So, anyone who regularly follows my blog will no doubt notice that in recent months I’ve written exclusively about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. So, to avoid the reputation that this is a one note pony blog, I’ve decided to change it up a bit by writing about another Hasbro property…oh shut up, it’s all I have right now.
You know what’s funny? The origins of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Bear with me on this. You see, the story goes that Lauren Faust was trying to sell a show based on her Galaxy Girls IP, no I’m not exactly sure what it’s about, to Hasbro, they turned her down but made her a different offer.
You see recently they’ve had great success in getting one mind to lead another one of their franchises and put their own style on it. Using a big name to drive it and turn it into something amazing. So they gave her the opportunity to mould My Little Pony into her own vision. This earlier franchise and the mind that drove it, inspiring Hasbro to give Faust the metaphorical reins of My Little Pony? Transformers and Michael Bay.
Shocking isn’t it? The success of the recent Transformers films is what allowed My Little Pony to become the juggernaut that it is now. I still cannot believe it, and I don’t know how to feel about it. On one hand we got an amazing show out of it. On the other hand, the films suck.
At least that’s what everyone has been saying for the past several years. Every Transformers review I’ve run across has been negative. Not one single positive word has come out about the franchise, that I’ve seen. It’s not like I was searching for negative reviews, nor am I much of a film buff. I’m sure there are a few positive reviews out there, but considering I haven’t run across one. I’m pretty sure they are a small minority.
But of course I always took everyone else’s word for it, and that always kinda bugged me. After all, most people think the 1998 Godzilla movie sucked, and I actually kinda liked it. So I thought it would only be fair to give it a shot.
So, a few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to watch Transformers on network television, and I decided that I would at least try to like it. Two hours later, I thought: Well, I never needed those brain cells anyway.
I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, but trust me when I say it’s a dead horse that not only deserves to be beaten, but raped, mutilated, then stitched back together and resurrected only so you can torture, rape and murder it again! Don’t think about that metaphor too much, it’ll hurt your brain.
So, yes, the movie is bad. It’s not just bad, it’s a pile of shit! I don’t simply mean it’s bad as a general movie, because a lot of people think turn-off-your-brain popcorn movies are bad. I wish it was one of those. The problem with Transformers is that it doesn’t even try to live up to that standard.
So, what exactly is wrong with it!? Where should I start? Well, how about I start with some praise. Some people have said the robot designs are terrible, but I would have to disagree. Now they are pretty hideous and a bit of a mess, but in this case, it works. It’s an alien design, they aren’t really meant to be aesthetically pleasing to humans. Next they’ll be complaining about the Giger Aliens from…Alien. Also, the overall plot, seems pretty solid from a distance.
So, what exactly is wrong with it? Every fucking thing else!
To start, half the time I couldn’t tell what exactly was going on; the other half, I didn’t care. For instance: there was one fight scene very near the beginning between Bumblebee and Barricade. We see Bumblebee get the upper-hand over Barricade, and then, one jump-cut later, get thrown into a silo. Okay…what happened!? It’s as if five or ten very crucial seconds of footage were cut out. But I doubt that’s the case. After I saw that, I stopped trying to follow the rest of the fight scenes because I valued my intelligence too much.
The next problem, the pacing. Much of the film is focused on Sam Witwicky, which is a name I hope I never have to spell again, as he navigates through his life, buys a car and tries to ‘get the girl,’ so to speak. Which is fine, but the problem is, this plot-thread is needlessly padded, which wouldn’t be a problem if all the other plot-threads weren’t rushed.
