Saturday, August 18, 2007


RUNTIME: 144 min.
RATING: **1/2

Believe it or not, there sure are some benefits of watching a Michael Bay movie, more so when you get early to the counter and buy the cheapest tickets. Sitting there, among numerous teenagers, and adults still to break the barrier into maturity, you get to feel so good about yourself. You realize that you no longer are that stupid teenager who laughs at a barrage of sex, urine and fart jokes. You also get to watch a lot of stuff blow up, bang bang, that bang recording a decibel reading barely within the higher limit of human audible limit. Good Bay realizes that, otherwise there would be dogs going crazy outside. If ever movies can be looked as a meter to record the intelligence quotient of a person and you want to test yourself, best is to check into one of them Michael Bay movies. If you still find yourself laughing and have your adrenaline pumping after the testosterone overflow on screen, tell yourself-“Still some way to go.”
I am not exactly one of those Bay haters; it is just that I despise his movies (Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, Bad Boys II, The Island). But in Transformers, he finally seems to have found a material that can resist his carnage-creation (carnage = bad movies). Not that it is brilliant, not even remotely, but it is just that a combination of my sub-zero expectations, my thinking cap left with my car at the parking (Bay movies, special offer: No extra charges) and some cool special effects coupled with some wow moments (believe me, they are just moments the longest of them clocking at 5 seconds) made this one of the more enjoyable movies of this summer. On a scale, I enjoyed it more than Spiderman3, Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix and Shrek the Third combined, the tent poles of this summer.
Don’t ask me about the plot, I pay slightly higher attention than Bay to that insignificant ingredient in the Bay world, which isn’t saying much. There’s something about some cube called AllSpark that is some sort of huge power (I would be grateful if somebody mailed me the power everyone’s behind) that has been supposedly hidden on Earth millions of years ago by an alien race i.e. transformers, the inhabitants of some planet called Cybertron. There’re the good transformers called Autobots that don’t want the cube to fall into the wrong hands i.e. the evil transformers or the Decepticons. They come to earth, both of them, to find it for the secret lies in the hand of one Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and then all hell breaks loose, which in Bay world means explosions, dumb characters running amuck and lots of loud noise.
Let us get done with the good stuff real fast, it won’t take long.
Some of the action moments are brilliantly done. They might be super-dumb but Bay movies sometimes know how to appeal to that male inside you. I admit, sometimes I enjoyed it this time too and maybe because it was nicely done. Trucks, monster ones, are something I’ll buy any day. Here, big trucks, tanks, cars, airplanes basically all that piece of equipment created by man (humans) that appeals to a man (males) is on full display. Plus the scenes of them roaring as a vehicle one moment and creaking into one of them cool oversized piece of robots is fun to watch. The transformers aren’t exactly great characters, but what the hell, you paid for a Bay movie not a James Cameron movie (that is why come early and get the cheapest tickets). They’re some real spectacular sequences of chase where in they turn from vehicles to robots, some real wow moments I spoke of earlier. The action sequences are the one and the only draw, though they aren’t exactly good. Most of them, as is the entire movie, shot with an epileptic camera where few things are clear. It is just carnage (any which way you look at it). But something about them felt so frustrating for they was the germ of some spectacular action sequences. But no one, both in the movie and the people who made it realized that there were more than a few opportunities of a spectacular car chase with lots of avenues to spend time and money on cool transformations and explosions. Especially one I remember correctly where in one evil transformer (kindly mail me the name) chasing the Bumblebee with Sam Witwicky inside transforms back into a police car and starts chasing. The sequence had terrific potential to be a special one but it just ends, with nothing on the plate. Alas, I exclaimed and added “Bay” to it.
It did take long.
The bad part, this is going to take even shorter. It is a Bay movie. What are you expecting, Terminator 2: Judgment Day? All the “virtues” are on full display. The dumbness factor is the usual. Plus the characters are so irritating, except for the central one of Sam. In the midst of it, one of the good transformers asks-“Parents are irritating, should I shoot them.” Replace parents with people there and you’ve my answer: a resounding Yes. At 144 minutes, Transformers is especially long. Needless parts dealing with boring teenage stuff with the story going nowhere and laced with embarrassing jokes keeps Transformers from really taking off, except for the climactic battle. Even the battle is less of a showdown and more of a letdown; nobody really cares about the battle between Megatron and Optimus Prime. One reason, averagely etched characters and another reason, that jarring camera that just leaves our heads spinning with headache. The action is more or less lost in translation. Performances, apart from LaBeouf’s are splendid opportunities for poking fun. Special mention for LaBeouf, this boy is good. His is the same part, cheesy, dumb and irritating in equal parts but he somehow manages to give a nice turn. Worst element of all is the background score. One word again will explain how ridiculous it and its usage is-Bay.
That is Transformers for you -stupid, cheesy, loud, unclear, long, boring, irritating, wild, exciting-in-parts, great action and would have been great action, all of it rolled into one. And if you follow my prescription of parking your brain, believe me, this is the most “summery” movie this summer (keep At World’s End out of the equation).
But I can’t help but wonder, what a good film maker would have done with it?


The Ancient Mariner said...

can't agree more...where is the review for bourne ultimatum mate???

I watched it today and loved it...go watch it

Trippman said...

My biggest problem with this is that the "action" is horrendous. Or at least the horrendous camera work makes is seem so. I mean this is what the film is suppose to get completely right!