Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Transformers (2007) Part 2

Click here for Part 1!

Sam starts running but Barricade SMASHES him into a nearby car in a blow that would have killed anyone else, but fortunately Sam had his Main Character Forcefield turned on. He runs some more, just happening to run into Mikaela who is riding her scooter in the area. For some reason he TACKLES HER hard to the ground... so she can also almost get killed by Barricade? Bumblebee, who was off grabbing a smoke during all of this I guess, pops back into frame so the two teenagers can get in and I smell a MICHAEL BAY CAR CHASE!

...or not, they turn into their robot forms and duke it out instead. The fact Michael Bay had the green light for a ridiculously overblown chase scene and PASSED is on my short ballot for “Most Shocking Moment In Movie History”. Their fight is (sing along with me!) totally incomprehensible to tell who begins where and who is hitting who, so let's catch up with Sam and Mikaela who are being chased by Frenzy.

Mikaela ISN'T a damsel in distress however, as she grabs a nearby cutting saw (they're in a construction yard now) and HACKS THE SHIT OUT OF FRENZY! Awesome! Damn, a woman in a Michael Bay movie not a totally helpless stereotype! That's TWO candidates for my “Most Shocking Moment In Movie History” list in as many minutes!

Frenzy isn't quite dead though, as his head grows little legs and he finds Mikaela's dropped purse, transforming into her cell phone. The teens catch up with Bumblebee, who has emerged victorious from the fight I'm actually glad they didn't show. Bumblebee can't talk though, instead only able to communicate through radio commercials. He turns back into a car and the two hop in, Mikaela stopping to pick up her purse.  They drive along, Mikaela wondering out loud why if Bumblebee is a super advanced robot does he turn into a “piece of crap Camaro”? Bumblebee comes to a screeching halt and kicks the two out, driving off in a huff. Can a robot be pissy?  Oh right, Darth Vader's droid set that precedent.

He's not driving off though, he... I'm not exactly sure, this scene is so badly edited it's hard to follow. I totally GET what happened, Bumblebee scanned another car and took its form but the continuity was so out of whack it's just confusing. Also, how fortunate for him a new version of his car form just happened to be driving by! The teens get back in and Bumblebee drives on, as the scene cuts to outer space where we see four large circular objects hurtling towards Earth. They crash all over the area, including one that crashes near a diner. This causes all the patrons to run out to investigate, as one starts recording the goings on with his camera and providing commentary.

“This is the coolest thing I've ever seen! Explosions everywhere! This is EASILY a hundred times cooler than Armageddon. I swear to God!”

I guess I have to admire Michael Bay at this point. He's won, you know? He's the multi-millionaire sitting in his lavish mansion while I sit here and review a movie that made over $700 million dollars. He gets to wave his completely undeserved wealth and success in our faces, and pull shit like this all he wants and people will still throw millions at him. For God's sake, he even bribed his way into the once-meaningful Criterion Collection.  Rhargh, this fucking movie. Let's keep going now, we still have almost AN HOUR AND A HALF LEFT. The orbs are, of course, more Autobots who find nearby vehicles to scan and gain a vehicle form. They rendezvous with our heroes, and that means it's time for a roll call.

-Optimus Prime, sadly the only character to even REMOTELY keep his original form.
-Jazz and his atrocious redesign... at least they got his cool shades in there.
-Ironhide's design takes the crown for the worst.
-Ratchet tried his hardest to unseat Ironhide, but just couldn't quite pull it off. Also, he might actually be Bumblebee. I'm not totally sure.

Noticing how Jazz talks like how Michael Bay thinks all Black people talk, Sam asks what gives. Optimus replies they've learned Earth's languages through the World Wide Web so get ready for more lame memes and catchphrases than... well, this blog actually.  Ratchet makes an observation that Sam's pheromone level suggests he wants to mate with Mikaela because FUCK EVERYTHING, JUVENILE HUMOUR! We learn Bumblebee can't talk like the others because his “vocal processors” were damaged in a previous battle, which has ALWAYS bugged the hell out of me. I know so it's the can make him more “hip” by talking in only prerecorded one liners, but come on... these super advanced robots can't repair something THAT simple?

Mikaela FINALLY asks why they're here, Optimus telling her it's so they can find the All Spark before Megatron does. One hour four minutes in, and we have a plot. Repeat, we have a plot! Out of everything, this is the film's BIGGEST problem: it took them THAT long to setup what the hell was going on. I appreciate that they were trying to establish Sam as an actual character like a real movie would do, but A) Bay sucks at it and B) he shouldn't be the bloody centerpiece of this damn thing!

Sam asks who Megatron is, and I'm not doing a Calvin Johnson joke here so you're welcome. Optimus plays a CGI flashback to show us how Megatron led the Decepticons in a battle against the Autobots that ended up destroying their homeworld of Cybertron and losing the All Spark into outer space. Wait, the All Spark is the Cube mentioned in the opening narration? Did... they forget they called it that? I guess I can't blame them after all those epic scenes of Lennox, Epps, and Blonde Megan Fox, but still... isn't that an editor's job to catch something like that?