To start with, the hacker characters. We meet Maggie, who was assigned by the NSA to analyse the remnants of a hacking attempt into some national database. I don’t care enough to look up or remember the details. She comes to the conclusion that it must be extraterrestrial, and tells the Secretary of Defence. He is skeptical and asks her to find proof. So far, so jolly. We then cut to Maggie at her workstation, as she makes a copy of the signal that cracked the database and says there’s only one person who can analyse this properly. Jump-cut to Glen, played by comedic actor Anthony Anderson, with Maggie at his front porch asking for help. Jump-cut to the NSA (I think) where the SecDef (Jon Voight) is informed someone copied the data. Jump-cut back to Glen’s house, where (presumably) a few minutes have passed and he managed to decode the data and find evidence of alien influence, when suddenly the front door is busted down and both characters arrested.
Wow, that sequence lasted what? Three minutes. A bit more exposition would have been nice. Even some pointless technobabble. Perhaps you can explain how these characters know each other. Did they use to date? Maybe Maggie can explain why a hacker is as hot as her and wearing high heels. Seriously, the high heels are unnecessary, and in fact subvert the character a bit. But no, the plot must move on. I get it. So why do we spend 80 per cent of the movie focused on Sam and this girl, Mikaela? They don’t have that much to add to the film. Obviously they’re important, but more of the film could have focused on the other characters. I honestly found them more interesting. After all, following this scene we see no more of the hacker characters until Jon Voight decides to recruit them as his advisers on alien phenomena…okay…I think I missed the part where they are revealed to be experts on this kind of thing, but whatever.
Speaking of Sam and Mikaela, played by Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, I’d like to focus on these morons. We open with Shia La-Where’s-the-Beef, trying to hock some old family heirlooms to try to pay for a new car, while he is giving a class presentation about his grandfather, which doesn’t impress his teacher, Dr. Taub. Eventually, his father brings him to a used car depot, where Bernie Mac tries to sell them a car. Then a random yellow unmanned car drives in and tries to blend in with the other used cars. Spoiler alert: it’s Bumblebee, the alien robot! Ground Beef is intrigued. The car looks nice, he wants it. Bernie says he doesn’t recognize the car from his inventory. But ends up selling it anyway. How does he even know it’s his and where did he get the keys!? Yes, this movie is filled with gaping plot-holes the size of Optimus Prime. Let’s just run with it for now.
So he gets the car, and decides to use it to pick up chicks, and, this is the weird part, the car (Bumblebee) tries to give him dating advice by playing choice songs on the radio. Why does Bumblebee care whether Shia LaCow gets laid or not!? Is he bored? Trying to waste time or keep Beouf busy? Or does he like to watch? Hoping they’ll get busy in the backseat? I don’t know and it pisses me off!
Eventually, Sam spots his car driving away, assuming it was stolen. He chases after it and spots a giant robot in the distance, and automatically comes to the conclusion that the robot is his car. Okay, how? Perhaps if he saw the transformation sequence, but he doesn’t!
Later in the film he spots Bumblebee coming back to him, so naturally he runs like hell. After all, he just saw a giant robot near where his car was supposed to be. Eventually he meets Barricade, as a police car, whom he asks for help. Naturally, Barricade attacks, demanding to know where the glasses are! Don’t worry, I’ll get to it. Just then, Bumblebee arrives to help out. Giving Sam the time to get the hell away. He meets up with Mikaela, who just happens to be downtown at the time. Then blah blah blah, stuff happens, blah blah blah, Bumblebee changes his vehicle mode because Mikaela insulted it, blah blah stupid blah, and the two meet the other Autobots; Optimus Prime, Jazz, Ratchet and Ironhide.
Optimus reveals why they need Sam, he has his grandfather’s glasses, which were imprinted with the location of the AllSpark back when the man found Megatron stuck in the Arctic ice several decades ago. So they all go to his house to find the damn glasses, and this is the stupid part, the Autobots are determined to hide from his parents. Why? Oh, his parents would “freak out!” So? I mean I guess it would be bad if they called the cops or something, but just tell them that their son might also be taken in, and no big deal. I’m sure if you calmed them down and calmly explained that you needed their help to stop an alien invasion, they might be able to help you find the damn glasses, and you’d spend less time trying to prevent them from finding out. Focus on the task at hand bitch! The planet is at stake!!!
