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Review – Movie – Transformers

This is where I give my thoughts on the Transformers movie. Instead of regurgitating the same garbage about how great the special effects were and how it’s the “action movie of the year” and all. It’s a bumbling mess of a collection of random bull shit, much like this film franchise.

Yeah, great special effects. Things were integrated pretty seamlessly into the non CGI parts. The problem is that the action is so cluttered and messy you can’t tell what the hell is going on 90% of the time. Robots engage in combat and instead of getting shots of the fight we get a down on the street view of their feet. They roll around doing… something… to each other but we can’t tell what they are doing or who is winning the fight. Seriously, loose about 75% of the shrapnel in the fight scenes.

I did enjoy the film. Mind you. Now, where to start. I’ve made a relatively random list here so I’ll just go with that. This isn’t organized in any particular order and it will contain SPOILERS so don’t read if you care about that sort of thing.

For starters, Bumblebee. He talks through his radio. I read somewhere that part of the reason they couldn’t make him a VW bug was because he’d be considered a rip off of Herbie. I certainly got a very strong Herbie vibe from that Camero before it started doing its Transforming thing. Also, they never explain WHY his voice box doesn’t work, Ratchet just mentions that “He’s been working on it”. The suggestion around the web is that Megatron damaged it but that doesn’t really fit with the plot considering Megs has been frozen on Earth for tens of thousands of years. I’d find it more plausible that he’s been hanging around alone on Earth for so long he’s simply forgotten how to talk.

Also the voice magically becomes repaired at the end of the film. Bumblebee’s had his feet lopped off and gets pointlessly dragged around the city by a chick in a tow truck and suddenly he can talk. I guess Ratchet found time to make repairs that he’s neglected to do for ten thousand plus years while in the middle of a crucial and large scale battle.


Anyway, someone should point out to the writers that Wreckgar is the one who spoke via TV and radio clips, not Bumblebee.

Then there’s Frenzy, probably the bot with the most screen time, second maybe to Bumblebee. I liked him a lot actually. The CD boom box is a good nod towards Soundwave as well. Were those ninja stars he was throwing made out of CDs? Pretty slick there. Still, he wasn’t very menacing. The larger bots can throw tanks and have impenetrable armor. Granted Frenzy is smaller and this likely a bit more delicate in design, but why is it he can’t rip the humans to shreds in seconds just by jumping on him. Particularly while he was fighting with Sam in that field. I guess one could argue that they wanted Sam alive so they could interrogate him but he can still talk with his legs disabled preventing a getaway.

Speaking of Frenzy, the creators of this film claim they didn’t use Soundwave because they didn’t want to use Mass Shifting. That is, where a large bot turns into a small device. Somehow though Frenzy is allowed to not only grow a huge spider body from his disembodied head but then later he can compact that body AND his head down to the size of a cell phone. Don’t even get me started on the Matrix Cube thing. Size of large house down to a one foot cube? And we can’t have Soundwave?

Oh yes, the cube. It’s generally only ever referred to as “The Cube”. This is synonymous with “Random Plot Device”. It’s generic and ends up being very Deus Ex Machina. It’s generally unclear as to what it is, Prime vaguely mentions the Matrix being in his chest, so it’s not that. It’s primary power is to creat advertising from random things. Like turning Mountain Dew machines and Nokias into killer robots and getting a whole slew of Autobots and Decepticons to turn the first 60 minutes of the film into an eBay advertisement.

It’s basically plot device to give the giant robots an excuse to fight. Then, due to some sort of genius I can’t even begin to fathom, it becomes a plot device to allow giant robots to tear apart a city. Let’s see, we’re the military, we need to protect this “The Cube” thing. The Decepticons are attacking our base, the one inside a dam in the middle of nowhere. How shall we handle this situation. I know, let’s put the cube in a sports car with a kid. Then, and this is the bet part, we’ll drive it to the center of a large heavily populated area!


