How could Hollywood mess this "sure thing" up? What a shameful disaster!1/10
This deafeningly loud, obnoxious, usually stagnant and glorified epic disaster of a film was presented with too many opportunities to be one of the all-time greatest summer flicks ever. However, despite the advancements in today's special effects, it being inspired from the highly popular 1980's Hasbro toys and cartoon, with Steven Spielberg overseeing the production as an Executive producer, Michael Bay and his writers were still guilty of making this a "steaming pile." I can effortlessly breakdown at every level why this film didn't work for me.
The story was about a teenager name Sam (Shia LaBeouf) who purchases a car that happens to be a robot in disguise from another world. Sam is then caught in the middle of an ancient battle between two groups of these alien robots, the heroic Autobots and the Evil Decepticons. Both are seeking a mysterious cube known as the "Allspark" that contains their "life source." This central plot intertwines with the story of a special ops team being attacked by one of the Decepticons in the beginning, the pentagon enlisting teams of computer hackers to decode a signal they detected that ultimately came from the Decepticons and a hokey love story between Sam and Mikaela, the gorgeous bombshell in his class.
As intriguing as all of this may sound, besides the many battle scenes, car chases, attempts on Sam's life and Decepticon attacks, nothing happens to move the story along. Whatever layers of stories that were suppose to be happening beneath the unimpressive action sequences were uneventful and slow. So, all you're left with is the action, which by the end was boring and tedious to watch.
The characters were flat and moronic. The humans were one-note, soulless caricatures. They were also more than capable of damaging the robots, which took away from the extraordinary antagonism the original cartoon presented for our human heroes. The humans were helpless against the Decepticons and this made the Autobots necessary. In this absurd film, the humans didn't really need the Autobots to take out the Decepticons.
And whatever happened to characters like Jorge "Fig" Figueroa and Maggie? They sort or left this film halfway to the end to join the film playing in the theater next door.
Also, part of the cartoon's success was the personalities of the Transformers. They were emotional beings that were capable of treacherous, loyal, courageous, cowardice, morose and optimistic behavior. They weren't just giant piles of junk destroying an American metropolis. Whatever happened to the ongoing struggle for power over the Decepticons between Starscream and Megatron? This would've added some real complexity to this paper-thin story. Instead, Bay and the writers settled for hinting at it with a laughable one-liner from Megatron that rang falser than the action. Wasn't Bumblebee the kindest, frailest of them all? He was essential for his undying compassion for the humans in the cartoons. Not in this film, where he obviously fought in many battles and, when annoyed, can urinate on a human being at any given time. Now going from the true character to the characterizations of the robots, the looks of the original were more engaging and attractive to the eye. In this film, they looked like metal scraps of junk.
Then the films auteur had to take it there by making Jazz the Transformer with the Black-American soul, screaming, "What up, b****es?" Ironically, he was the only Autobot that easily gets killed as well. Now, a lesser minded person would pull the race card for this. I would just blame it on lazy, unimaginative, sloppy, hack writing and directing. In the end, I couldn't care less about any of the characters, human or Transformer.
The original Transformers could be chastised for wooden dialogue. However, when the characters weren't trying to be funny in this film, the dialogue was ten times worse than that of the cheesy words spoken in the cartoon. It was absolutely ridiculous, with zero subtext. The quality of the dialogue was lessoned in scenes where exposition was inappropriately forced in, like the ineptly written scene when Agent Simmons (John Turturro) was questioning Sam and Mikael in the backseat of the SUV, revealing Mikaelas' weak back story. And how many times did Optimus Prime have to tell us his name? At one point, I thought he was forgetting the many times he said his name previously. Besides, the whole introducing-yourself-thing from the Transformers, especially the Decepticons, was extra cheddar cheesy to me: "I am Megatron!" Yeah, and?! The monologues underscored by the sappy music could've gotten the collective "heave-hove" from this film as well.
The special effects were cool but could've been better. Most of the time, the Transformers looked animated instead of real in my opinion. And the confusing, unorthodox way they transformed, not to mention detailing that made them look like piles of scrap metal, revealed most of the flaws in the cartoon like computer generated images. As a director, I wouldn't be satisfied with the end result.
The most entertaining thing about sitting through a screening of this film was the hordes of people that were going ballistic over it. They laughed at anything and applauded for everything. From Bumblebee shattering all the glass in and around the car dealership to the Autobots skidding in unison on a U-Turn, these people thought every little thing deserved a standing ovation. Okay, maybe they were not standing. But it was all so laughable to me.
In my opinion, Bay, Spielberg and the writers massacred what could've been one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made. The only thing amazing about this experience was my girl sleeping through most of it with me nodding off right along side her. Bay has proved himself to be one of the worst, overpaid film directors in the history of Hollywood.