Friday, June 29, 2007
THE Transformers review. From an AICN Bayformers Detractor.
Damn you Michael Bay. So i'm one of the known detractors of this movie(A dickwad according to Michael Bay). I will address all the issues brought up on AICN. It's a shame all my posts got deleted but i'm back.
Transformers has been the most controversial movie on AICN for a while, the threads are always huge, being near Aqu@fag like levels and not being incoherent rambling. Is this movie TINO? Is Michael Bay Damned? All will be addressed but first I want to say this. I always said that I was sure it was going to be a fun summer movie but I didn't just want that. I want Transformers. So is this Transformers or TINO(Transformers in Name only)? Yes and No. I also said that the Nostalgia crowd is the biggest demographic and some people(idiot transformers fans on the official movie site(someone called wishfulthinking) and tfw2005.com(cocksucker extraordinaire redsquadron) and on AICN too lambasted me for this, saying "get over it, it needs to move forward and isn't aimed at us, it's aimed at kids", well you were proven wrong. I went to a midday screening on a weekday and the theatre was half packed(which means people are interested and for an early screening on a weekday it's huge) and I look around, and not 1 child, everyone was in their 20's at least. I walk out and the line for the next session had 3 kids and then a bunch of adults. This is banking on the nostalgia factor but after seeing the movie, I think I may be wrong in the designs having THAT much of an impact, i'm sure the box office would be a little bigger but it won't take as much a hit, I don't see people being as angry about the flames or Megatron being a tribal tattoo.
This movie is Huge. It's probably the second biggest most expensive looking movie i've ever seen after Return of the King. It makes At World's End look like some student Film from UCLA. Michael '12 Action set pieces' Bay Denis knows how to use his cash, which makes my mind boggle at how Superman Returns cost 200 mil when this supposedly cost less, yet this seems as big as the LOTR films and doesn't come off as a Will and Grace episode. This also makes me think that unless there is a Transformers 2 with Devastator(unlikely now, explained later) and the Dinobots, or a Simarillion series of movies or an Infinite Crisis movie, I can't see any movie being bigger than this for along time, not even a JLA movie.
Is it a good fun summer ride movie? No, it's a pretty great fun summer ride movie. Totally shits on the other blockbusters out this year and last. I mean I thought it'd be cool and I was excited but I was surprised I had so much fun, that it was such an entertaining movie.
I've been waiting 18 years for this movie, Transformers is quite possibly the first thing I ever liked. Before Star Wars, before Superman. The coolest thing a child could ever have was what happened to me, when my dad came home and I ran down the stairs of our apartment block to meet him and he had bags which I thought were groceries but they were Transformers, he bought me bags, bags of transformers, it had a headmaster in it. Awesome. So Transformers means alot to me, and it's not just Nostalgic, because I have seen the cartoon and the animated movie and they are really enjoyable. Optimus Prime was my hero, he is the one that taught me about mortallity, when he died, I realized I could die. And along with Superman and Luke Skywalker, he was the first noble person I ever saw. A good guy.
Am I converted? Not really, like I said I knew it was going to be fun but I am frustrated at the wasted opportunities. I'll get to these soon.
The Bayisms are there, but not as frequent. STOP MOVING THE CAMERA IN NON ACTION SHOTS! If anything this feels like a mixture of a typical Bay movie, an 80's Spielberg movie, a mega blockbuster event movie and a Transformers movie. With a fair bit of comedy thrown in that actually works.
The thing with this movie and alot of fans, is that many of us know it will be at least an ok movie, but if you hit the right notes and it's a great movie I will not see it once, but multiple times, like Batman Begins which I watched 13 times. Even though it's not totally a Transformers movie or if to you it doesn't feel like Transformers. It's still a really fun movie. However that does not mean that it doesn't have it's problems, and sometimes they get overshadowed by a movie being real good, but the issues always brought up on AICN do stand out at least to me, but it doesn't really take away from the movie much. There are few perfect movies(the two towers, children of men, batman begins, the lives of others, empire and a new hope are perfect in my eyes) but cmon, the dog peeing on the robot? Bumblebee's golden shower?
So TINO? Bayformers? Yes and No. The action or BAYHEM is absolutely insane, they do move and look in action as Transformers. Out of all of them, Optimus is the closest one to the Optimus we all know, heroic, noble, a leader.
To all the people saying they won't see it(Industrykiller I believe). I think you should because it's a good movie, I mean I was entertained, frustrated at times but Entertained thoroughly. I mean i'm not sure everyone will see it multiple times but to not see it once would be foolish.
