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‘Transformers 2′: Less than meets the eye. Much less.

Complaining about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen after you’ve actually paid to go see it is kind of like complaining after commanding someone to punch you in the face. They might not have done it the way you wanted them to do it, but you sort of knew what you were getting yourself into. It’s kind of your own fault.

Transformers
Michael Bay in a nutshell: Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf run away from one of many, many explosions in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Such is the case with the latest behemoth from Michael friggin’ Bay. It’s overblown to the point of absurdity, and yet I feel like an a-hole for complaining that it’s overblown, because, well, of course it’s overblown. I saw the trailer, didn’t I? I knew that going in. And I read other reviews that said the movie was bad. What was I expecting?

I sort of liked the first Transformers. On the guilty-pleasure scale I gave it a three-star rating, simply because, again, I knew what I was getting into, and the movie delivered on its silly level. And it made me laugh. And the voice of Optimus Prime was … the real voice of Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen. Which was awesome. Overall, it was sort of a more-frenetic, less-classy Independence Day.

And, of course, directed by Michael friggin’ Bay.

Love him or hate him (I typically fall into the latter category) one thing you must admit about Michael Bay is that his movies are visually distinctive. He’s like the Frankenstein monster that Jerry Bruckheimer created. Among the Bruckheimer stable of gloss-first directors, Bay stands alone.

Unfortunately, Bay’s excessive stylistic gloss is the one of X-treme marketing and overgleamed movie trailer shine. Every damn shot looks like it was polished within an inch of its life to look like a trailer for a $200 million movie. The signature Michael Bay shot: A camera revolving, like a satellite, around one or two characters from a low-angle perspective, looking up at them, usually with skyscrapers in the background towering over them (sometimes exploding and/or on fire).

Take another director in Bruckheimer’s usual stable — Tony Scott, director of, among many other things, Domino, one of the most excessive movies ever made. And yet there’s a cheeky, hilarious subversiveness to Domino, whereas Bay’s productions just seem like style overmilked to look like corporate Hollywood product.

But anyway. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It pretty much follows the template of the first movie, which is to follow Shia LaBeouf’s character through various comic situations early in the film before introducing a goofy action plot which especially in the last 30-45 minutes devolves into a witless free-for-all of monotonous robot carnage. The problem here is a big case of the law of diminishing returns. The conclusion reached by the end: I really didn’t need to see this movie.

I always found the notion that the mayhem from the end of the first movie — namely several square blocks of downtown Los Angeles being destroyed by 50-foot robots locked in a prolonged battle — could be “covered up by the government” to be among the most ludicrous things about the first Transformers. That’s a plot point here as well, no less ludicrous, but made into something of an amusement by the notion that Sam’s college roommate is a conspiracy theorist who thinks that downtown L.A. was in fact destroyed by alien robots, and not by the reasons supplied by the government’s lame-ass cover story.

Like the first movie, there’s a certain enjoyment to find in some of the goofy comedy early in the film. I have no idea if Shia LaBeouf has any real acting range, but I do think that the hyperdrive manic personas that he has played in the films I’ve seen him in have worked on their level. LaBeouf is actually the best thing about both the Transformers movies. There’s something about him that is slightly mad, which is the right choice in a movie that surrounds him with unending madness.

Megan Fox is hot, okay, but Bay lavishes upon her the most ridiculous camera treatment, lighting, and makeup, which dooms the character from ever being taken as seriously as even this film needs her to be. She is, again, simply her own product placement, with the product simply being Hot Chick. She spends half the movie with her lips about half an inch apart, which hammers away, “LOOK! HOT CHICK!” It gets really tiresome.

But hammering away is pretty much what this movie does best. The plot is an arbitrary concoction, naturally, but, worth noting, not entirely godawful. It’s simply relentlessly mediocre. It manages to bring back most of the cast of the original, including John Turturro, whose presence is welcome, if hopelessly hammy. The story movments end up being a low-rent Indiana Jones adventure, and indeed, there’s one location that I’m pretty sure is the same location that was used at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. (I did not bother with a Google search to confirm.)

