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Friday, June 29, 2007

"Transformers"

Transformers
That tears it. Michael Bay has officially destroyed the "Transformers" franchise. He calls himself the "greatest (Transformers) fan in the world". I say he's a two-bit wannabe who should just slink into whatever hole he came from and never emerge again. Because after watching this so-called movie, I wish that Megatron would become real and blast Bay to smithreens.

This post is going to be full of spoilers on purpose. Consider it my public service to ensure that you don't waste two-and-a-half hours of your life on this piece of crap. So many things went wrong. I've already complained about the bad robot designs and Optimus Prime's lips, so I won't repeat those. Where should I begin? I suppose going chronologically would help. So here goes.
  • Time passes quickly when you're under attack. Bright sunshine suddenly gave way to the darkness of night in Qatar. Surely the sun doesn't set that fast in the Middle East! This would be a repeated problem throughout the movie.
  • Another repeated problem: poor editing. Scenes were suddenly cut off and moved to the next frame. It's as if the editor just attacked the film reel with a pair of shears and tacked everything together haphazardly. I doubt this was the work of our local censors.
  • Josh Duhamel's character calls his wife and sees his baby girl. In spite of all of his love for them and their apparent importance to him, you will never see his family again. It's not that they died. It's just clear that the writers didn't know what to do with them beyond that one scene.
  • The protagonist is named "Sam Witwicky", but the cartoon version's was "Spike Witwicky". I don't know why the name was changed. But this is a minor gripe anyway.
  • But he was hawking his grandfather's belongings in the middle of class. His teacher should have just failed him for bad taste. Instead, he got an "A". His father was so proud that he promptly set off to buy Sam his first car. If I sold my grandparents' belongings so indicriminately, my parents would punish the living daylights out of me!
  • I still don't understand why Bumbleebee was changed into a Camaro from his original Volkswagen Beetle form. Michael Bay said that he didn't want the audience to confuse the robot with Herbie, the Love Bug. I think Bay is full of s**t. If his audience could sit through two hours of gore and violence, I'm sure they would be able to distinguish a family-friendly car from a soldier robot.
  • Sam somehow manages to catch up with a car on a bicycle! He must have some strong leg muscles!
  • The policeman is so lame. What's the point of that scene again? To show that American police really are brutes?
  • The next day, Sam somehow manages to outcycle his car again! Though I'd give Bumblebee the benefit of the doubt since he was following Sam from behind.
  • Day inexplicably becomes night quickly again during the chase between Bumblebee and Barricade. I guess Transformers have an unlimited supply of fuel.
  • It's difficult to understand Bumblebee. You really need to catch every single word from his radio.
  • The Autobots arrive... and America's satellite system, which supposedly can see the tiniest speck in space, fails to detect them and alert the military. This is just the start to show how incapable the U.S. military is in this movie.
  • The Transformers get their alternate form by scanning vehicles and taking their form. And they can switch forms easily. Like Frenzy, who started as a stereo and became a handphone. Those robots must clearly be made with a million billion different parts to take on any shape or form.
  • Optimus Prime transforms... and he doesn't have the classic cartoon transforming sound! In fact, the only character who has it is the Decepticon, Blackout, and it happens once in the entire film. Nooooo!!!
  • The Autobots learned English from the World Wide Web, as opposed to the radio signals that we've been beaming into space all of these years. Fortunately, they didn't learn the language from blogs written by Singaporean kids.
  • And the Autobots all sound the same! It sounded as if Peter Cullen provided all of their voices. With their indistinguishable designs, it made identifying the robots more difficult.
  • For some reason, Sam trusts the Autobots, even though they and the Decepticons want the same thing from him. Come on, even a teenager can't be that trusting! And even after the Autobots trash his house, he still trusts them!
  • Maybe he gets it from his mother. Ironhide should really have just "silenced" her.
  • You know, for some reason, the Decepticons didn't trash the Witwicky house earlier. Frenzy had already discovered the Witwicky connection and went on to learn Sam's eBay identity. But wouldn't it have been more sensible to go through phone records and find the house itself? And why go after Sam, not his father? Oh, I guess the filmmakers needed to target the teen demographic.
  • Bumblebee took a leak on the Sector Seven leader. Okay, that's not a complaint. That was genuinely funny! Probably the only gem in this ill-begotten movie.
  • Oh, by the way, amidst all of this, the American soldiers were fighting Scorponok, who knew how to travel in sand but didn't know how to hide there too when under heavy fire.
  • Meanwhile, the Secretary of Defense had called up every intelligent mind in America to unravel the secret of the Decepticons' tone. For some reason, a teenage girl figured it out before every other top notch intelligence agent and soldier. Maybe she was there to appeal to the teen demographic too. But wait, isn't that what Sam and Mikaela were for? Does that mean Mikaela wasn't hot enough that the filmmakers needed a brainy, blonde British babe as well?
  • For some reason, while expounding on the need to fight the good fight, Optimus Prime says the magic line, "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings." In the context of his dialogue, that came totally from left field. It's like the scriptwriters needed to add it somewhere, so they just dropped it there.