Okay, so they find the friggen glasses, but fail to get them to Optimus before some secret government agents arrest them and take them in. What bugs me is that, once again, they don’t explain everything to the government guys. They don’t explain how important it is that they get the glasses to Optimus. Of course they probably figured they’d have nothing to gain, and might be arrested for conspiracy or thrown in a mental ward. Anyway, on the way to [undisclosed location], they are intercepted by Optimus and all the government guys are tied up. Then, when he has nothing to lose, Sam has the lead agent, whom I like to call Agent Fugly, take off his clothes for no apparent reason before he makes his getaway, instead of, you know, telling them the whole story!
You know, this really bugs me. When all the humans should be on the same side, they end up fighting each other over trivial shit. They should be working together to prevent the extermination of their species instead of this pointless back and forth bullshit. I guess it’s to give them some conflict without having to include those pesky robots. You know, the robots that are essentially the title characters and the reason we’re here. I get that one wants to see interesting and relatable characters, but for the most part the Transformers are pretty relatable, they have emotions and personalities that are quite human…almost too human. I honestly wish they had less personality.
Let’s talk about Frenzy, one of the Decepticons. He is a fucking goofball. We first see him on Air Force One, bopping around and doing a really lousy job of maintaining stealth, even though he’s somehow successful. He manages to get into the bowels of the plane in order to hack a secret government database, and successfully cracks it. Here’s what bugs me about this character. He walks around like he just downed ten Red Bulls and just before he begins his work on the very special computer console, he cracks his knuckles…cracks his knuckles people! He’s a fucking robot! He has no knuckles to crack!!! Some may say it’s for comedic purposes, but I don’t believe that, after all, it wasn’t actually funny, it was just stupid. I found him annoying and without charm. But he’s a Decepticon, so that’s probably intentional. However that doesn’t explain why all the Autobots, with the exception of Bumblebee and Optimus, were also annoying and without charm.
Here’s another piece of bullshit. The Autobots claim they learned English through the Internet…oh…sorry…the World Wide Web. Who uses that term anymore? I’m pretty sure no one. Anyway, that doesn’t explain how they managed to access the “World Wide Web.” After all, it’s not like we broadcast it out into space, and they just fucking got here, they arrived as Transformer meteorites. Unless they got online in the ten minutes from when they landed and when they talk to Sam…well…my point is it’s stupid. Just say TV signals in space, it’s easier.
Next, there are the soldiers…I have no problem with the soldiers…until the ending.
The film ends with all our heroes arriving at Hoover Dam. Sam and Mikaela, a name I still have trouble spelling, though that’s likely because I don’t give a shit, arrive after getting caught again by Richard Walsh from 24, and the rest of the Men in Black knockoffs. The hackers arrive with the SecDef, and for some reason, so do the soldiers.
The soldiers I’m referring to are two guys who were stationed at a military base in Qatar that was attacked by Blackout in the film’s opening. They survive the attack, likely the only ones who did, and are stalked by Scorponok, in the middle of the Qatar desert. They eventually contact their superiors who take Scorponok out and are rescued. Here’s my problem: These guys are in Qatar. Why ship them back to the states on what appears to be rapid transport? I saw no reason to include them in the finale. They just took out a giant metal scorpion! Can’t they take the rest of the week off!?
So all our heroes arrive at Hoover Dam, with the exception of the Autobots, but including Bumblebee, who was taken and is being tortured by the Conspiracy Theorist’s wet dream. They are all briefed on the AllSpark, which is what Hoover Dam was built around in order to hide the damn thing. The AllSpark is a 300 foot tall cube that’s embedded into the rock face. They discovered that it emits a radiation that can turn electronics into Transformers. Okay, I’ll buy that. One problem though: Why does it only turn electronics into evil Transformers, killing everything in sight!? I would think it’s at least a fifty-fifty shot either way! But nope, apparently, all the “AllSpark Mutations” as they are known, are evil. That bothers me for so many reasons. Primarily because Optimus wanted to use it to return life to his homeworld, which is just asking for trouble.