The CGI is incredible(though WETA is still better, their digital character rendering is still the best), it has already won next year's academy award. ILM has come such a long way, ROTS had alot of flaws in the CGI and the digital characters were badly rendered in some parts. The stuff they do here is amazing. Some of the craziest action sequences i've ever seen. The first time I got the sensation that this will be a big hit is in the scene where Bumblebee fights Barricade the cop car, the first big Transformer fight scene. After a bit of a scuffle Bumblebee drives off with the kids then Barricade transforms and chases them but in that shot when he transforms to chase them, people clapped and some people went 'wooo' because they knew it was going to be a big scene and it was just starting.
Thinking about the Bayhem now, I think watching it, many of you are not going to believe the action sequences, they really are impressive and I was really surprised that there is so much action. I didn't think it was possible without having to spend the GDP of a small country, then again ROTK proved me wrong, but really, the action is so constant in one part where you think "surely that must be it" because you think it wouldn't be possible budget wise at least, and then this insane air battle involving Starscream takes place and you think "how the fuck did they afford all this?".
Here's some little fanboy things. Jazz does a semi breakdance when he transforms. Optimus says the line which was won in a competition "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings" and surprisingly he also says his mega famous line from the animated movie and it's not "Till all are one". Also this was awesome, Optimus opens part of his chest and you see THE MATRIX! Yes Fanboy joy.
The first 2 shots when the movie starts after it's prologue are fine, the third, fourth and fifth shots are pure Michael Bay. That already bugged me. There are alot of Bayisms in the movie, but not as many as I thought, they do stand out when they are on, but at the same time you sort of get the sense that Bay even knows his own Bayisms that he's toned them down. Ie there are those slow mo shots of people moving but they aren't as frequent, but they still annoy me when they are on. But yes I will say it, the first action sequence is very impressive, it's quite incredible, and the fact so many shots are from far where you see Blackout and you can't see the full detail so he looks like a real Transformer, that part does feel like Transformers, that scene feels like Transformers has been brought to life.
Did I feel like a kid again? That kid who would rush home in first grade after school(Transformers was popular for a few years) running fast because his father was flirting with the teacher so I walked in 5 minutes late in an episode with BRUTICUS. A few times.... when Optimus makes his grand entrance, it's magical, then the rest of the autobots make their entrance it's awesome to watch because it feels like the old blockbusters.
Optimus is Optimus, for the most part, it's the Optimus we all grew up with put on screen, Cullen's voice is different, bassier, more \robotic, but he does act and sound like Optimus for the most part. He is a badass when he fights Bonecrusher. Don't really want to say much in his fight or lack of fight(from his side) with Megatron.
Shia Lebeouf was good, I mean he does the job, and he does it well, you can tell this kid's going to be a movie star, the charisma etc, I mean. whatever to me, i'm just saying from a general public point of view, this kid will be a movie star. He's funny and that's the main part of his character, he isn't very heroic, he just does things and takes things humorously all pining for the affection of Mikaela, the hottest girl in school and i'm actually surprised that the love story between them isn't as cheesy, they must have worked on it.
I thought Megan Fox was hot on TV, and I thought not so hot in print, but she's one of the hottest things i've ever seen in some parts of this movie(Erica Durance beats her though), and she surprised me because she's not a bad actress as Mikaela, I mean she isn't great, her character doesn't have anything to be great, it's a blockbuster of course, but she's not wooden, not sleepwalking through this role. Ie I didn't cringe. And she's hot.
Wasted Opportunities. First I have to say they don't take that much away from the movie, I mean I know some talkbackers are going to hate this movie regardless and some will see one thing they don't like and suddenly the whole movie is shit. Be reasonable, the good parts are good, the bad parts are annoying. Spider-man 3 was a wasted opportunity, it just bugs me(ha a pun) when people have a choice yet they do something else when there is no reason why it couldn't have been done the other way, there is nothing forcing it to compromise(ie Lucas couldn't do the battle of Coruscant in ROTJ because it just wasn't possible). I mean Venom was totally wasted. But the things in Transformers are minor.
The designs. - I hated them when they were unveiled, they aren't as bad onscreen as I thought, but at the same time, I don't see how the original designs wouldn't have worked. They didn't have to be the same, I don't know why people think bringing them to life would mean you'd get 8 cubes. No, i wanted them to be the way these ones were rendered but thicker, think of the dreamwave drawings but with lots of the big metal bits and lines and that would have been great. I say this because there is absolutely no reason why it wouldn't have worked. With these designs, they aren't horrible but it's frustrating because you know the others could have worked too(look at the sideswipe transformation vid aka the fake ILM footage). A few times I and others have said, you won't be able to tell what's going on. It's just more that i'm annoyed by the fact Bay and co did this just because they felt they can, there is just is no reason. I don't see how it's any more realistic. That realistic angle doesn't work, the argument doesn't stick. As long as they look real through lighting it can be real. The only good I see from these designs is that the few times you see them transform, the scrap metal look does look spectacular.
