guppy's film reviews

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Transformers: The Movie

Playing catch-up! Also reviewed this week: Knocked Up, The Simpsons Movie and Stardust

Director: Michael Bay
Notable Actors: John Turturro
Score: C-
Summary: Trite and tired in virtually every way, but that was to be expected, really; way too long. Does feature lots of things blowing up.

A lot of us have been awaiting the Transformers movie. We saw the show when we were kids and we have a lot of nostalgia invested. The good news is that Transformers does a lot of what the show did. The bad news is that the show doesn't hold up very well either now that we're grown up.

If you slept through the '80s, or weren't born yet, Transformers are big robots. That, uh, turn into other things, mostly cars. There are two main factions: the Autobots (the good guys) and the Decepticons (the bad guys), who are at war with each other. Transformers deals with their first contact with humans.

To understand the film's problems, consider the source. The Transformers television series is based on a line of toys. I want to emphasize that -- the toys are not spinoff merchandise from the show. The toys were the genesis of the property.

If you were expecting to see a lot of things blow up, and not much else, well, congratulations. You'll like Transformers. The rest of us will be dissatisfied with the hackneyed plot, unlikeable characters and inane take on Transformer technology.

The plot I can almost forgive. No one really expected this movie to have any substance. But for some reason, the filmmakers opted to write truly terrible dialogue, especially for the Transformers themselves. No one wants to hear Optimus Prime say things like "my bad." It's shameless pandering that should not be rewarded. Big fans of the series will, however, mostly be pleased with the inclusion of some of the most popular Transformers, including Bumblebee and Optimus Prime.

The movie's pacing is another major source of problems. The first action scene was a long time coming, and it was the first enjoyable part of the film. While that scene was excellent, viewers should not be subjected to the tripe presented up until that point in order to reach it. Later action scenes went on far too long, such that I was bored even with things blowing up all over the screen. The film drags overall as well.

It pains me to say that Transformers mostly reaches the goals it was aiming for. Unfortunately, those goals weren't worth aiming for.


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