As there’s still a part of me that remains of a once-ago 10-year-old Transformers fanboy (I had many of the toys and watched the 1980s cartoon show), I grinned at the inclusion of the Matrix of Leadership and the (spoiler alert!) death of Optimus Prime. But that’s really all there is for old-school fanboys. To me among the biggest problems with Transformers is that it doesn’t make any of the robots recognizable except for Optimus Prime (Bumblebee, as a mute, is more of a pantomime than a character). The Decepticons are practically interchangeable. By the end of the movie, I could’ve sworn Megatron had been destroyed three times, but I was wrong. Must’ve been some other huge silver robots that were Decepticon-looking and evil.

And still not nearly enough is done with the rivalry between Megatron and Starscream. That was probably one of the best parts of the cartoon series. Here these robots are nothing but action props. Should I expect more? Probably not, but I still think that I have the right. Why bother having Megatron and Starscream if you’re not going to have them constantly undermining each other for entertainment value?

The only robots with “personality” are actually the worst thing about the movie: The “twins” were annoying to the level of offensiveness. Charges have been leveled at the film that these robots can be read as crude racial stereotypes, and I can’t say I disagree. Every time they were on the screen I wanted to cringe. They were like Jar Jar Binks crossed with a robot minstrel show.

Ultimately, Transformers 2 is undone by its length and utter excess. Way too long. Way too many CGI shots. Way too little impact to any of it.

There was a time when an action movie had “set pieces.” The lulls and the clarity of an actual strategy brought interest to the action. Here, there is no strategy, and the entire last 30 minutes of this movie are a mammoth set piece. And more is not more. More is less. At one point, a U.S. aircraft carrier is hit from space and sunk. This would be a huge event in most movies, but here we barely have 30 seconds to process it before the next barrage of metallic noise. There must be 50 other similar examples of immediately forgotten destruction elsewhere in the film. The level of the mayhem is shot at us at such a fever pitch for such an extended period with so little consequence that it all becomes meaningless white noise.

There are endless scenes of military guys trying to mobilize to do something, and I’m thinking to myself, you might as well try to mobilize against a tornado. It would be as effective, and make about as much strategic sense.

And for a movie about Transformers, this movie doesn’t feature much transforming. And when they do, you can’t tell what’s happening. With the toys you could actually tell where the parts folded upon themselves. Here they don’t typically bother with making it visually coherent. Then again, that’s pretty much the mission statement of the film.

I like a good action movie, but this ain’t it. It’s a barrage of too many images to process and no reason for caring. It goes on and on and on. There’s definitely not more here than meets the eye. When you consider how the action is conceived and edited, such a feat would be mathematically impossible.

Rating out of 4: *1/2


45 Comments
  1. Eduardo - Friday, July 10, 2009 - 12:32 am

    I seem to have enjoyed it just a little bit more to overlook some of these issues. But I’ll concede pretty much of all the points brought up, and add one of my own.

    Transformers 2 is Michael Bay at his absolute best/worst. I like to classify his distinct style as “A.D.D. directing”. It’s obviously a jab at hyperactvity, but no less valid nonetheless.

    I recently rewatched the original Bad Boys DVD, while listening to Bay’s surprinsingly insightful commentary. It’s amazing how much his style was evident back then, and yet it still evolved over the past 14 years. Money really makes the difference.

    I often wonder what Trek would be like if Michael Bay ever tried to helm one of the films. While it’s a preposterous idea, the fact that he’s under a Paramount Pictures contract doesn’t rule it out. Naturally, if it ever came to pass, it would still need to be approved by J.J. Abrams. Imagine Trek with Bay’s distinct visual style. It would be Armageddon all over again, but only 100 times worse.

