Friday, August 13, 2010
You may find yourself sitting in a packed theater. And you may find yourself waiting impatiently for a movie about giant robots to explode on the screen in front of you. And you may find yourself watching a movie about a nerd getting a girl way out of his league while fighting a googly eyed John Tuturro. You might ask yourself 'Why are there so many people in my giant robot movie'? And you may ask yourself 'Where have all the robots gone'? You may ask yourself 'Why does Optimus Prime have lips'? Many minutes go by still there is nothing exciting going on. Many people like to talk yet the robots seem to do nothing. And you might say 'This is not my Optimus Prime! This is not my Transformers movie'!
A lot of people like this movie. Personally I think its just okay bordering on complete stupidity. I have a non-sexual (sometimes) crush on Shia Lebouf so I find a lot of his humor and acting quite enjoyable. I give Transformers one star for that. I take a million stars away for the bad story, weak focus and complete misunderstanding on what a Transformers audience member wants to see. Commonly I hear people say its good because "Its got Transformers in it". That's it. Does that mean Teenage Mutant Turtles 3 is a good movie because it has teenage mutant ninja turtles in it? Why can't Transformers be a smart movie with action and great memorable interesting characters.
Where to begin? How how about the perspective of the film? The perspective of the film comes from the human characters. The shots on film are from the humans looking up at giant things in the sky. Just like Pearl Harbor and Armageddon. This begs the question. Why not call the movie "PEOPLE-The Movie". The humans are the main characters and the Transformers are the supporting cast. You have three major stories going on that come together at the end with the Transformers merely in the background. You have Shia getting the girl and running from the bad robots but then John Tuturro shows up and kidnaps him, then there is the girl computer person and Anthony Anderson who discover a signal (just like Independence Day) who joins forces with the Vice-President, and lets not forget the solders who survive the first explosion sequence of the film that wander around the desert trying to find a way to let our government know that there are bad robots destroying stuff. The more interesting characters are the Transformers. Whats their story? Well they come to Earth to find a pair of glasses on Ebay. Lame. None of their personalities or motives are explored in the film. Bumblebee might be saying something important but he speaks by using different radio stations for each word he says. I still have no idea what he is saying. Maybe I have to be one of the young, cool, brainless, hipsters that were too young to appreciate Transformers that this film was geared toward. Irony?
Why can't the movie be about the Autobots coming to Earth to protect us from the evil Deceptacons led by the super evil Megatron who wants to set himself up as a god among the humans. The message of the film could be about the importance of life no matter how small it is. The interesting point would be that in this case humans would be the small. The few times we see humans they would be from the perspective of the giant robots looking down. Very small. Things that are big to us like trees are little to them. The difference between the Autobots and the Deceptacons is how they view human life. The Autobots see us as important and worthy to fight and die for while the Deceptacons view us as insignificant and fun to step on. All the talking lines should go to the Transformers. People in the film should say things like "Thank you for saving us" and " No! Please don't step on me"! That's it. We came to see Transformers not Even Stevens.
Notice that John Tuturro is the main villain in the film. Occasionally a bad transformer shows up and starts an "action" scene but quickly goes away. Megatron is asleep the whole movie until the end. When he finally shows up he says something that is really stupid and doesn't make sense. He tells Star Scream that he failed him. Uh, didn't Star Scream cause the power outage that unfroze Megatron. You see there is very little character development when it concerns the bad robots so the writers insert lines where ever because everyone knows that Megatron and Star Scream weren't the best of friends in the cartoon. When Shia finally gets the glasses Tuturro shows up and takes him away and then takes down Bumblebee. Thanks for showing up halfway through the movie. I was wondering who would show up and start some crap. Of course it wouldn't be a Deceptacon. That would be too awesome.
Michael Bay sucks. The Transformers are nothing more than the Special Effects That Causes All The Explosions And Destruction. Look at all the buildings explode. Look at the exploding jets and tanks and cars and bridges. What caused all this? Asteroids? Japanese Planes? No. Transformers. I think the humans take down more Deceptacons than the Autobots. Which makes the Autobots completely worthless. Once the incendiary rounds are discovered to cause damage to the bad guys the Autobots become irrelevant. Optimus Prime doesn't even take down Megatron. Shia does. If I was Shia, instead of risking my life with the cube by sticking it in Megatrons exposed chest (why was it open in the first place) I would simply find the nearest microwave and put it in there on high for three minutes. I'm sure it would have the same effect.
The designs of the Transformers are confusing and too complex. None of the Transformers stand out. In the fight scenes its hard to tell who is who and what body part is moving. Michal Bays directing style doesn't help either. Optimus Prime has lips. That's stupid. Why does he have lips? Does he need them to breathe? Does he eat with them? No, he needs them to show emotion. So we can relate to him. At least that's what I think Michael Bay thought. Of course he probably thought a big giant robot in Wild Wild West was a cool idea too. Yes, I know he didn't direct that one but my point is that while everybody older than ten thought it was stupid Bay would be part of the few that found it genius.
Michael Bay is one of the worst directors ever. He has never made a good movie. Only The Rock is passable. But even that one runs out of steam by the last twenty minutes. He wants to be the star of every movie he does. A good director doesn't allow his style to take your attention away from what is happening on screen. A good director uses his style to emphasise the emotion or action of what is happening. His constant moving of the camera and jerky fight sequences seem to say "Hello. I'm Michael Bay! WEEEEEEEEE!!!!! Pay attention to me!" Its like he losses interest in whats happening in front of him so he takes the camera and starts circling people while they have a simple conversation explaining important plot details. He tries in vain to establish a unique style that adds excitement or interest in his films. Computer Special effects is really all he is known for and he doesn't even do those. The special effect guys do that. His style is a cliche. I hope you like shaky cam, ring-around-people-talking cam, and slow-mo of people getting off of planes cam.
But the thing I hate the most about his movies is the "glare" shot. I hate it so much I am dedicating an entire paragraph to it. You will notice this shot alot in the Transformers movies and music videos like one of Green Day's American Idiot videos. I swear it happens like every five freakin minutes in Transformers. What is the "glare" shot you ask? Its simple. Take a dramatic moment like two people falling in love on screen face to face. Behind them is the rising sun. Just as they kiss the sun beams just over one of the lover's shoulders filling the entire screen with brightness. That means all the detail of what is happening is washed away in bright light. You can tell Mr. Bay thinks he is clever in doing this. He does it over and over again. Sometimes its not as obvious but I still see it. Its maddening. Imagine being in a dark theater watching your new favorite movie but every five minutes the sixteen year old My Chemical Romance lover in front of you beams his flashlight in your eyes. Cool, huh? Its annoying at best. There is nothing "classy", "hip" or "sleek" about it. Its like a giant middle finger extending from the screen and poking you in the eye. "Thanks for watching my movie, you F@*K! "
I could go on and on about all the stupid stuff in this film. How did they keep Megatron frozen along time ago? Nothing back then could keep him so cold that he would remain frozen. They just happen to move Megatron to the cube. That's convenient for the story. Did that dam exist all the way back then? But anyway I haven't seen all of part two yet. I saw thirty minutes of it and Oh, Man it looks even worse. Its like they took all my complaints of the first one and multiplied them by ten. Can wait to see it.
As always love to all, especially you. I also hope that you got my Talking Heads joke that was the first paragraph of this essay.