july 4, 2007

I caught a showing of Transformers with Vito yesterday. I have to say: I hate you Michael Bay. Whatever this "version" of Transformers you put together is not Transformers at all. Optimus Prime with lips and flames? WTF man? All you Michael Bay fanboys: Go away, don't comment, if you comment, it will be deleted.

Instead of me doing a rewrite of what is wrong about Michael Bay, let me quote from my "The Island" review, since it all still holds true for Transformers -- then I'll go into some Transformers details.

I had the same complaints in my Bad Boys II review also. Bay has not changed a bit and he has taken all of his bad habits and infused them into Transformers. In Transformers, he also inserts his seemingly unending fetish of the US Military. Transformers is nothing but a two hour and twenty minute commercial for: Bay has also run out original imagery ideas. There were three things that stuck out in Transformers for me. The guy running silhouetted against a bright foreground and frantically waving a flare. The Rock anyone? The two young heroes of the film, girl laying on top of boy, on a hill, silhouetted against a golden sunset and kissing. Armageddon anyone? Then the standard Bay crap. Two helicopters flying into frame then peeling off. This is Bay's version of John Woo's doves.

The story for Transformers was not terrible, considering that it is a summer flick. It does become unnecessarily convoluted and the opening hour of the film is terribly slow -- the only saving grace for the opening hour is the charisma of the lead, Shia LeBeouf.

The last 45-minutes or so of the movie is the typical Michael Bay action sequence. It features big robots battling in a city. It features gorgeous special effects. It features loud explosions. And it is completely devoid of excitement! I was bored during the last 45 minutes of the film. Why? More is not more. Michael Bay has not learned that. Just because you shove more explosions into a sequence, doesn't mean that it will increase the excitement or tension. Just because you squeeze in a few more special effects shots in, doesn't mean that it will make the moment more magical. And, on top of that, it does not help that the actual Transformers were not fleshed out.

The movie should have been named "Boy, Girl and His Robot Friends". Because naming it "Transformers" is a huge misrepresentation. The Transformer robots are there only to do battle, not to be the center or heart of the movie. How better than to give an example of how badly under-developed the Transformers are. In one sequence, a Decepticon rips an Autobot in half. Did I care that an Autobot was ripped in half? Nope, didn't even know who it was. Did I despise the Decepticon that did it? Nope, didn't even know who it was. And that shows the shallowness of Michael Bay and the writer of Transformers. They only used Transformers for the super-glossy action sequences, not as characters. Therefore, the audience really does not develop any emotional attachment to the robots. And when there is no emotional attachment from the audience, there is not thrill to the action because anyone could be ripped in two and the audience would not care.

Live Free or Die Hard did a wonderful job with getting us into the action and getting us to care for the characters. And that is why Live Free or Die Hard generated so much excitement, tension, and thrill.

It is not likely my review will deter people from going to see Transformers. And I am willing to guess that Transformers will rake in a lot of money -- which in turn will give Bay even more credibility in Hollywood. That is very unfortunate because Michael Bay is still what he started off being: A director of commercials. He can make things look great, but other than that he is all superficial. There is no depth to his direction and no depth to the films he makes. Yes, you can argue that this is fine for summer flicks, but really, is it? When something like Live Free or Die Hard comes out and shows us that an action film does not have to be stupid, then I think it is not OK. I hate you Michael Bay, I really do.

"Transformers", skip, skip, skip this movie.

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