  2. Brendan - Friday, July 10, 2009 - 1:56 am

    Was to 30 minutes too long? Yes.

    Were the twin robots unfunny and offensive? Yes.

    Were there dozens of illogical or confused plot points? Yes.

    Other than that, I must say I actually enjoyed the hell out of this movie. I knew the reviews coming in… and I liked it anyway.

    And it’s wierd because I was lukewarm to the first one, which was almost universally liked, at least mildly.

  3. Matrix - Friday, July 10, 2009 - 4:35 am

    Bah-weep-Graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong! i love the fact that it has ‘too much’ action or it’s too long or whatever. movies or shows often suffer from lack of budget, lack of vision to deliver lack of action and so when this baby comes to dvd i can sit there and watch it on my terms, over two days, six days, six weeks and there’s still more action! the first movie was exactly the same in regards to bot characterisation, the cartoon was different befause it had a different focus, robot vs robot, where now puny humans are taking most of that. but go watch the rebirth episodes or the five faces of darkness where transformers show up with absolutely no background, maybe a catchphrase or two and then it’s time to punch on. we remember the ironhides or ratchets clearer because they had seasons to build them up with spotlight episodes, maybe like how data and picard or kirk and spock seemed to spotlight trek movies, while, hey, where’s doc crusher or geordi. or scotty. or something. and the twins, awesome little blokes, bickering little bodyguards to the flesh units, who i am surprised didn’t perish battling that constructicon thingy. Good times.

  4. Christopher - Friday, July 10, 2009 - 4:40 am

    I really liked the first one and was looking forward to the second, despite all the bad reviews which I chose to ignore. That was a mistake. After about 5 minutes I knew all the reviewers were right and this was going to be terrible. Everything that was right about the first one was done to death in the second – without sense, style or even a glimmer of intelligence. While watching the “bayplosions” I wondered if it is possible at all to direct a movie like this with only 2 years time, where practically every shot is an F/X shot which takes weeks to render. What choices for editing / inspiration are left? Probably close to zero I guess. But then, if you start a 200 million dollar movie with a script like THAT, it can only be explained by the most cynical profit thinking. And it works – over 650 million worldwide in 2 weeks – and they got my money, too…
    Technically a movie likes this gets very close to an all CGI feature – but think of Pixar and what they can do with total control; but they of course start with a beautiful script and have directors which have enough vision for the movie as a whole and not just for the next big bang.

    So, to sum it up:
    -tons of high quality rendered robots who beat each other up with little consequences in sequences where you can hardly tell what exactly they are doing anyway
    -no acting skills required as there is no story or personality attached to anyone
    -terrible terrible editing where people and robots come and go without any logic to it (and I don’t usually mind that in action movies) and you get no sense of place, space and time
    - lots of shit being blown up for the sake of shit being blown up (like the aircraft carrier – a scene which wasn’t connected to anything) again with hardly any consequences to story or characters
    - too long, far too long

  5. Black Mage - Friday, July 10, 2009 - 7:40 am

    Jammer has reviewed a Transformers product.

    It’s like my wildest dreams have been exceeded. Now all we need is your 3000-word review of ‘Code of Hero’ and I’ll believe we live in the best of all possible worlds.

  6. Jammer - Friday, July 10, 2009 - 9:30 am

    Biggest mistake of the week: I watched WALL-E (which I hadn’t seen before) on Starz HD 24 hours before watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. WALL-E practically made me weep, it did such a good job of giving human emotions to robots. Not that I expected that in the slightest from Transformers, but still.

  7. Greg M - Friday, July 10, 2009 - 2:36 pm

    And Wall-e Probably had more transforming than Transformers too. Hey, going from a box to Short Circuit is transforming. ;)

  8. Eduardo - Friday, July 10, 2009 - 2:42 pm

    If it weren’t a Pixar studio film, I doubt any other studio would ever greenlight something like Wall-E at this day and age. It’s a bold and magnificent film, but a lot of people are still unable to sit through the first 30 minutes without dialogue. That’s too bad, since the quiet moments are masterpieces, and the non-verbal communication speaks volumes. Sadly, as much as Michael Bay excels in A.D.D. directing, most of the current public is afflicted by this MTV-esque approach to storytelling.

