that every single one of your mind fuckingly tedious shit heaps of movies makes more money than all the rest combined, and that you constantly prove that old adage "nobody ever went poor underestimating the taste of the public"...because of you and your ilk, and society in general there are so many decent films and scripts that will never get greenlit because how can they compete...its all spectacle, there is nothing beneath the skin...so now I have to put up with my nephew (who I dearly love) forcing fucking transformers down my throat all the goddamned time...fuck you, michael bay, fuck you