Friday, December 07, 2007

TRANSFORMERS

I was already grown up when the toys hit the store, so to me, Tranformers were always something for children that was overly marketed. The fact that they made an animated TV show out of it on Saturday mornings was the last straw in pretending that there was a difference between children's' television programming and free advertising.

So when I heard they were making a feature film out of it, I had no desire to see it, particularly when I heard that Michael Bay was the director. Clearly they were relying on the grown-up children's nostalgia factor, while at the same time trying to market the toys to a new generation. Hollywood cynicism at its finest.

However, at the Hollywood Bowl this summer they showed a scene with live orchestra playing the score, and it didn't look like it sucked out loud. And even Vanilla Snow said it wasn't as bad as he expected, so I figured I'd watch the DVD.

It sucked out loud.

The problem is, the scene they showed at the Hollywood Bowl seemed like the opening of the movie. Optimus Prime introduces himself to our hero, played by Shia LeBeouf. Turns out, that scene is 70 minutes into the movie. The preceding hour could have easily been collapsed into about ten minutes. The movie is almost 2 1/2 hours long, and overstays its welcome a long long time.

It has all the troubles of a Hollywood blockbuster; weak script, terrible acting, over-reliance on visual FX, unbelievable plot points, 25 year-olds playing teenagers.

Plus, they make no attempt to keep the Transformers real. You can't have something the size of a car one minute and the size of a four story building ten seconds later. There's no regard for the laws of physics. This is the type of problem that wouldn't be an issue if the script were strong enough. I'd suspend disbelief.

At one point a character says "This is worse than Armageddon!" referring to Bay's film. That would be hard to be true, but it may be.

Nonetheless, the movie made a ton of money and will sell a lot of toys.
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