Let’s endanger the lives of millions of innocents! Instead of engaging in combat say, in the middle of the desert! The desert is hot and dry and uncomfortable, the city is full of product placement.

Then, the plan gets even better here. After getting to the city. We’ll make the kids carry the “The Cube” across several city blocks and up into a tall building where helicopters will pick him up and take him away (never mind that two of the Decepticons can fly and will tear and helicopter to shreds in seconds).

Also, while in route to the city, we’ll not question why we’re suddenly being escorted by a hodgepodge of trucks and cars and semis and tanks.

This is where the bulk of the Decepticons show up. Pretty much out of nowhere but as my wife pointed out, they were all military vehicles. The implication was that the were evil and had infiltrated our military a lot without us even knowing. Good theory and I’m going with that. Brawl gets called Devestator for some reason during the one and only mention of who these guys are. When you hear reports that the Decepticons have zero characterization they are not exaggerated. At least the Autobots got ranks and functions and a few lines. Bonecrusher literally appears for the sole purpose of getting killed by Prime (and to sell out of scale toys). That scene in the trailer where he destroys the bus is like 50% of his on screen tine.

Brawl gets a bit more screen time since he gets to be a major player in the city fight that shortly follows. Blackout is about the level as Brawl except all of his good fighting scenes are at the movie’s opening. Barricade actually gets some lines and I’m pretty sure survives for the sequel. Megatron escapes from captivity and jabbers wit Starscream a bit but Megatron’s comments about failure completely without context and is meaningless in the film. I really wanted Starscream to swoop in and screw up Megatron’s attempts to take the cube from Sam on the roof top. I really wanted him to be traitorous, he was right there watching.

sadly, he did nothing.

Instead he just gets saved by Prime from a fall. One thing I’ll never get in movies is how people survive from falling great heights just because they get caught. Guess what, falling 20 stories onto the concrete isn’t going to be much different than falling 10 stories onto the hard metal plates that make up the hand of a giant robot.

As for the Autobots. Their characterization also comes entirely from their introductions with the exception of Bumblebee. Jazz is some sort of hip hop break dancer robot with a lot of bad ass potential who gets killed way to quickly. Ironhide wants to kill everything with his big guns but can’t because “he’s a good guy and good guys don’t kill parents and Chihuahuas. Ratchet is the team’s medic who is apparently completely inept at actually medic-ing anything since he can’t fix Bumblebee’s voice, nor is he around to repair Bumblebee’s detached feet, nor is he capable of repairing Jazz.

I can ALMOST forgive the Jazz thing since Jazz has been ripped in two but Frenzy was able to live on as a head alone so I’m less inclined to go that route.

Bumblebee is a the bumbling but noble screw up that means well.

Prime is a bit of a confusing mess of characterization. On one hand, he’s a pretty smart and rational leader type. He’s powerful and such. On the other hand, he strikes me as a bit of an idiot in one particular scene. That is of course, the backyard scene.

This whole scene was generally lame and seemed way out of place. The Autobots are trying to hide from Sam’s parents. Instead of staying put in the alley, they get impatient and go troop around Sam’s backyard destroying things and causing Sam’s parents to think there are Earthquakes. What was the point of all of this other than the make the Autobots seem like a bunch of impatient children who can’t listen? Why is Sam so concerned about his parents seeing the Autobots? They won’t believe him? And was that stupid Masturbation joke really necessary? Kids are going to see this.

Speaking of kids seeing this. As funny as it was, Bumblebee’s pissing scene was possibly one of the stupidest scenes in movie history. Seriously. You just got through doing jokes about dog pee and leaking lubricant. Do we really need to have a giant robot “pee” on the federal agent? With the camera on the viewpoint of the federal agent? Actually this scene is likely symbolic of the movie’s creators pissing on the audience.


One Comment

  1. […] Ok, Revenge of the Fallen. Transformers 2. In case you missed it, my Transformers 1 review can be found here. […]

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