Transformers review by Rosie


Wow. That … was … awesome! I actually think I may still be a little bit in shock, but I’m just too giddy to rest. I mean, obviously it sucked, but it sucked so absolutely perfectly that it was breathtaking. Honestly, I never thought I’d live to see anything like this. This was Sandy Koufax’s perfect game. It was the perennially annoying ’72 Dolphins perfect season. It was Pet Sounds and The White Album put together. This was, in fact, the perfect height of the big-budget, big-studio, corporate Hollywood summer mega-movie. As backhanded a compliment as that may sound, you really do have to see it sometime just to appreciate the significance of it. This movie did not just have a lot of lazy one-dimensional characters, recycled plot points, hacky dialogue, contrived settings, loud explosions and seizure-inducing, flashy effects – it had ALL of them. I mean it, every one of them ever created in movie history! Anyone who thinks the writing or production of this movie was just another lazy Hollywood blockbuster just wasn’t paying attention. This movie was an homage to lazy Hollywood blockbusters. In the entire two and a half hours of this film, there was not a single, solitary second of original content. You don’t think someone absolutely had to go out of their way to fit all those pieces together?

There’s no way I can even begin to do this Mona Lisa of mega-movies justice, but I’ll try my best. Within just the first few minutes of the film, it became obvious that a few of the characters were already looking pretty formulaic. So, as usual, I grabbed a piece of paper and just started jotting down a few notes about the characters to keep track of anything I thought might be worth mentioning later. But then, not as usual, before I could even put my pen down another one came. Then another. Then another. Before I knew it, one page became two, two became four, and they just kept coming. By my fourth page of notes, dedicated only to listing the cliché characters in every scene, I had to just pause and make note that they were coming too fast for me to keep up with. Of the ones I did catch, I swear: if you had just given me the list and tried to tell me they were all from the same movie, I would have kept stabbing you in the mouth with a garden shovel until my arm fell off just to stop you from spreading your vicious, vicious lies. But, boy would my face have been red! Of the ones I could catch, this movie included:

  • The small, perfectly multiracially and multiregionally balanced army squad talking about the stereotypically appropriate things that they can’t wait to do when they get home. My personal favorite was red-haired, Irish Boston guy, waxing wistfully about “Satahdays at Fenway. A cold beeh on a hawt day? Pehfect day.” Such a nice cross-section of likable American boys (I sure hope they’re not about to get ambushed …)

  • The white, ridiculously good-looking, leader of the squad, who for some reason is allowed to wear perfectly fitting t-shirts instead of any kind of uniform and who just wants to get home to his pretty young wife and brand new baby girl (well, if they do get ambushed, at least I hope he lives …)

  • Said pretty young wife and brand new baby girl, who somehow get a chance to talk to their soldier-man by phone just before all hell breaks loose, and spend the rest of the time breathlessly watching the news unfold on TV from home, just praying that our hero is alright.

  • The average, socially awkward/secretly-cool-in-his-own-way-if-someone-would-just-get-to-know-him high school kid that everyone can relate to. In between dodging the arrogant jocks and dealing with his embarrassing parents, he’s just trying to work up the courage to talk to the hottest girl in school, who he’s had a crush on for years. (Oh and, he doesn’t know it yet, but at some point it will be up to him to save the world. And he will find strength he never knew he had.)

  • Average kid’s embarrassingly ordinary parents, always working on the yard or shopping when they’re apart and bickering loudly about the silliest of things when they’re together. Oh man, I can sure relate to that!

  • The average kid’s one best friend, who is just as fun, good-looking, smart and crazy as anyone else in the school, but for some reason is generally considered even less popular than average kid. Still, that doesn’t stop him from getting them into some CRAZY antics!

  • The unbelievably, super hot, most popular girl in school, who is dating the king of the jocks but is secretly growing dissatisfied with his immature antics and starts to see something interesting about the aforementioned average kid as she watches him fumble through minor confrontations and show glimpses of his attractive intelligence. But this one is a two-fer! Not only is she the superhot popular girl who is also attainable, she is the hot girl who secretly likes to pull her hair back and get her hands dirty working on cars, dressing even hotter when she does, and otherwise generally being more than anyone could hope for! (Not to mention she has serious daddy issues … scoreboard!)

  • The hyper-perfect looking stud QB jock who is dating the hot girl but doesn’t know how to treat her right, and who goes out of his way to pick on unsuspecting nerds who aren’t bothering anyone. He does this by loudly spouting off insults which are worded just right to leave himself open to a devastatingly clever comeback, softly delivered by his obviously smarter victim, and then devolving into furiously frustrated, angry threats until someone intervenes and he backs off but reminds the nerd that he got lucky this time but this ain’t over yet.

  • Jon Voight, in a key supporting role that requires less than three minutes of total, aggregate screen time but consists of several dramatically delivered one-liners. Here he takes the familiar form of the all-business, government department head who is forced to turn to a rag-tag group of civilians for a top-secret mission. He doesn’t like the idea one darn bit, but there’s just no other choice. Not only is this role a staple of stale characters, but Jon Voight in this role is in the hackneyed hall of fame. I propose that from now on we just call this character “the Jon Voight guy”. Motion seconded? Those in favor say ‘aye’? ‘Nay’? The ‘ayes’ have it, this character shall be henceforth recognized as “the Jon Voight guy”.