  • Prime is willing to sacrifice his life to destroy the Allspark. When Prime opened his chest, I expected to see the Matrix of Leadership there, but I really should've known better. Here's how you destroy the Source of Transformers Life: you shove it into the chest of a Transformer.
  • And why would Prime want to leave his Autobots leaderless and the rest of the universe at the mercy of the malevolent Megatron? Even when watching the cartoons, I always thought that Prime was a silly excuse for a leader. But here, he was just being hare-brained. Clearly, he hadn't thought through his strategy.
  • And Prime says, "Autobots, roll out!", not "Autobots, transform and roll out!" Okay, minor quibble there.
  • The imprisoned Megatron is apparently the source of all of humans' technological discoveries, including the automobile and electronic chips. In "Men in Black", I could believe that things like the microwave oven came from alien technology, but in this movie, it just sounded silly. I was willing to suspend my disbelief, but so far, the movie had given me little reason to suspend that much disbelief.
  • We get our first glimpse of the power of the Allspark. By the way, was that the best name that the writers could come up with? Anyway, it apparently can make any inanimate object possess the ability to transform. Oh, and make them Decepticons too. So here's my understanding: the Source of Transformers Life bestows evil on its creations. Okay, right, got it. There are apparently no benevolent gods in robot land.
  • Oh, and a Nokia N93, after given the Allspark life, can suddenly shoot bullets. I don't know what goes into an N93, but I didn't know bullets were in the specifications!
  • By the way, this film is filled with product placements. From the obvious General Motors vehicles to the Nokia phones to the HP computers. And I thought the myriad of Sony devices in "Casino Royale" was bad.
  • Bumblebee approaches the Allspark like it's an everyday item. This is the Source of its Life! If I met my Source of Life, I'd be trembling in my knees and be reverent and everything! Or maybe these robots don't have religion, even for something that mystically gives them life.
  • Starscream finally appears, as do the rest of the Decepticons. About time!
  • When Starscream tells Megatron where the Autobots are headed to, Megatron says that the former has failed him again. I chuckled because, in the cartoon, Megatron always belittled Starscream. But a split second later, I thought, "Wow, there is just no way to please the big guy!" Why would anyone remain loyal to him?
  • At this point, things just degenerate into one big slugfest. Whatever story there was is thrown out of the window. Bay does what he does best: he blows everything up, including the franchise.
  • And the body count just keeps going up. Never mind that children are watching the film. Just kill 'em all!
  • Jazz is unceremoniously torn apart by Megatron. This is the most senseless death in comic book/super-hero movies. Firstly, Jazz didn't have a big role to play, so his death failed to strike a chord with the audience. Secondly, all that happens is that Megatron picks him up and rips him apart, so Jazz dies in an unheroic manner. Finally, Jazz was the only robot who spoke with an African American slang. With his death, did that mean that the token minority character had been written off?
  • The American fighter planes sure take their time in coming to the rescue. So much for air support.
  • Josh Duhamel's character killed Devastator because he identified its weak spot. Okay, score one for the humans who supposedly have inferior technology.
  • Mikaela somehow has all the time in the world to hotwire a tow truck and strap a crippled Bumblebee to it. All this time while the Decepticons are raining hail and hellfire all around.
  • Oh, and apparently it's very difficult to shoot or bomb the Autobots to death. The Decepticons, on the other hand, fall to pieces when shot with human-made rockets and bullets.
  • Before I forget, the Secretary of Defense, the Sector Seven leader, the blonde British babe and her African American sidekick manage to destroy Frenzy. But you know what? Those characters are forgettable. You can remove them from the show and there'd be nothing missing.
  • Prime tells Sam to shove the Allspark into his chest, but Sam being the rebellious teenager pushes it into Megatron's. Which was the sensible, logical thing to do right from the start. Kill two birds with one stone, right? Destroy Megatron and also the very thing that caused the Transformers war. Besides, the irritating Allspark had a tendency to create Decepticons, so it deserved to be erased from existence.
  • Prime gives a one-line eulogy for Jazz, which is really insipid. This guy fought by your side all of this time, and that was the best that you could come up with? The next time an Autobot dies, I hope it's Ratchet who gives the eulogy. He's a better orator.
  • Bumblebee magically restores his voice, yet Prime doesn't seem fazed by it. Perhaps he's witnessed stranger things, like the flame design on his chest.
  • The destroyed robots are sunk in the middle of the ocean, because the extreme ocean pressure and icy cold temperatures will ensure that they remain lifeless. You know, so they'll be there for the sequel.
  • Oh, and the biggest sin of all: there's no Transformers theme music! Not even Mute Math's pathetic version. What's up with that??
And that's the movie. If you've lasted this long and still want to watch it, my advice is to stay for the first 20 minutes or so. That's the enjoyable part. As soon as you reach the scene where Bumblebee takes off into the night on its own, walk out of the hall. Just walk out. There's nothing left to see. Oh, unless you want to see Bumblebee take a leak. Okay, I guess that's worth staying for too. But you'll have to be patient, very patient for the next half hour or so.

