Thursday, January 17, 2008

I used to love Transformers as a kid. The cartoons were great and I loved the toys. But then a few years ago I got the toys out of my loft. Fuck me they were crap. Cheap, flimsy and poorly made. How could I have been so wrong? How could something so awesome secretly be a pile of toss? Well, I guess children are both stupid and easily impressed.

But I guess that assessment must be extended to a lot of teenagers and young adults, as a lot of people are saying that Transformers is a good film. Well, it’s not. Fuck me it’s not. What a horrendous example of filmmaking. The action is dull and uninvolving, the characters are annoying as hell and the writing and the acting are risible. What an atrocious piece of shit.

That being said, the special effects are pretty good. But why would anyone want to watch a film just because it has some nice graphics? And anyway, even though the Transformers themselves are impressively rendered, you rarely get a chance to look at them properly. The camera never lingers on them, so you only get glimpses. Therefore there’s no sense of awe. They never take your breath away like the space station did in 2001 or the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. They just look…nice.

But unfortunately they don’t sound very good. Yes I can imagine it must be pretty damn difficult to think of dialogue for alien robots, but the stuff here is just painful. ‘My name is Optimus Prime, we are autonomous robotic organisms from the planet Cybertron.’ ‘You still fight for the weak! That is why you lose!’ ‘Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.’ Just awful.

Not that I was expecting Kafka from this film. But it would be nice to watch the film without having to cringe every five seconds. The dialogue here isn’t even serviceable. It’s floating about in the toilet. And the plot itself is almost incomprehensible. Okay, so a big cube thing lands on Earth and the robots want it and, er… Yeah, I’ve lost the will to live. I’m sure the film explains it all in its dim-witted way, but the movie is so restless, so eager to move onto the next explosion or next joke that everything just washes over you like a tide of effluent.

But what about the characters? Okay, so even if the writing and the direction are pants, maybe the characters can save it. Er, no. Nearly all the people here just made me want to kill them. Whether it be Jon Voight as the Defence Secretary, the fat black guy who’s mouthy but a genius, the blonde Australian bimbo, the army guys, the Transformers themselves or Megan Fox’s airhead heroine. The only people who don’t totally humiliate themselves are John Turturro (who’s always fun), Bernie Mac (who gets to be an amusing asshole for about ten seconds) and Shia LaBeouf (who’s passable as the film’s hero). Everyone else though can go fuck themselves.

And Megan Fox can go fuck herself hardest of all. She’s got great legs and a flat stomach that I’m sure loads of men would like to jizz all over, but she seems barely sentient. She has no charisma, no screen presence and no ability as an actress. She’s a dull fantasy for teenagers and men with no taste. I mean, there’s a scene where she looks under the bonnet of a car and tells the panting LaBeouf what’s wrong. Maybe I’m asking too much in wanting believability in a film about alien robots, but I can barely believe that Fox knows how to open a door let alone know her way around an automobile.

But now that I think about it, there is something worse than Megan Fox – the annoying little Decepticon robot that runs around. It’s meant to be a Puckish figure. A cheeky little rapscallion. But every time it was on screen, which was often, I wanted to rip Michael Bay’s arm off and slap him in the face with it. This little robot is one of the most irritating screen presences I’ve ever seen. I’d rather have five hundred Bette Midlers dancing around. They’d infuriate me less.

And is it just me or is there the whiff or something unsavoury in the way that the Decepticons (minus Megatron) all speak an alien foreign language and want to destroy the world and the way that the Autobots all speak perfect English and want to protect it? Take this robotic bitch-slapping surrogate Muslim fundies! But how to explain Megatron speaking English? Maybe he was the smart one that was sent overseas to learn a proper civilised language. And then something went wrong in his brain circuits and he turned loopy.

But this would give the film too much credit. Transformers is really just all about building up to one large robot face-off. Too bad, then, that the final sequence is a snoozefest. Part of the reason for this is because we don’t care a jot about the characters and their fates, but it’s also because the direction is so poor. We rarely get to see what’s going on. Indeed, half the time it’s hard to know which side the robots are fighting for. Is that big thing an Autobot or a Decepticon? At least in the cartoons you had helpful logos on the characters to tell you who was who. But here you’re fucked. Yeah, you might be able to recognise Optimus Prime and Megatron (maybe even Bumblebee, seeing as he’s actually given screentime), but the others are just anonymous blobs. And as such, the one reason to watch the film, to see gnarly robots beat the shit out of each other, is rendered pointless. You might as well just get those toys out the loft. As shit as they are you’ll probably have more fun.

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  1. Movie critique is right on money..surprised you didn't talk about the creepy scenes such as...Shia and Megan making out on Bumblebee's hood while the rest of the Autobots stood around and watched...or how about Michael Bay and his weird view of black people (all funny fat-asses or loudmouths etc etc check his prior blockbusters)...All of them in the movie are pretty much the same fucking guy, also the "black" Autobot (you know the one that spoke in slang and would randomly breakdance) was the only Autobot to!

    But I have to disagree with you on the toys...the first and second generation transformers where plasitc and diehard metal. They were solidly constructed. If you tossed Prowl at hurt!
    3rd generation and the combiners...that's when it all started to fall apart.

    So says the Reavinator

  2. hehe you guys crack me up "... break dancing one was the only autobot to die..." and toys being sh*te :-)
    I see the fat black genius guy now has a major role in a series though ...what's his name?