  • The ragtag group of civilians turned to, this time in young, techie form. The central characters of this group of brilliant, young super-techies includes the slightly overweight, bearded guy; the long-haired, scruffy extra-skinny guy; the non-descript-Asian guy; and the supermodel-hot, European blonde computer whiz who dresses down and prefers to hang out with them.

  • The sassy, young, comic-relief black guy who lives at home with his mama, where they yell loud and mildly clever insults back and forth at each other all day in a multiculturally acceptable standard of outrageous humor. In another two-fer, this is the same sassy, young black guy who loses his cool at the first sign of pressure and goes hilariously crazy at the police station, and just keeps making up the craziest excuses to get out of trouble. Each one is crazier than the last! Where does he come up with that stuff? Those black guys are hilarious – they’re not afraid to say it!

  • The outsourced, Indian customer service phone operator who can’t just go off the script in front of him and talk to you like a person. Like his name is really “Peter”, yeah right! But don’t they always try to say stuff like that? I thought I was the only one who noticed! Freaking hilarious, man.

  • The black-suited government agents driving around in caravans of shiny, black Lincoln Towncars and Chevy Suburbans, covering up things the government doesn’t want you to know about with brutally cold efficiency. And …

  • Their borderline unstable, egomaniacal lead officer who takes his job and power so seriously that he can’t see the human side of things. You know what would be really satisfying? To see this guy finally get his comeuppance.

    And that’s just where I gave up! There were plenty more that I couldn’t keep up with that I just had to appreciate in the moment and let slide. You remember that scene in The Perfect Storm, when the weatherman (Christopher McDonald) was watching the monitors and just starting to realize what he was seeing? At first he couldn’t believe it, but he kept double-checking and slowly he started to realize that this, the perfect storm, was really coming together right before his eyes? That is exactly what I was like watching this movie. Not only was every character a perfect cliché, but every single scene and line of dialogue was too. I won’t go into as much detail, but some of my favorite played-out scenes in this movie included: (1) average kid’s unbelievably embarrassing mishap in a public place, right in front of the hottest girl in school, who he has a crush on and who just happened to be there (Can you imagine? I would totally just die.), (2) the extended car chase and fight scene which goes on for several miles under an extended highway overpass, through the old emptied out, half-pipe shaped aqueduct, and into an abandoned warehouse, (3) the skyscraper roof-top chase that is cut off by a helicopter dramatically rising straight up from behind the final edge of the roof, (4) the military control room full of gigantic screens with maps of the world and faceless, pressed-shirt, mid-level officers buzzing around to answer blinking hotlines and deliver important printouts, and (5) the swarm of faceless, government soldiers overpowering the monster with their weapons, while average kid tries to scream for them to stop, because that monster is his friend. He’s not trying to hurt you! He wouldn’t hurt anyone! Stop it, you’re killing him! Whhhhyyyyyyyyyyyy!

    God damn it, this terrible movie was good. I could go on forever listing the stereotypical, hackneyed characters, scenes, and plot points and still not catch it all. And I haven’t even touched on the dialogue yet. Like when average kid and hot girl are faced with the choice for the first time to trust the alien robot muscle car trying to help them, and hot girl is nervous but average kid tells her (I swear), “Fifty years from now, when you’re looking back on your life, don’t you want to say you had the guts to get in that car?” Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, c’est magnifique! I don’t even feel worthy to review this movie. It should only be appreciated by trained art critics who can illuminate the nuances of its deeply interwoven patterns of crappiness.

    Even the closing credits were a perfectly laid out in the classical mindless summer blockbuster style. Three mildly amusing, non-sequiter scenes spaced out just right to keep the audience in place and watching the screen through the major early credits, slammed shut and followed out by a kick-ass new single from some band I’ve never heard of, who were desperate enough for a break to sign off all royalty rights to the studio, that I’m totally gonna go right now to download and set to my MySpace page.

    You’ll notice I didn’t mention a single actor by name or specific plot point of this movie at all during this review, which is the whole point – it’s all irrelevant. The only person worth mentioning is Michael Bay, the director who has established himself as an auteur of this genre, and who may have finally raised the bar beyond his own reach. With an unparalleled gift for recycling unoriginal images and passing them off as valuable art, Bay is truly the Andy Warhol of our generation, and Transformers is his Cambell’s Soup Cans.

    I’m not even a little bit kidding when I say that there should be entire college film school classes dedicated to dissecting this movie. My only regret is not having seen this in the theatre, so I could have paid more for the privilege. Michael Bay is the Michelangelo of our Wal-mart culture, America, appreciate him while he is here. This is what it was like to see Babe Ruth in his prime, to hear Mozart live, do not take it for granted. Author! Author!

    5 out of 10 Jackasses
    blog comments powered by Disqus