Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Michael Bay
Writing credits: John Rogers, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
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.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
Originally Posted by D-MoN
What I think most people forget is that it's a summer, popcorn, action movie
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