Jul 07

Transformers: Dogging In Disguise

Do You See + FT9 comments • 1,166 views

I am loathe to say too much about Transformers Movie, as I know some very good friends who want to see it untarnished of my smart-arsed wisecrackery. And lets be fair, the film is full of its own smart-arsed wisecrackery. Just let it be said that its best when considered as a teen-action-comedy, and less great at giant robots hitting each other. For shame Michael Bay. Indeed it seems that Bay is loathe to show his giant robot fight in anything but whip pan shaky cam for fear it might look a bit like men in robot suits fighting: like in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. To which I say, “Oi Bay* – that is still awesome on a big screen you ninny”.

But luckily the film has a pretty smart script (which happily accepts and tries not to overly explain the ludicrousness of the concept) and is full of performers you really want to root for (and Jon Voight). Shia LaBeouf in particular does witty, nerdy, vulnerable and heroic in various turns and is buffeted by realistically hilarious parents. Not to mention great one liners from Optimus Prime. However the most ludicrous sequence in the entire film is the very last scene. I cannot explain too much for fear of spoiling it to others. Suffice it to say that its bad enough that you know the car the kid is making out in is sentient. The pull back reveal to show that all the other vehicles (and an untransformed Optimus Prime) is watching too marks these Transformers out as nothing more than the Stan Collimore’s of robotdom. Sick I tell you.

*Someone shouting “Oi Bay” may have suggested the major product placement of a particular online auction site in the film


  1. 1
    jeff w on 23 Jul 2007 #

    I thought it wildly uneven in tone. The basic model is Independence Day: the human angle to alien invasion; everyday ‘merkin folks caught up in Big Events, battling alongside their politicians and a few members of the armed forces. Only with more kick-ass hardware. But then Bay throws in American Pie and [insert name of Keenan Ivory Wayans comedy here] references… And then when the Autobots have a non-fighting moment, we’re in Toy Story territory.

    I still enjoyed it though.

  2. 2
    Pete Baran on 23 Jul 2007 #

    It isn’t a million miles away from Small Soldier, except the soldiers in this case aren’t small. But luckily for Bay the guys in casting did a bang up job. Perhaps Turturro’s gurning turn is a touch too far, but what could have been po-faced nonsense is actually quite good fun.

    Admittedly the non-sequiters are the best bits. “We need to get the all spark safe – Lets go to the nearest city then” = Michael Bay wants to blow up a city. But I guess the uneven tone eventually works to its advantage. Independence Day is a good comparison (though it never gets as dark as that).

    What it missed was a “Transformers” rap at the end using the old theme tune, the transformers noise and explaining the plot like all good movies have.

  3. 3
    stevem on 23 Jul 2007 #

    As I said elsewhere I’m not sure what to make of the decision to stage so much action at an enormous dam only for the dam to NOT blow up.

    It’ll be fun watching the fight scenes via DVD pause/jog-frame at least.

    Prime and co. trying to hide from Sam’s parents = ALL IS FORGIVEN

  4. 4
    Pete on 24 Jul 2007 #

    Yes, it is odd how the best bits are ridiculous comedy set-ups but that whole sequence at Sam’s parents house had the audience in stitches.

    I had not thought about the Hoover Dam point but you are absolutely right!

  5. 5
    steve m on 24 Jul 2007 #

    quite glad there was no ‘President addresses the world, shakes hands with Prime’ type stuff – tho it was weird to have no President involvement at all beyond “can you rustle me up some ding dongs?” or whatever it was.

    there just wasn’t enough robot really – but this means there’s good room for improvement in the sequel.

  6. 6
    Pete on 24 Jul 2007 #

    What sequel. The ending closed down all possible sequence that I could think of. No loose ends there at all.

    (I reckon they won’t be able to afford Mr LaBeouf for the sequel though.)

  7. 7
    stevem on 24 Jul 2007 #

    LeBeouf has already signed to do two more apparently.

  8. 8
    My name is Kenny on 30 Jul 2007 #

    *the film has a pretty smart script*

    You have got to be fucking joking. You can’t be serious. You cannot possibly be serious. You did not write that sentence in seriousness. This is not your honest opinion.

    I feel legitimate despair at that sentence.

  9. 9
    Pete on 31 Jul 2007 #

    Yes I did write that sentence in all seriousness. It does have a smart script. I am not saying that any of the characters are smart, any of the plot or interactions make any particular sense. And I think if they did (ie if the script were smarter) it would go further to highlight how stupid the concept is. The film is fundamentally bad when it gets into the action sequences, ie the bits which aren’t heavily scripted and left to Bay to fuck up. The (for want of a better analogy) “American Pie” sequences I think were sharply scripted to appeal at the audience they were after.

    Put it like this: Transformers as a property is old and held little for a current teenager. The direction is pretty poor and the action sequences leave a lot to be desired. Yes giant robots are cool, but the art direction means that these robots are a bit lacklustre to look at. The marketing has been pretty lacklustre. Something must be right about the film, and something made me feel good when I left the cinema. Main leads and script is all that’s left.

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