Reviews: Transformers

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

When most film-makers sit down to start making a movie, the first three (or four) things your average film-maker tends to consider are characters, plot and setting (and for a fair few of them, theme as well). When Michael Bay sits down to start making a movie, his first and only concern is set piece explosions and how to string them together in what could faintly be considered a plot. The result: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 150 minutes of explosion followed by explosion, interrupted briefly at the start for a few poor horrible at humour.

Characterisation is forgotten. Most characters are lucky if they have two defining features. Major Lennox is heroic and compassionate. His black aside is heroic and black. Simmons is heroic and stupid. And annoying. The two transformer twins who follow Sam around are defined by their lingo, which gets very very old, very very fast. Everyone of them is a cliche, from the reasonable supportive General to the jerk-ass stupid suit from Washington, with zero depth.

Character motivation is best shallow and uninteresting, at worst non-existent. Deceptions are attempting to destroy the sun. Why? Because they're Deceptions! And the Autobots must stop them. Why? Because they're Autobots!

Except Sam, who is the only one with anything close to real emotional depth and human characteristics. Credit should be given to Shia Le-Beouf, who is given a hard time over this film but who manages to defeat a dodgy plot and poor script to ALMOST give Sam emotional grounding. Sadly however, he is a character defined by his interactions with others, and everyone else is hallow and uninteresting.

As for the effects? The Transformers themselves are a combination of moving gears and parts thrown poorly together in a mess of grey and a rusting, barely visible coating of paint on the outside. In a fight it is impossible to tell characters apart, and after watching the movie I can honestly say I cannot remember the visualise any of them besides Optimus, Megatron, Bumblebee and the Fallen as a result. Not worth watching.

Actually more interesting than they look, if you give them a chance

I remember how polarizing these movies were [and still are], both within the tf fanbase[of which I'm a part of since TF: Armada] and cinema in general.

So what I'm about to say will probably make most of you try to hang me for treason: I think these movies actually do have some meaning to them. Not just mindless action [the action is amazing, though], but actually pretty good things writing-wise.

In my opinion, the first movie already deserves credit for managing to make the concept even work in live-action [talking transforming cars = ridiculous for a live-action movie], the first movie takes itself seriously, it does a lot of work to explain that otherwise preposterous concept seriously: It explains why they turn into cars, why they can speak english, it spends a lot of time showing Decepticons and Autobots as real war-machines in a War Is Hell. Optimus spends half of his screen-time grieving the generations lost. The entire concept could have easily turned out stupid, and it didn't.

The second movie is a trainwreck, the only posivite points being some amusing characters and how it expands on the series' mythology.

Dark Of The Moon was a return to form in my opinion. Less in terms of concept exploring and more in terms of character. Sentinel was a very well-developed villain whose motivations were interesting. He wasn't a moustache twirling madman, but a man trying to save his world. Megatron had tragedy added to his character ["Cybertron, you are last."]. Optimus gets excellent dialogue with his former mentor. These characters are well done, even with their reduced screen-time.

The movies have flaws: The humans are shallow and receives too much focus, the pace is everywhere, the humour is sometimes Toilet Humour and second on onwards, the plot gets so complicated you have to re-watch to comprehend the plot. BUT when the movie actually takes its time to focus on the cybertronians and their culture, it can have a surprising amount of depth. Not masterpieces of writing, but a entertaining amount of depth/exploration.

The review's title/my last point: "If you give it a chance". If you go 100% expecting a dumb Michael Bay flick, you will see them as such. If you judge them as normal movies and forget Michael Bay's reputation, you can see surprising amount of interesting things.

Transformers 3: "This movie was FANTASTIC!"

At least that's what the guy who sat behind me in the cinema said when he stood up to leave, in between loudly singing along with the lyrics of the Linkin Park song in the credits. His behavior reminded me of MovieBob saying that Michael Bay makes movies "by douchebags, for douchebags".

So, how's the movie in my opinion? It's the same old shit as the two first ones. Maybe a little better than either of those, but only because the studio twisted Bay's arm and made him remove the most controversial elements. No more rutting dogs, no more robo-testicles and no more blackface-bots. Instead, as if it was some sort of game, Bay has fit in new annoyances to piss of his haters, such as a "wacky" scene where Sam gets Mistaken For Gay and a subplot where he gets a competitor for his new girlfriend's affections.

The first act of the movie plays like it's two entirely different films spliced together. It takes forever for the robot plot and Sam's plot to meet at all, and even then, it's like the script keeps inventing excuses to keep Sam locked out of the main plot of his own movie.

The climax is much better than Revenge's horrific clusterfuck. Instead of having a backdrop-battle with the characters running through it, instead it flows from scene to scene, with new locations and enemies distinct from each other. The cinematography in action scenes is still confusing and hectic, but I guess I've gotten used to it by now, since it didn't piss me off much.