Mass shifting. - Ok the first issue addressed was Megatron couldn't be a gun because it's stupid(i'm ok with that but he could have been a badass cannon) and Soundwave can't be a boom box and then the All Spark cube mass shifts? What the fuck man? It goes from being the size of a small warehouse to Sam being able to carry it. So much for the mass shifting argument, they used the fucking thing.
Ratio of robots to humans. Human prominent story. - This was a big concern, that it was from the humans point of view and too much time would be devoted to the humans, in the first half, pretty much, but even though the script has it prominently human, the robots figure heavily in the second half and are in it alot more than the script suggests. So there is little to worry about. It's been evened out.
The script/Story. - Alot of people have read the script and many have said it's a shit script. It's not as bad as it read, the cheesy parts have for the most part been cut out, alot of other stuff has been toned down(the lake sequence where Sam is trying to pick up Mikaela). The biggest problem I had was the stuff with the government, it's not as prominent as it was in the script, it isn't frustrating, I hated hated those parts of the script, but they seem to have trimmed it down and with the fact the robots get more screen time than originally thought, it doesn't seem as bad. More than meets the eye is used once.
Flames on Optimus = nipples on an unnessasery. I don't get it, it serves no purpose. Bay himself kind of spat in the face of fans and said Optimus has flames because he wanted him to have flames. yes I wanted to punch him. It doesn't take away from Optimus visually, it's just the fact it's there, it's stupid. It's unnessasery and I can only think that either Bay loves Flames or he thinks more Toys are going to be sold or more tickets are going to be sold because a human will see it and go 'coooool'.
Lips on Optimus = This year's little miss why? He hardly ever has the mouthguard on and you barely see it anyway. That sucks. I hate that. I don't think there was one single shot where you just see him in his glory with the mouthguard up, 80% of the time you see the lips. Now the animation looks impressive and it does look cool, but it's just unnessasery, Why? This is what frustrates me, and what frustrated me in Spider-man 3, just dumb decisions when you have a good decision open to you. The other robots have lips, why not have Optimus just have the mouthguard on? Was it to convey emotion? If you still want the lips, then at least have it on half the time, it's not even that and then you barely see it. You don't see Prime in a single close up shot with the mouthguard on and have him say something, like the original cartoons or it's assuck like follow ups. That's a shame.
Megatron. - He looks like ass. He looked like ass on the designs, he looks like Ass on screen. When he fights Optimus at some parts it's cool and some parts it looks like you're in a laundry dryer with a crumpled car. He is brutal though, but he doesn't feel like Megatron, he is just this powerful bad guy, but he doesn't have any character and he definitely is MINO. Which sucks since Optimus was Optimus. He fires a cannon once or twice but you can't even tell. Bay and his team really fucked up on this, it's cool yeah but it could have been alot better. He should have looked more like Megatron and acted like Megatron, Devious Megalomaniac with a motherfucking badass arm cannon ON ALL THE TIME. The closest he gets to megatron is when he sees Prime and says "Prime" like he said in the cartoon, that's it. To the general public he'd be ok, but as a fan we all know he could have been Megatron and also look like Megatron instead of looking like he'd transform into a chandelier. Change for the better is always good, but the Megatron of the cartoon is classic and way cooler than this Megatron, add the brutality of this Megatron to the real Megatron and I would have been overjoyed. The thing is even with all this negativity, the action scenes involving him are still visually impressive to watch.
What was the point in getting Hugo Weaving? Why Bay? He doesn't sound anything like Hugo Weaving, only in about 3 words he sounds like him, Frank Welker should have been used because Megatron would have felt more like him with that sneering voice. Megatron's voice = This year's little miss fuck you.
Use of music. Bay seems so uncultured at times, doing things because they're cool when in fact they are cheesy, he seems like a very mainstream person, it's as if he's never seen an arthouse film or listened to music on an independant label. Using the musical theme of Oren Ishii from Kill Bill when she walks into the Sushi Restaurant, you know the one, well using that when Bumblebee shows his new do as the new Camaro. Overdone. But there are worse ones. I also noticed that there has been an attempt to imitate the inspiration/building two note motif theme from Batman Begins also known as Vespertillio. I love that theme and how it was used, it makes Batman seem so epic and feel important like something important was unraveling before your eyes. They do a similar theme in Heroes and they do one here too. It's okay, but it quickly gets overshadowed by typical Bay score and of course being a Bay film it also needs to be overscored.