  9. Chris L - Friday, July 10, 2009 - 3:58 pm

    Yes, it was a big dumb movie. The last 30 minutes or so tended to send one into sensory over load, which means a lot of it got wasted. That being said, I thought it was a great movie to bring the grandson to. No, I don’t think there will be university level seminars devoted to the subtler aspects of this movie (yeah, there weren’t any), but it was a fun way to waste a couple of hours.

  10. Matt L. - Friday, July 10, 2009 - 4:17 pm

    I’ve just never been able to understand the appeal of live action Transformers. It’s a cartoon. It works as a cartoon. It makes sense as a cartoon. Why does anyone want to see a live action version?

    P.S. Jammer, review Wall-E. Do it!

  11. Richard - Friday, July 10, 2009 - 4:43 pm

    Sorry Jammer but here’s a movie where most the “critics/reviewers” slag it but is one of the most popular movies around, and is more popular than the first. You personally have to think about why that is so!!!!

  12. Jordi Bosveld - Friday, July 10, 2009 - 6:44 pm

    Richard: That only means it is popular; popularity (unfortunately) has very little relation to quality. Think about why _that_ is so!

  13. Chris L - Friday, July 10, 2009 - 10:57 pm

    While it is true that popular != good, in this case I think it means the movie works on a certain level. That level may not be where most of us like to play, but it is there. The movie brought people into the theater. Ultimately, that is its only real function.

  14. TB - Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 1:03 pm

    I’ll agree that Meghan Fox did little to advance the movie other than her two minutes capturing the little decepticon in her shop (which humped her leg later). They needed to get rid of half the “welcome to college, and my parents are nuts” scenes. As for it being too long, I actually enjoyed the fact that it was a full-length movie that didn’t cut too many corners. Too many action movies with potential cut themselves at the knees with a 90-minute movie. One thing I had a hard time with was there was so many transformers fighting on the screen at once it was a free for all. I could see clearly enough to watch Optimus go UFC (with distinct fighting moves) on 4 decepticons at once, but my wife sitting next to me just saw flashing metal for 5 minutes.

  15. Rob M. - Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 1:31 pm

    I watched the cartoon series diligently when I was young and enjoyed everything about them. I did not like the first movie much but my 3 year old son loves Transformers so I reluctantly bought the movie for him and took him to the second movie. I’ve lumped Bey’s Transformers vision into the kids’ movies along with Cars and Scooby Doo.

    I’m trying to understand why so many people really enjoyed it. Was it those two idiot urban Autobots that can’t read? Was it the the mini Decepticon humping Megan Fox’s leg? Was it the confusing aspect of Petra of Jordan and the Pyramids of Giza being only a few miles apart? The ridiculous notion of the carnage in LA being a cover up? Some of these things were already mentioned by Jammer but they irked me enough to not enjoy the movie.

    I’m 36 years old. Maybe I demand more from my entertainment as I get older but I cannot say I like these movies even a little. I cannot turn off my brain. I don’t like cheap humor and plot shortcuts. I expect Transformers to be wiser than humans and they really are not. They are petty beings and plot devices. I cannot care about any of the characters. The act of transforming is impossible to follow and just a CGI mess (thanks to Jammer for pointing that out because I thought I was the only one to notice). The fights are a CGI blur and one cannot tell who is fighting who or even what happened. Megatron is an unrecognizable disappointment. His voice in the cartoon is truly distinctive but he’s just a token bad guy in Bey’s movies. Starscream has no serious role, Soundwave did interest me on that satellite but did not have enough done with him, the Constructicons and Devastator were relegated to visual eye candy, Bumblebee is a mute (why???), Shia’s roommate is an unnecessary character, and on and on and on…

    It made a lot of money at the Box Office but so what. That doesn’t make it a good movie. It just means people wanted to see it. I knew it would suck but I wanted to see it too if only because it is Transformers and was a pleasant part of my childhood. Bey’s movie has renewed interest in the saga and my son loves it so I am grateful to him for that. His movies suck though and he has tainted the series with his own whacked vision of what it should be and what kids want.