The story makes no sense, and the villains' motivations don't match in any way to the previous movies. It's kinda funny in a sad way, especially since I kept coming up with new plot holes for hours after exiting the cinema.

Leonard Nimoy as Sentinel Prime has a refreshing feel of class in a lowbrow movie like this, though the lines he's given are mostly clichéd and boring. Likewise, John Malkovich as Sam's new boss is funny in a crazy kind of way, though his character is written as an annoying dickhead.

I probably won't see this movie ever again. It was worth seeing once, I guess, and I'll admit I was entertained for roughly two thirds of the film. As is the case in all but two films I've ever seen, the 3D is worthless and you're better off saving that money and spending it on something else.

Transformers 3: I Freaking Loved It!

From what I've read so far, very few people liked the third movie, or in fact, the entire series as a whole. With the the first two movies I can empathize yes but Dark of the Moon was, to put it simply, Fudgecaking awesome!! Like Shia said, "Michael has really outdone himself."

If you are the type of person (like me) that needs a bit of action to get it up, then the latest Transformers movie to you, should be like Hitler's decapitated head to a Jew; which is to say, jizz. This movie is chock full of action and laughs and to those who complained that the action scenes in the past movies looked like a couple of bolts being put in a blender (a really strong blender), this final movie has solved all those problems. The fights are sleek and full of tension.

I must admit that the main reason I liked the third movie so much is because of its brilliant pacing. I also liked how there was such a huge feeling of foreboding and despair further on into the film. They got to such a low point that it had me wondering what grand scheme would they have to come up with to end up victorious and had me literally gripping the edge of my seat, and that wasn't only so I could raise my head above old chewbacca sitting in front of me.

The 3D also was also worked amazingly well and made it easier to admire the level of detail of the complex alien species. The Megan Fox replacement did surprisingly well as they managed to flesh her out quite well considering that it had to be a bit of an ass pull. The plot was cohesive and the movie overall entertaining.

I recommend it to anyone with a currently empty Saturday night and HIGHLY recommend it to fans even with plans for a Saturday night. It is, at the very least, not boring and the most, EXTREMELY entertaining.

SPOILERS: Dark of the Moon - Worth a watch, if you're not a fan of sci-fi.

It's obvious going by public reactions that the Transformers films are a gateway series to the sci-fi genre. However, the elements of sci-fi are too simplified and are used too blatantly as ways of promoting merchandise.

Before dipping into the criticism, I must first commend the acting. It wasn't as forced and strained as the first two films, and the actors seem to take the role very loosely, but not in a bad way. The acting is fun, and even if the jokes won't make you laugh, the acting will.

The film also suffers less of Random Robot Fighting (Trademarked by Michael Bay) syndrome, although it doesn't mean the action scenes are any less fast-pace and dirty. The use of slow-motion also causes less a strain to your eyes, if any one of you suffered through the 3D effects of the first two films like I did.

However, the largest criticism I have on the film is the one staring at your face: the Tranformers are treated not as alien lifeforms, but as talking magical cars. It wouldn't be as bad if it weren't for the fact the government damn well knows who the Autobots and Decepticons are. Not a single human being besides Witwicky show legitimate interest in the alien life forms themselves. There's absolutely no non-political relationships established between the Autbots and the humans besides Bumblebee and Witwicky, which is rather odd considering this is a civil war between aliens which the humans unwittingly got caught up in. You'd think you'd see more humanity in a film trying to reason that humans aren't dicks. There is literally only one scene of willing non-political interaction between the humans and the Tranformers discounting BB and Witwicky. The scene where Carly basically tells Megatron he's Sentinel Prime's bitch. And that is all.

A minor criticism would be Optimus Prime's portrayal. He's still the epic and inspirational leader, and he still kicks a lot of ass. How he handled the main antagonists were a bit... cold for him. Megatron just helped saved his life, but Optimus Prime does not even acknowledge this and just rips his face off, and immediately afterwards he looks at Sentinel Prime with a "You're next." look. They fully deserve it yes, but Prime's gestures and actions just seemed dissonant to his position as the protagonist.

It's worth a watch. But if you enjoy good writing, it's not.

I'm No Critic But....

I enjoyed the first two movies, and while I have not seen the third , I will say it looks good. Now, I'm just an average person, and I will try to respect the opinions of others. Also, I am not saying the two movies were perfect, the second one had plot holes big enough for Texas to fall through, but they were still enjoyable.

Both movies had stunning visual effects, I think. Seeing the first one was the first time I stopped and thought, 'Wow, that looks so real!' And say what you will about the movies, but not only is the CGI good, the non-CGI is something to appreciate too, I think. You have to respect that the explosions and destruction is real for the most part. That is a bus being destroyed, those explosions in the sand are real, the Hoover Dam and Pyramids are really there, and so on.