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8 comments:

Seraphim said...

I was waiting all night long for Megatron to transform into the gun in Starscream's hand!

And yes, it should be "Autobots, TRANSFORM and roll-out!"

Anonymous said...

I was thrown off by the movies sitcom like comic relief myself.

Nice post.

Also the Blonde chick was Australian not British.

Yuhui said...

Also the Blonde chick was Australian not British.

Really? Oh, ok. I thought her accent was British.

che said...

Review is right on point.

Word.

As a black kid in the 80s, I couldn't help but feel a kinship with Jazz. I was actually excited that the Jazz design for this film was so similar to the G1 Jazz (despite being unceremoniously transformed from a Porsche to a Pontiac). And then got to' in half. But, only after Bernie Mac Steppin Fetchited his way through his screen time and Anthony Anderson's answer to Chip Chase sat around being fat, wacky, and pointless. Yay for black people in Michael Bay movies!

Also, speaking of the australian computer teenaged girl chip chase and the fat black dancing chip chase... why were they in the movie again? What purpose did they serve in the story? At all?

Yeah. I ranted about the film here: http://rev1.livejournal.com/66561.html

Chandra said...

hey...its not easy making the movie...dun insult michael bay...

Yuhui said...

No movie should be about CGI or other fancy special effects. In the end, there's no escaping a bad story/plot.

Anonymous said...

The ending has its own Story behind it...it had to end lke that because they planned something...

Yuhui said...

Yeah, but they expounded too much about the reason for sinking the Decepticons in the ocean. It screamed "SEQUEL!!!"

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