Release Date: 7/4/07
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Jon Voight, Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving, cameo by Bernie Mac
Ugh. Apart from about ten minutes of superb visual effects and stuntwork, "Transformers" is an abomination and a textbook example of everything that's wrong in Hollywood movies. I expected it to be stupid, but not to the point of physical pain. I also expected it to be a movie about robots in disguise, not a coming-of-age tale about a teenage boy trying to get into a girl's pants. I seriously wanted to leave the theater on several occasions because of the anger and disdain it was causing me. And that's not taking into account the horror of seeing my childhood trivialized and raped before my eyes.
It starts out innocently enough. An alien artifact falls to Earth, and it doesn't take long for other aliens to follow it. The aliens are intelligent sentient robots of two types: the kind and compassionate Autobots and the evil Decepticons. For reasons I still don't quite understand, the Autobots can only disguise themselves as General Motors cars, whereas the Decepticons can disguise themselves as anything. Enter Sam Winwicky, the hero (Shia LeBeouf). He's your typical high school loser who's desperately trying to scrape up enough money to buy his first car. When he does, it turns out to be an Autobot named Bumblebee in disguise. Wacky hi-jinks ensue. Now that he's got wheels, all he needs is a girl. Enter Mikaela, the love interest (Megan Fox). Is she really that vacant and vapid, or is she acting? Either way, she's impressively lifeless. More wacky hi-jinks ensue. After nearly an hour and a half of horrifically penned adolescent sex comedy, things finally start to get interesting when the Autobots and Decepticons start duking it out with each other. But the damned humans are still in the way to spoil the fun. Good finally prevails, the villains are vanquished, the boy gets the car and the girl, and Earth narrowly escapes complete annihilation. A sequel can't be far around the corner.
Who writes this crap and how can anyone think it's acceptable? Do you really think the Autobots travelled all the way to Earth just to help some dorky teenager get laid? Apparently Hollywood thinks so. Only the action scenes save this stinker from being completely unwatchable, and they're truly astonishing. Sadly, the trailer for the film is all that's really worth seeing, since most of the best scenes are showcased in it. The characters and character dynamics are extremely weak and taken right out of the grand book of bad clichés. Naturally, they're also strapped with absurd and wince-worthy dialog. How can I possibly care about any of these idiots? Films like "Independence Day" (1996) and "Godzilla" (1998) immediately come to mind. Pretty, but dumb. As far as the source material is concerned, purists are bound to complain about both Optimus Prime and Megatron, but thankfully Peter Cullen reprises his role as Prime. That's the only nostalgia I got out of the film, along with a couple instances of the signature "transforming" sound. The animation is very slick and the robots blend in seamlessly with the environment. Unfortunately, hyper-kinetic editing makes it difficult to follow the action, but it's still very cool to watch. Even considering the awful writing and juvenile mindset, the greatest crime this film commits is that it never takes itself or the audience seriously. Masturbation jokes? In a kid's movie that's supposed to be about giant robots? It's all pointless fluff played for laughs, wrapped in a shiny and very attractive package. I wish I could say that it's instantly forgettable, but the awful taste is still lingering in my mouth.
Actually, my entire sentiment can be reduced to perfect clarity with this awesome strip by Scott Ramsoomair. Well done, my friend.