There is a small right wing jingoistic line which the secretary of defense says about the soldiers(something like 'they sure as hell don't like to lose') in Hoover damn. Lame. And another Line about bringing them home cut with Bay shots of the soldiers running. Lame.
Bumblebee's golden shower. People laughed. I thought it was stupid.
The dog peeing on Ironhide. People Laughed. I thought it was forced and stupid.
The Bumblebee radio thing. it's tolerable and isn't overdone, what I hated is when Bumblebee finally speaks, he sounds ridiculous. Some high class British guy. I don't get it, what was wrong with Dan Gilvezan's vulnerable voice for Bumblebee? Bumblebee is a great character though, he is Sam’s guardian and tougher than the G1 version but still has that vulnerability and compassion.
Ratchet. Why does he have a voice like a creepy English butler? He is nothing like the Ratchet we all knew, RINO.
Ironhide is a cowboy but he doesn't feel that much like the badass he was, the one that was itching to get a fight, he is the weapons expert and wants to shoot things but the voice just doesn't fit. He’s actually pretty good, I just wish he was a lot tougher. I hope if they use Cliffjumper they don't do the same to my favourite Autobot Hardass that isn't Grimlock.
Jazz is a modern version of the old jazz, so what does that mean? Gangsta. Luckily it's not overdone. I don't see the point in making Jazz have a visor if you don't even see it, I only knew he had one because of the pictures.
The tank was called Devastator in the script and was known as a temp name and then was officially called Brawl, then imagine my surprise when he rocks up and in subtitles says "Devastator here". That sucks. How the fuck are you going to have the most badass decepticon on screen and call him by his badass name in a sequel, so much for the constructicons and calling him Devastator.
Frenzy is a suckass robot. Who the fuck designed that robot? The way he is used is awesome however, but why couldn't he look more like Rumble, he could have done the same things but not looked like some knife set.
The decepticons. They are hardasses, that they are, they aren't as malicious and devious as in the cartoon but they are brutal, the problem is they aren't as devious since they hardly have any screen time, no character, no personality AT ALL, that's fine for the secondary characters that are just there to be pieces for action scenes(Devastator, Bonecrusher), but for STARSCREAM! BLASPHEMY! He shows up near the end(WHAT!!!) and he does have this incredibly awesome flight action sequence, but he looks nothing like Starscream, he acts nothing like Starscream because he only has 1 fucking line. He is brutal though, but all of them are, they are just hardasses and we know they are bad, we are told that and they go to fight the autobots and waste humans but god I hate that Starscream is just another robot with a name that everyone knows(you can tell, in my screening people went 'ooohh' when they show the jet and Starscream says in subtitles 'this is Starscream'). I mean Bay knows Starscream is one of the Iconic characters so why waste him in a character sense, give him some lines dammit. He's the most badass decepticon after Megatron and he's given his screen time action wise and we know he is something more than the other decepticons but say something! He might as well have been that Leader 1 from Go Bots. Megatron does say "you have failed me yet again Starscream" but that's not enough. And his voice is just stupid. SINO GOTTA EAT. Awesome SINO though. The air battle he has is amazing, best sequence of the year.
The autobots however are awesome in some ways, and lame in others, lame because they aren't much like the characters we know them as(exception being Optimus) but they do things like in the final battle where they realize it's Starscream who is the jet, Ironhide screams "it's Starscream" but no one knows what that means, they also work as a team, help each other out, act as soldiers(guarding Sam). They also have great weapons and Bay has definitely used his imagination in the mega action sequences. The Autobots have great interaction and are real characters, it’s just the characters themselves(only a few) should have been fleshed out more(Jazz) or been more like G1(Ratchet and Ironhide) because they were in fact better characters.
Good lord I have a headache. The crazy transformations and direction. An Evangelion movie is waiting around the corner.
I'm laughing at the mega talkback on that crappy Linkin Park theme, don't worry, it's nowhere to be heard at all.
Judging by the crowd(those with the pockets), the interest, the positive reaction and the positive reviews, this movie is looking to be Huge and I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up as one of the biggest hits of the year, probably second to Spiderman.
Parts of this movie were TOTAL FUCKING DESTRUCTION. And some parts were ASS or Ganymede as I like to call it, but the good outweighs the bad.
My views haven't really changed but I really enjoyed it and might watch it a few more times.
As everyone else is saying...BRING ON THE DARK KNIGHT....Cunce(i've toned down on the vulgarities so the review can get posted)