  16. Jhoh - Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 4:29 pm

    This is just about the most balanced review of Transformers 2 I’ve read, refusing to say it’s like the worst movie ever (as I saw on Spoony Experiment) or things like that, yet it’s still a bad movie. I haven’t seen this and I don’t plan to, although I mostly agree that Transformers 1 was alright, especially given it was a movie based on an old cartoon and toy series.

  17. stallion - Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 11:38 pm

    Possible spolier if you haven’t seen the movie.

    Likes -
    The angel of Sam wanting to have a normal life.
    Good Transformer forming a relationship with the Military to track down Decepticon.
    Transformer being able to turn into human. If transformer was a TV show I’m sure this idea would had been expanded on.
    Megan Foxx.

    Dislikes -
    Last fight scene was just to long.
    Over the top character moment.
    Shia does to good of a job playing an annoying character. His character reminded me of Corey Matthrew from Boy meet world.

  18. trvbill - Sunday, July 12, 2009 - 12:21 am

    Jammer u should called me I would have warned you. Oh wait u don’t know me or have my phone number. Any way’s worst movie ever no. The action in this movie was good if a bit drawn out. It felt like this movie was made by a 13 year old on riddilin. Really people especially Shia’s character were talking a mile a minute it was hard to keep up what was going on. Then all those slow montages at the end to drag the movie on even longer were excruciating. If i just didn’t sit through TWO HOURS I would have walked out!

  19. Chris - Sunday, July 12, 2009 - 6:46 am

    SPOILERS BELOW

    ————————————————————

    The 3 on 1 fight in the forest was exceptionally good. Not only was the only fight where you could truly make out what was going on (well, for the most part – it’s always going to be difficult with robots as complicated-looking as these), but it actually boosted Optimus as a character. It annoyed me to no end when he was completely outmatched by Megatron at the end of the first film. Here was a fired-up Optimus really taking it to some Decepticon scum.

    The fight at the end wasn’t as good as the climatic battle in downtown Los Angeles in the previous movie. Too much long-distance shooting rather than robot-on-robot scuffles. You wonder why the humans even bother using hand-held artillery instead of tanks and planes. The Fallen was defeated far, far too easily and quickly. For all that build-up, Optimus wiped him out in a flash.

    I wonder where they’ll take the next one, given that they already played two big cards (the Matrix and the death of Optimus Prime) in this film.

  20. Daniel Lebovic - Sunday, July 12, 2009 - 8:47 pm

    Jammer,

    Looking forward to the occasional review of the science fiction/fantasy/action movi that you actually LIKED, or one on which the critics are split and you want to offer your own opinion. What you didn’t admit here (understandably) is that you willingly (given your “punched in the face” comment”) threw two and one half hours of your life into the toilet (we’ve all done it – believe me, some of us much worse than you, hours-wise, and not by seeing movies – but just by existing), and are now telling us this…. because?

  21. Lizard - Monday, July 13, 2009 - 6:42 pm

    ^ Because he writes reviews… he ‘reviewed’ Transformers… Just because someone doesn’t like a movie, that doesn’t mean he/she shouldn’t write a review about it.

  22. TS - Monday, July 13, 2009 - 7:12 pm

    This movie was garbage. I too enjoyed the first one (and the cartoon movie), but they totally blew it with this one. Count me out on Transformers 3.