Also at Hoover Dam is a cryogenically frozen Megatron, which begs the question: how can you cryogenically freeze a robot!? He was the guy found by Sam’s grandfather in the Arctic, which I mentioned earlier.
Frenzy sneaks in to the Hoover Dam, after stowing away in Dumb Broad’s purse pretending to be her cell phone, and spots the AllSpark, calling all the other Decepticons to claim it. Sam The Beef tells Agent Fugly to release Bumblebee, who refuses, but eventually complies after one of the soldiers holds a gun to his head telling him to do it. Everyone in this film is a moron!!!!
They release Bumblebee and he goes to the cube, puts his hands on it, and it shrinks down from around 300 feet to around a foot, and becomes mobile…you have got to be shitting me! Honestly, that’s the dumbest fucking thing in this film, it shrinks down to one-27-millionth of its original size, and one can presume, one-27-millionth of its original weight, because the various humans are able to carry it now, and when it was fucking giant it didn’t float up to the ceiling. Where did the mass go!?
Now, I think I know why they did this, because they needed a reason for it to stay in one place for over 80 years, while still making it mobile for the big finale. But the biggest bullshit about this was that there was such an easy work around. Say the 300 foot wide cube is merely a shell used to disperse the energy for the AllSpark, and the actual AllSpark is a lot smaller and stored within. But they don’t do that, they shrink the damn thing! What the hell!?
Not only that, at one point Optimus says he can destroy the AllSpark by merging it with the AllSpark in his chest. Wait, what? Does every transformer have an AllSpark in their chest? Then what’s so special about the giant cube!? It’s probably something completely different, but in that case, why don’t they call it something completely different!?
Anyway, as the Decepticons are on their way, the humans decide to get the cube to nearby Mission City. Where there are plenty of innocent bystanders they can put in harm’s way. They knew the Decepticons were after it, and would likely fight for it. So they go to the most populated place they could find!? Fucking morons!
Then the Autobots join the humans, after they figure out where the AllSpark is, and there’s a big pointless battle in the streets, that, as I mentioned earlier, I didn’t bother to follow. But of course they need backup. So the SecDef, Agent Fugly and the hackers go into a storage shed where there’s an old radio transmitter, and try to get it to work, after the Decepticons took out all the more advanced communications systems. Unfortunately, the thing is missing microphones. So one of the hackers suggest modifying an old computer to send and receive messages in Morse Code…the point of Morse Code is to be able to send and receive messages using only simple on and off signals, that can easily be interpreted by humans. The whole point of Morse Code is that you don’t need a fucking computer! But trying to reason with this movie is like trying to have sex with a blender, painful and pointless.
Now, don’t say no one knew Morse Code! If you can program a computer to translate it, then you know it!
Alright, so after the boring battle in the streets, the film ends, the good guys win, the bad guys lose, you know how it goes, and the Autobots decide to stay on earth, to live out the rest of their lives, which probably means the rest of eternity since they’re robots. They are going to get so bored after a while. They could probably download a few good books.
So that’s the Transformers movie. The truth is, there are the bones of a good film here, but it was put into the hands of Michael Bay, who shit on it. I really want to like this film, but I can’t because I don’t know what the fuck is going on, and I can’t seem to like anyone! The concept and plot progression is great, the problem is everything else.
You see, I like the idea of an alien invasion, with giant transforming alien robots and monstrous government conspiracies. What I don’t like is dodgy cinematography, unlikable characters, schizophrenic pacing, and gaping plot holes.
It saddens me, because this tells me a great Transformers film will never come. Not that I’m a Transformers fan or anything, but the idea of giant robots that can turn into everyday objects is fucking amazing as a concept. But we will never see it done well, done right, and that makes me sad, because I have no doubt it could be done, if someone actually tried.