The human focus for the movies is another thing I actually like. I like seeing humans shown so positively. Throughout the Transformer franchises, the humans have been useless all throughout, whether young or old. Here, they have a purpose. They're not just there to die or to look scared, they're able to fight back and help the Autobots win. I love positive portrayals of humanity, and this movie gave me one of the most positive. Besides, rendering the movements of all those Transformers was incredibly hard. The human focus was needed or else they would have gone way over budget most likely.

The goofy humor is another thing I enjoy. Yes, sometimes it is stupid, but it does work for the most part. Maybe I'm just a stupid guy, but that's just my opinion.

I'll cut this review short as I do not want to drag this on. I'll just leave this as a closing statement. These movies make all that money for a reason and it is not because people are stupid. At least, I don't think so.

Dark of the Moon

Alrighty, with the 3rd and maybe final Transformer film released in 3-D on the 28th, it did better than Revenge of the Fallen. From what I saw, the storyline was more consistent with a more well-known villian than The Fallen, in the form of Shockwave....although I won't say anything other than what the traiers had shown.

At any rate, Bay has done a fantastic job with the movie overall, with it's fair share of funny, awesome, sad, horrific events throughout the story. My only problem was the lack of extra correlation between The Transfomers and the human race other than what was provided from the background history and the previous movies to go on, that's all.

Still, it's a movie worth seeing for yourself to decide.

Revenge of the Fallen: Quite possibly the worst film to make over $400m this year.

Alright, I'll come clean. I hated this film. Say what you will about Michael Bay, and there is a lot to be said about him, but I thought Revenge of the Fallen was a staid, boring film that strung together sense-shattering explosions and metal slamming into metal that served to pummel the viewer into submission. Now some people may enjoy the sight of metal and flame flying across the screen and clangs and crashes in their ears, but I was just utterly bored, and picking stuff apart.

While I could regurgitate what many critics who are better paid than I am have said about this film, I'd rather just go quickly through the major problems that I had with this film. The first one is HUMOUR: I didn't really find any of the comedy in this film funny at all. This film was just so earnest in beating me around the head with the comedy brush that I just felt sorry for everybody parading about the screen japing around. Among the worst offenders are, of course, The Autobot Twins, who set new standards for embarrassment, both in their comic relief antics, which I found a bit of a pain to watch, and their (I'm guessing accidental) racism, but special mention must go to Ramon Rodriguez for his role as an obnoxious weenie who gets dragged along.

After that one, let's go with PLOT: It's pretty much all an excuse to have Shia Le Beof running about the place, chased by the orgiastic storm of rolling thunder and metal. Apart from the obnoxious humour, there is sorely little attempts at trying to squeeze any other emotions from the audience, apart from a couple of bones here and there. There is little to no character development or even interaction, and I just found what little there was just utterly cringeworthy.

Finally, there's the matter of ACTION: There are about three major fights in this film between the Transformers, and most of the time, the titular Transformers are pushed aside to serve as a backdrop for Shia Le Beouf and Megan Fox to run about dodging explosions in. Apart from major players and the Twin Scrappies, all of the rest of the Transformers, what we're here to supposedly see, are pushed aside to make way for more of Sam's parents, Leo the Goober, or the US Military. In fact, the US Army kicks more Decepticon butt onscreen than the damned Autobots do!

And that's why I hated Revenge of the Fallen.

Revenge Of The Fallen

Now, I will rarely say this about any movie only after seeing it once, but I think this movie has proven to me what it is: The absolute worst movie ever made. I'm serious. There is absolutely nothing good about this movie. All the characters are flat and non-existent, the plot makes no sense, and the actors suck at their jobs. Too many humans, NOT ENOUGH TRANSFORMERS. These facts are nearly universally agreed upon. Now, many people will argue to me "its not about that, its about the action and the CGI". Well, in my opinion, the CGI is the worst part. The first Transformers movie's CGI was good, but these effects are just horrible. First of all, I couldn't even tell which robot was which, considering everyone but Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee all had the exact same color, the whole dull, gun metal grey color. This, along with the fact that all the robots look horribly ugly (they are just a big huge mash of like wires, gears, guns, etc.) made all the action scenes impossible to decipher. Plainly put: This movie looks like shit. The movie is also horribly long, being 2 and a half hours. There is about 20 minutes of horrible undecipherable fighting, and about 2 hours of horribly unfunny (and racist) comic relief characters. There is exactly ten minutes devoted to the actual plot, which makes no sense what so ever (seriously, why do we even need those damn Transformers? The US military is so kickass in this movie they look like they can handle everything by themselves). Bottom line: This movie is absolutely horrible. I have no idea how this made hundreds of millions of dollars, or why so many people liked it. I am deeply fearing that humans are becoming stupider and stupider, due to the fact that they actually saw this movie. The plot of Idiocracy seems to be coming true at this point.