Megatron followed the All Spark to Earth, crash landing and getting frozen in the Arctic where he was found by Captain Witwicky.  Witwicky accidentally pressed a button on Megatron's frozen form that somehow imprinted the coordinates of the Cube's location (and yes Optimus switches between calling it the All Spark and the Cube several times just to annoy me) on his glasses. Sam wonders how Optimus knew about the glasses, the Autobot simply responding with “eBay”.

That's not really an answer there, Optimus. HOW did the Autobots know... well, any of this really? I've been holding off on the story because complaining about plot holes in a Bay movie is like complaining about plot holes in a porno, but now that it's central to the ENTIRE plot we need to analyze this a bit.  The Cube came to Earth a long time ago, the Transformers somehow tracing it there. Megatron got there first, but crashed in the Arctic and froze himself. He was discovered by Captain Witwicky, who ends up getting the location of the Cube embedded into his glasses in the process.

In a bit we'll discover the United States government later finds Megatron and the Cube, sealing them in a hidden location. The Decepticons somehow learn the government has them, spending the first part of the movie trying to uncover the exact location of their leader. They figure the best way to do this is by being as loud and attention drawing as possible, instead of using their ultra advanced alien technology in any kind of clever manner. In these attempts they learn about the Witwickys, which in turn leads them to discover the glasses.

The Autobots one upped them though, as they magically not only knew about the glasses but EXACTLY how they came to be created despite NO ONE having any knowledge of this. Instead of all heading to Earth to get the glasses from Sam, they send Bumblebee down while they... I don't know, work on painting Optimus with some bitching flame graphics? They are pretty bitching, I'll give them that. WAY more important than trying to save the galaxy from Megatron!

Bumblebee is the best choice for this situation, as he is TOTALLY UNABLE to explain the situation to anyone since he can't talk. He tracks down Sam and then proceeds to... do absolutely nothing to carry out the Autobots' plan. Seriously, he wastes days upon days just dicking around and never ONCE tries to explain the situation to Sam until much later when it's too late to easily resolve things.  That's our protagonists and antagonists BOTH having knowledge relevant to the plot that they couldn't possibly know, crafting plans based off this impossible knowledge, and then carrying out these plans in the DUMBEST AND MOST NONSENSICAL manner possible. That, my friends, is Transformers summed up to a “T”.

Ratchet says Megatron plans to use the All Spark to transform Earth's machines into a new army, which also makes no sense. We're talking the 19th century here, HOW did Megatron know anything about Earth at this point since there was no World Wide Web? What made him think there'd be machines there to transform? We're really entering the Phantom Menace territory here where every sentence the characters say makes NO SENSE!

Even with the gaping plot holes and shitty CGI designs, that was still quite the introduction of our heroes. I don't care how bad the Transformers look, it was still nice to see them get a great cinematic entrance. Now that I'm actually back to paying attention to this thing, TIME FOR MORE FILLER! Scenes follow of Lennox and his boys doing nothing, Blonde Megan Fox and Anthony Anderson killing time, and Sam's parents... oh ho ho, Sam's fucking parents.

Did I say the worst thing about this movie was fact it took an entire hour to actually get started? Well, it is but BLOODY HELL Sam's parents do their best to take that crown. Their existence literally makes my zombie brain hurt, as they get so much screen time devoted to their OH SO HILARIOUS bickering and woefully failed attempts at comedy. I just don't get it, how did ANYONE think they were funny or were worthwhile of giving entire scenes to?

This part of the movie is particularly egregious, because the story has just set up a really major end of the world scenario complete with a ticking clock. FUCK THAT THOUGH, let's shift the tone for some Godawful slapstick comedy! See, everyone goes to Sam's house to get the glasses but his dad brings everything to a screeching halt to devour the scenery and chastise Sam for not doing his chores. The entire time, the gigantic fucking Autobots are trying to sneak around his yard and stay hidden with all the subtlety of a 3 Stooges movie. And not a good one, but the freaking modern day remake.

The movie goes to COMPLETE shit here, as the Autobots start accidentally trashing Sam's backyard. Why are they even here? All Sam has to go is go in his house and grab a pair of glasses. The heroic and dignified Optimus accidentally steps on a fountain, quipping “Sorry, my bad!”. Sam's dog comes out to get in on the hilarity, as he pisses on Ironhide's foot. HA HA HAH! I bet Ironhide wasn't expecting THAT lulz!  Sam searches his room for the glasses, Optimus lifting Mikaela through his window to help look. Oh no though, Optimus stepped in Sam's mom's flower bed in the process! Our legendary hero says “Oops!” and for the first time in my life I think I understand the overused phrase “___________ ruined my childhood”.

Sam begs the Autobots to GTFO of his backyard, doing his best Woody Allen impersonation as he stammers through sentences and repeats words over and over again. This is fucking HORRIBLE. Seriously, not even the target audience of Call of Duty addicted 12 year old boys could find anything funny in this scene.  As the Autobots “fall back”, Ratchet or Bumblebee clumsily walks into a power line and ends up falling hard to the ground. This cuts all the power in the neighbourhood, Sam's parents going to check on him because they DESPERATELY need more screen time. Sam hides Mikaela so we can get a half hour scene of him doing a back and forth with his parents and KILL ME! KILL ME NOW!

