Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Autobots: Droll Out

So I had to see Transformers. It's like they dared me to. Hollywood has become very enamored with the idea that if you throw enough money at it, anything is possible on film. Transformers has all the oohs and aahs of CG masturbation, but it lacks one other minor detail. A good story.

The raping of childhood nostalgia aside, Transformers tries to be too many things in its goal to be everything. It's a hardcore war movie. It's a tech thriller. It's a touching, coming-of-age drama about a boy and his car. It's a wacky teen comedy about a boy and his car. It's a summer blockbuster with giant robots beating the living fuck out of each other for 40 minutes straight.

It's exhausting. And the individual parts aren't all bad. The future war stuff was great, until it shifted gears into the tech thriller. The funny parts are funny, then the car chase starts and shit blows up. In typical Michael Bay fashion no shot lasts more than three seconds, and that quickly leads to a headache. Then the cycle repeats, and two hours in I'm begging for this thing to be over because I can't take another pop culture dig that sets up a jet crashing into a building.

The Transformers themselves... -sigh-. I mean, I'm all for giant robots running amok and causing copious amounts of property damage. This is present in spades, and the action sequences are certifiably insane. But man, I just want Optimus Prime to look like Optimus Fucking Prime. Eh, at least he sounded like Optimus. Every other "cast" robot is unrecognizable, and all the publicity tripe about these designs needing to look like they function in real life is thrown out the window as soon as one of them transforms. The toys are more believable-- I mean, the toys work, yeah? The CG robots are cool, yeah, transforming is cool. But the personality was not there for me. Jazz, Ratchet, Bumblebee, Starscream, considering the source material was so broad I'm baffled at how they failed to bring any of it into a mega-million dollar blockbuster that hinges on the believability of sentient, talking robots.

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