Posted by: Paul | September 20, 2010

Really Bad Movies – An Occasional Series

Number 1. Transformers.

I loved the Transformers toys and cartoon as a child. I even went to the length of badgering my Mum into taking my brother and I to the cinema to see the original “Transformers: The Movie” (she fell asleep). But having just watched the Michael Bay version, those golden memories are tarnished as Transformers has to be the worst film I’ve seen in a long time.

I almost never give up on films once I start watching them. In for a penny and all that. But this is a whole different kind of bad – it actually made me angry – enough to want to watch the whole thing just to grind my teeth in frustration at the ridiculous mess.

Michael Bay is clearly more at ease directing 40 foot tall imaginary robots than real people. Despite the obviously impressive nature of the VFX – the solidity, normally my principle problem with CGI, is actually really quite something – he has somehow contrived to make an action movie incredibly boring. How is that even possible? I mean, it’s 40 foot tall robots, for goodness sake?

I think the biggest issue for me is the fact that it’s been put through the Hollywood machine has ripped all the charm from the original series. Never much more than a vehicle to sell plastic, umm, vehicles, they have taken something which was already incredibly thin in story terms and stretched it to a two and a half hour movie, in order to sell more modern toys by the transforming truckload. Its this naked profiteering and the none-more-blatant product placement for brands like Chevrolet and GM which stuck in my throat. That and the exploitation of a teenage girl called Megan Fox – who to my eyes isn’t the embodiment of the paradigm of female beauty. To me, she just looks like Cat from Eastenders.

And why so long? For me and my judicious editing eye, they could have lost the whole first half hour in the desert at least. That had no bearing on the story at all, other than to give you some blokes with guns to root for at the end. By then I wanted them to turn the guns on themselves and just end the whole sorry experience.

You’d be excused for wondering why I watched it at all. Well, I do like a good ‘Saturday night popcorn movie’, but this comes nowhere close to good. The Spiderman movies, those are fun. Watchmen did an admirable job, with much more difficult and involved material. But Transformers, for me, is far less than meets the eye.


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