    Btw, why are you wasting your time reviewing THIS movie when you could be finishing up TNG? Just sayin’. :P

  23. Jammer - Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 1:13 am

    To those asking “why are you reviewing Transformers?”, the answer is simple: Because it’s timely and relevant and a great many people have seen it and this review will be read and commented on. It’s perfect Jammer’s Reviews fodder because it’s sci-fi (granted, vaguely, of the dumbest kind) and because it’s geek culture (especially with my foray into comparisons with the 1980s cartoon).

    To suppose that had I not reviewed Transformers 2 I would instead have automatically watched and reviewed three or four episodes of TNG is to wrongly assume how my process works. One has nothing to do with the other. I’m not in the process of watching and reviewing TNG right now; that has its own schedule that will happen when I make it happen. Right now I’m in the process of mass-viewing another TV show on DVD, and I won’t get back to TNG until I’m done with that.

  24. karatasiospa - Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 5:35 am

    Jammer will you review “Knowing”?

  25. Wistler - Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 6:36 am

    It’s sad to see Tony Scott lumped in with Michael Bay, even though your reasons for doing so are sound. I feel that at least with Tony Scott movies there’s underlying plot or characters for his frenetic visual style to work with or against. Michael Bay’s movies often don’t have that.

    I still hold Enemy of the State and Man on Fire in high esteem for all there faults, because there can be genuine character development and soul to his movies.

  26. Lizard - Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 9:22 am

    Jammer,

    What is the TV show that you are currently mass-viewing? Just curious.

  27. Jammer - Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 1:33 pm

    @Wistler: I agree that Tony Scott is above Michael Bay in the respectability and sensibility categories.

    @Lizard: “Lost.”

  28. Eric - Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 2:17 pm

    One word – tedious.

  29. TS - Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 3:28 pm

    Lost? Neat. I hope you’re enjoying it so far Jammer, I think it’s a good show.

    I also agree that Tony Scott should not be placed anywhere near Mr. Bay. Tony may not be as talented or good as his older brother, but he’s made some pretty respectable movies.

  30. Jammer - Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 8:22 pm

    karatasiospa wrote ‘Jammer will you review “Knowing”?’

    Doubtful. Probably won’t see it until DVD or later, and by then, no one will care.

  31. karatasiospa - Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 5:20 am

    It has allready been released on dvd. And i don’t think that noone will care. Movies like this have a longer life-span than the kind of transformers.

  32. Lizard - Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 8:26 am

    Jammer,

    Lost is phenomenal. I really hope you enjoy it. I watched the first four seasons twice now and it was even better the second time around. I’m planning on a second viewing of the fifth season sometime this summer. Will you do a review of the show? I think it would be cool if you wrote a separate review for each season. I would much rather a review of Lost as opposed to the rest of TNG. Here’s hopin’!

  33. Jammer - Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 12:09 pm

    I’m greatly enjoying Lost. I’d heard it was good after the first season but didn’t add it to my viewing schedule. What I did do, however, was avoid spoilers at all costs ever since, knowing that one day I would watch all the DVDs. So I’ve managed to go into Lost with no expectations about what happens or what the consensus opinions are of individual characters, episodes, or arcs of the show.

    I must say, this is the way to watch a serialized TV series, and it’s probably a much different experience than watching it unfold over the course of several years. Instead, I’ve seen most of it over the course of a few weeks.

    Maybe I’ll do a Lost thread with some general thoughts at some point later this summer, or before next season. One thing I will say now is that I didn’t know beforehand that the show was as deeply character-driven as it is. I was surprised and impressed as I learned that.

  34. Lizard - Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 1:10 pm

    What season are you currently watching now, and what season was your favorite?

  35. Wistler - Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 2:10 pm

    Did anyone watch Deadwood? I loved that show. A bit random but I felt it was a little gem that i had stumbled on and loved every minute.

