Sunday, August 12, 2007

Oh dear God! or The Transformers Movie post

So, I pretty much had to write this post. In fact, in some ways, this post is the reason I felt the need to start a blog in the first place (or at least inspired me to create a location for pointless rants). Okay, enough context. Moving on...

I guess I saw the Transformers movie about a month ago. I was fairly excited about the movie. Although I hadn't really been a fan of the cartoon series (what can I say, I'm young), it seemed like a fun project and it definitely was going to fit the bill as a ridiculous action movie, and we can never have too many of those. I've never had a strong opinion about Michael Bay, at least partly because the only movies of his that I've seen are Armageddon and The Rock. And, while I didn't like Armageddon, I thought The Rock was very awesome (if only because Sean Connery is very awesome). So, in short, I didn't think he was necessarily going to ruin the movie for me or anything like that.

I would also like to admit that I was a little nervous, because the trailers had seemed to work towards making me less excited about seeing it. Each time I saw more of the giant robots, I wanted to see the movie less. Because I'm stupid, I concluded that the best strategy would be to stop watching ads for the movie so that would stop happening. It did not actually occur to me that this was a warning, that I wasn't going to like how the robots turned out. I just kept thinking they were being poorly represented in the trailers to keep the scenes in the movie awesome. Obviously, I'm stupid.

In short, I like to think I came into the movie doing my very best to like it (and I like most movies). I'm sorry to say that I came out of it simply glad to escape. I remember leaving the theater briefly to get more popcorn and breathing a sigh of relief. That's how painful the movie was for me.

So, what was wrong with the movie? Why was it unable to meet the relatively low standards for a summer, popcorn, action movie? Why did it hate me so? Why are there people in this world who don't think it was terrible and painful and insulting to watch?

Well, I can't answer all those questions. But, I like to think that I can answer some of them.

So, first off, the movie was really freaking stupid. In and of itself, this doesn't count against it. Lots of movies are stupid and summer action movies certainly get passes on that. But, there has to be a line drawn somewhere, and I'm confident that Transformers definitely crosses this line regularly. When the stupidity involved is insulting to the audience members and simply painful to witness, we have a problem.

As an example, the movie opens with a group of soldiers, one of whom is of a Hispanic background. I think the audience is supposed to think it's funny that the moment he gets excited about something he switches into Spanish and all the other guys in the group start groaning and yelling at him to speak English. This happens multiple times! Why? I don't know. Is it funny? Well, I hope to God that isn't what qualifies as comedy in this day and age, all I know is my theater certainly wasn't laughing.

On the topic of stupidity, lets also talk about totally stupidly wasting the audience's time. So, the movie is almost two and half hours long. I have no idea why. I suspect Hollywood has concluded that people don't think their movie tickets are a good value unless they get a minimum of a two hour production. Because this movie did not need to be over two hours by any stretch of the imagination (whether it should exist at all could potentially be up for debate as well, I guess).

So, how does the movie waste our time (alternatively, how doesn't it waste our time?)? Let's see, greater than the first half of the movie is spent trying to find a pair of glasses that are in Shia's backpack. In his backpack, people. We even get an extended scene of him searching his room for the backpack and getting interrupted by his parents, who for some strange reason think he's trying to masturbate (this would be another excellent example of stupidity that most definitely crosses the line). In the meantime, the robots are standing outside the house being invisible and we get to waste time with their stupid struggles at hiding in a backyard. This even gets to include getting peed on by a dog (at which point, all I could think to myself was: "Oh my God, I spent 9 bucks to watch a dog pee on a robot, what was I thinking?").

So, eventually, they find the glasses and they can locate the special device that all the robots are looking for (whoo! plot can finally move forward). Except, wait for it, AT THIS POINT EVERYONE ALREADY KNOWS THE LOCATION AND THEY'RE ON THEIR WAY THERE. So, the first half of the movie was a complete waste of time. No one needed the glasses after all. They just needed to ask the US government, who had been chasing them the whole goddamn time (you know, just turn around and ask them: "Hey, you seem to already know a lot about us. Would you happen to know the location of a huge fucking Cube that we've been looking for? Oh! You do, great. Where's one of those Staples Easy Buttons when you need one?"). In fact, that's actually pretty much how the conversation goes once they get around to interacting with the government, instead of peeing on them (oh, did I mention that we get a scene of John Turturro getting peed on? Well, we did.).

So, that whole section of the movie was a waste of time. More or less. But hey, at least we got to watch a robot pee on a guy, right? That makes it worthwhile... (I think I might have cried a little bit at this point).

And so, finally, we get to the huge exciting battle sequence. The thing we've been waiting for and patiently sitting through stupid "jokes" and unwelcome scenes involving urinating can finally begin. And, then, we really start to cry. We just start balling, because it's not fair, we didn't deserve this treatment at all. We are treated to one of the most confusing, frustrating, meaningless action sequences of all time.

What are the problems with this action sequence? Alternatively, did they do anything right? I don't think so, I guess LA was a cool location. This action sequence is literally explosions and screaming and fast cuts. That's all. At no point did I know what was going on. Admittedly, this was at least partly because all the robots looked the same. In fact, you know how I was able to tell a good robot from a bad robot? By who the humans were shooting at. Apparently, they could tell the difference, but I certainly couldn't.

Obviously, this is a long sequence. But, it has no tricks to speak of. There is absolutely nothing cool going on, at all. What's amazing is that the action actually gets worse when the robots are on the screen. Did I mention they look terrible? Well, they look terrible. The look like big piece of junk. As cars, they are super shiny and new. In their normal forms, they are falling apart. How is that cool? They're dirty and ugly and totally lame. They look like they came out of a really bad H.G. Wells pulp novel or something. They definitely don't look futuristic, at least. Even better, they randomly pull big-ass swords and guns out of nowhere. And use them to make more explosions during the fast cuts and random slow motion shots.

How does anyone enjoy this? I swear, it wasn't cool at all. It was just, frustrating. I like to think that's not what the producers were going for, but I can't imagine that they were watching this going thinking that everything was totally comprehensible. I mean, most of the Decepticons only get a 3-5 second introduction. How are we, as the audience, supposed to have any idea which one they are? Even if they actually looked different, I'm not sure I could have followed who they were, simply because I didn't have time to find out.

On a random aside, I have a similar problem when watching Japanese horror movies because all the victims are Japanese school girls wearing the same uniforms and have the same hair and have names that don't mean anything to me, and all basically look the same regardless. Which is pretty much how the Transformers movie went, except none of the robots had straight, black hair (or schoolgirl uniforms, as far as I could tell, but I'm not 100% confident about that one, or the hair really, now that I think about it).

So, yeah, that's what I didn't like about the movie. I truly wish I knew why it hated me so much, because I swear I didn't do anything to it, but what's done is done. As for why there are numerous people in existence who didn't hate it...

I honestly can't say. I mean, I know people who laugh when I bring up the peeing scenes, for goodness sake. People are weird. I try to tell them they're wrong and that the movie is terrible, but they don't listen. They tell me stupid things like, "Everyones entitled their own opinions." But, seriously, don't they understand that they're wrong and the movie was terrible. This is not an opinion, people.

I would like finish by bringing up the one positive from the movie: Megan Fox. All I can say is... Wow. That girl can do very, very little. Acting is most certainly not on the list. But, man, she can walk in a denim skirt like nobody's business. She is amazingly, ridiculously hot. I know she will never be in a good movie, or even an okay movie, but she will elevate every project she's involved in to the realm of at least worth considering watching. She's just... wow. Seriously.

That is all.


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