True to the original (Transformers)

The other day I went to the dentist and then saw the Transformers movie. I didn’t expect to be writing this, but the Transformers movie was more painful…


Now I should explain that the trip to the dentist went well (no cavities or other problems, yay!) and was completely painless. I should also note that the movie wasn’t completely bad, it just had painfully bad moments. I’ll try not to spoil it for anyone who has yet to see it, but I’d like to make a few observations that don’t give away the (thin) plot.

It seems that every “blockbuster” to come out recently breaks new ground!… in advertising and product placement. After being subject to 30 minutes of pre-movie advertisements, I was battered with advertising for another couple of hours during the movie. Aside from the obvious toy and car shilling, glowing portrayals of Ebay and the American Army were also worked into the storyline.

It didn’t stop there, every few minutes some other company or product was brought into the limelight: Nokia, Taco Bell, Mountain Dew, Xbox 360, and a while host of other companies. It was worse than Tom Hanks’ Cast Away (the whole point of which appeared to be for him to sell you Wilson sports gears via FedEx). Seriously, why did I have to pay for a ticket? Did this movie cost anything to make?

Another thing that irritated me about the film was how incredibly cheesy it was. Ham acting aside, the worst offender was Soundwave Frenzy, who was made to “talk” via infantile noises and moved with incredibly hammy mannerisms. The movie was cheesy to the point where it just didn’t make sense (eg. calling robots from outer-space by projecting an Autobot logo onto some clouds… are they Batman?), and felt very much like a Saturday morning kids movie.

Onto more objective factors. I didn’t like the characters at all. They were all very one-dimensional glamorisations of what the producers probably expect members of the target audience want to be. The main character is a whiny middle class boy who fawns over this hot girl he doesn’t really know, but hates how she goes for hot guys who she doesn’t know (huh?). The Transformers themselves have no real personality and few interactions; As a result, they feel more like background scenery than foreground characters.

If there is one thing that saves Transformers, it’s that transforming robots are incredibly cool. Even if you make then look animalistic and give Optimus Prime a mouth (ack!). Anyhow, these considerations bring me to my conclusion…

Conclusion: The new Transformers movie is incredibly true the original: It was devised to sell crap, it’s made for kids, and it doesn’t really make any sense. That said, it’s pretty cool at times… but it could have been cooler.