  36. Chris - Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 6:16 am

    Jammer, since we’re heading into the final season of Lost next year, maybe we could have a weekly thread for the new episodes as we count down to the finale. Not saying you have to submit a review for each episode, but providing a place where yourself and others can chime in with thoughts. Though I guess it depends on whether you plan to watch season 6 on TV or just wait for the DVDs as you have with the other seasons. I certainly get a lot more enjoyment out of watching such a show with multiple episodes in one sitting, rather than waiting a week between each episode.

  37. Jammer - Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 5:08 pm

    ^ Yes, something like that might be a possibility. I will be watching Lost in real time when it comes back for its final season.

  38. Eduardo - Friday, July 17, 2009 - 3:36 pm

    I’ve always managed to wait patiently between seasons on Lost. However, the waiting for season 6 is being by far the most anxious one. Season 5 left us with one of the best cliffhanger endings ever written.

    I also can’t wait for the season 5 Blu-Ray. I’m hoping to get more insights on how Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse managed to put such a complex season together.

  39. Anthem47 - Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 7:42 am

    Jammer, I’ve been coming to your site for many years (in fact my IE Favourite still says ‘ST Hypertext’!) but finding out you’re watching Lost finally made me post a comment.
    When people ask me what my favourite show of all time is, I tell them it’s a temporary tie between Six Feet Under and Lost, pending the outcome of Season 6 =P
    So many jokes circulate about Lost nowadays (the drawn out mysteries, the unanswered questions, the slow pacing) that sometimes I feel like the first season did the show a disservice…but then, I’m not sure if Lost would be as fantastic as it is if they didn’t take the time to really set up and explore those characters before throwing them to the wolves.
    And, people call me nuts, but I have this eerie feeling Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof know exactly where all this is going (bar the occassional dropped thread…I want to mention one but I’m not sure where you’re up to, heh).
    Hmm so many things to say, most of all just wanted to say I’m glad you’re watching it, can’t wait to read your perspective on it all.
    P.S. Sorry, thread is completely derailed now =D

  40. Anil - Sunday, August 2, 2009 - 8:23 pm

    Well your review was spot on. Being a massive DS9 fan, I remember reading your stuff back in 1996/1997 when I was at Uni…anyway I digress…this ‘movie’ was not a movie but a cartoon (fitting really), only missing the accident prone coyote…

    I expected as much, but never it being quite as bad. I mean Mega Fox is eye candy, but to put her in the first seconds of her screen time, on a bike, glossed lips, colouring (yes I am British)…she might as well have been playing with herself…it was too obvious and to be honest crude. Her lips were constantly glossed in this movie. Good luck on that future oscar Megan…

    My main beef is that as a 80s fanboy, who knows still to this day a little too much about the mythology than he should, these movies were always going to fall short. The transformations are too complicated, for heavens, didnt Bay look at the toys for inspiration at all?

    The script stank. Apart from the really human elements such as Sam wanting to lead a normal life, relationships, the Fallen was just there to add menace. Back stories, in the same vain as AVP are not strong enough, anyone can make shit up about what happened 3000 years ago, then bury it in Petra (there you go Jammer, from the Last Crusade, well spotted). Like Revenge of the Sith, I felt disappointed, I tried not to be…but I was. Maybe I was expecting too much, but whats wrong with wanting something to be done well???

    Michael Bay has spoilt this franchise, its now a money maker, pure and simple, Like the Matrix (film), the subsequent sequels seemed to have been churned out to make money, with a story a distant second.

    The Transformers themselves needed to be somewhat similar to the toys, it could have been done, but it wasnt. Optimus has a mouth, WTF! Megatron looks like a bashed in fireplace. When this much thought went into the 2 leaders, what hope is there for the rest of the characters. Case in point, at the end of the film we are introduced to Devastator, having introduced the concept of the Fallen, then the Matrix of Leadership, we are now given the Gestalts, 5+ tranformers combining to form a bigger one.

    Fantastic in the cartoons, but Devastator, who designed him? A child? He looks like crap and when he was destroying stuff (yes thats the best way I can describe his reason for being) I heard Megatron scream his name…”DEVASTATOR!!!” Why? Why Megatron? Did Michael Bay tell you to do that off camera, so we the audience would know that Devastator had a reason for being there?

    And yes the Fallen was defeated far too easily. Optimus was given magic dust from Jetfire (I am still having issues with the speech/voice given for him) and slaughtered the poor Fallen.

    Game Over.

    “I am Optimus Prime!” (We know that, we saw the first film)

  41. FFN - Friday, October 16, 2009 - 5:43 am

    The argument that Transformers should look like they were “in the 80s” is kind of weak, considering Transformers has been a continuous entity for the past 25 years, and not a recently resurrected franchise for the 80s nostalgia boom.

    Styles and designs have changed over time as the brand targeted new audiences and customers. And why shouldn’t the transformations be complicated? It’s a freaking movie.

  42. Elliot Wilson - Thursday, February 11, 2010 - 3:46 pm

    I liked the first film but what I HATED (and what no one here seems to comment on enough) is the “government cover-up”; seriously that made me SCREAM in frustration. God. I felt like Bay was just giving the audience one big middle finger. He’s insulting our intelligence. If that happened in real life no matter WHAT the government told them or even if they started “neutralizing” people the media would continue to hound them until we got the truth, especially since (and not without reason, very GOOD reason) we don’t trust the government anyway. People DIED: They would NOT let this go just to place our faith in the government especially with some weak-ass excuse.

    @Anil: Wow you felt that way about ROTS too? Everyone I’ve met loved it. I could tell they thought I was an idiot. It had big action scenes and it was HIGHLY epic but to me it felt like the character performances were a bit lackluster. And what was Obi-Wan vs. Anakin on Mustafar? FUCK! He as much admitted in ROTJ that he tried to turn him back from the Dark Side (I think it was in the novel…. or not) and yet in ROTS all he did was lecture and preach and basically give off the impression “I’m no here to argue. I’m going to provoke you then hope you attack me thus giving you reason to launch an offensive.” And seriously, Anakin could go from being Hero of the Republic, Light of the Jedi, Hope of the Galaxy, to baby-killer in just ten minutes flat?! Yes I admit he could probably kill the Jedi but I don’t think he was THAT far gone to go THAT far. In the book Rise of Darth Vader it says he killed them because he rationalized that they were orphans and better off. It would have been better for them to SHOW that in the movie.

    Whoa. Now I’m rambling. Anil, my MSN messenger is ghostfalcone@live.com. If you want, we can talk more about this there. Ciao!

  43. Colin Jacobs - Sunday, February 27, 2011 - 10:22 pm

    As I was reading this review with great delight (I also hate T2– the other T2) I started thinking about movies from a subjective point of view. The perfect movie is one that has a good, thoughtful story, and yet doesn’t feel like a movie. Instead, it feels like real people being thrown into a real situation and coming up with real solutions.
    Now, obviously this isn’t revelation to anyone, but it got me thinking about Transformers. Particularly while reading your bit about having interchangeable Decepticons. I got this flash of inspiration about an entire team of Decepticons that have their own identities and often their own motives/agendas. This would present endless story opportunities, as much of a story could focus on one or two characters reacting to a situation, say Megatron’s orders and how they walked through that situation. The only issue here would be to make it believable in that their still evil badass robots that basically want to do what their leader says, but they might have their own agendas.
    I suppose I’m just reiterating Jammer’s bit about Starscream and Megatron constantly undermining each other, but I really think he hit the nail on the head of what makes (or could make) Transformers so infinitely awesome.

  44. Latex Zebra - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 9:58 am

    Loved the original (OK Loved is maybe pushing it) and it remains a guilty pleasure. I recorded 2 off the TV in October and still haven’t watched it.
    A Sci Fi geek (like I’m not) mate at work has advised me not to ruin my enjoyment of the first movie and to convince myself that only one Transformer movie exists.
    I assume 3 must be pretty crap as well.

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