Sam's mom asks if he was masturbating and JESUS CHRIST! WHAT THE FUCK AM I WATCHING?! I... why.... who... this is the one scene I will always think of whenever I hear someone over the age of 12 trying to defend this as a “good” movie. It's like fans of this shit have erased ANY of these scenes from their movies, and ONLY remember the “KICK ASS FIGHTS BRO!” scenes.  They KEEP talking about masturbating as I officially lose all faith in humanity for the rest of my life. Did you know Michael Bay made $75 MILLION DOLLARS off this movie? Money that went directly into his pocket. So thank you, citizens of Earth for making this movie so successful so he could become that much richer off it. It would be a crime against humanity if an auteur like him wasn't so richly rewarded for his cinematic endeavors.

The 4 Cybernetic Stooges randomly destroy something else in the backyard, causing Sam's dad to look out the window and witness what's left of his yard. He somehow misses the four gigantic robots hiding right around the sides of his house. Those wacky Autobots! What WON'T they do next?  Ironhide asks Optimus if he can kill Sam's parents and I'm going to let it slide that a movie ostensibly for kids is making jokes about killing parents because THEY TOTALLY FUCKING DESERVE IT! Mikaela, probably as suicidal as I am about this scene, pops up to shut Sam's parents up once and for all.

The scene FINALLY CUTS AWAY... to outside the house as we see a row of black SUVs pull up as Sam finds the glasses in the kitchen. Tons of government agents start pouring out, knocking on the door and announcing themselves as Sector Seven. They are led by Agent Seymour Simmons, who is played by the second of our cast that is WAY too talented to be in this movie: John Turturro.  HOWEVER, you would never guess for a microsecond Turturro is even remotely talented based on the performance he puts in here. He is well known for playing strange and quirky characters, but here he's dialed it up to TWELVE as he is so bizarre and off putting I can only think he knew he was in an abomination of a film so tried to have fun with it. Hell, every time he opens his mouth I half expect him to break into a musical number.

The agents start tearing through the house, including uprooting Sam's mom's garden and taking samples. This is so she can do a gut bustingly funny double entendre about how they “better get their hands off her bush” and do you realize this shit's been going on for damn near TWENTY MINUTES now?! They end up taking everyone into custody, Simmons grilling the teens over what they know about aliens as the SUVs head towards their destination.

The Autobots FINALLY show up to save us from the worst twenty minutes in movie history, attacking the Sector Seven convoy. They rescue Sam and Mikaela as I guess they took Sam's parents somewhere else but for once I don't give a FUCK about unexplained details in a movie. Sam turns the tables and starts interrogating Simmons, but he won't answer anything.  Bumblebee or Ratchet retaliates by PISSING ON HIS HEAD.

I am out of things to say at this point. I'm sure the kiddies thought this scene was hilarious, as did the grown ass mature men that wrote it. It does sum up the franchise even better than the shot of Megan Fox, at the least. Mikaela forces Simmons to strip because he threatened her father, um... okay? Simmons is wearing Hawaiian boxers and I'm REALLY disappointed Bay didn't go with some kind of HILARIOUS thong.  More agents show up, so the Autobots start running for some reason even though they could totally take them. Everyone transforms into vehicle form except Optimus, who scoops up Sam and Mikaela and takes off on foot... again for some reason I can't figure out. I guess because Bay thought it'd look cooler?

The chase ends up in a spillway because OF COURSE IT DOES. The entire scene goes off the rails as everyone mysteriously vanishes except for the teens and Bumblebee, who somehow gets CAPTURED by Sector Seven. A giant fucking robot taken down by a couple of helicopters and guys with guns that shoot “freeze mist”. Bay films this all in slow motion with really sad dramatic music playing, because this is SUCH a moving and powerful scene. Yeah, I'm really tearing up here.  Oh wait there's the Autobots, just hanging back and watching. Optimus says they can't help Bumblebee without harming the humans, even though we just saw them completely disarm Section Seven without causing a single injury. Optimus does find the glasses, as Sam dropped them while trying to help Bumblebee.

We return to the Pentagon, as Frenzy's virus has now shut down the entire global network or whatever. Keller is contacted by Sector Seven agent Tom Banachek because if there's one this film needed more of was ANOTHER character added to the mix. Banachek fills him in on the truth about Transformers with some pointless back story, the long and short being the Decepticons are using the virus to disable all communication so the humans can't coordinate together to attack. HOW they know this is never explained, because that really seems like a total guess.

Keller starts gathering all of our players together for some as yet unseen plan, while the Autobots use the glasses to track down the Cube. Optimus's goal is to find the artifact and destroy it, saying if that doesn't work he'll unite it with the “spark in his chest”. What does THAT mean? Is the spark in his chest a different kind of All Spark? Is that supposed to be the Matrix of Leadership?  Ratchet warns that'll be suicide, but Optimus is bound and determined to go through with it so Earth won't be destroyed by the Decepticons. At least the film has captured how noble Optimus is, when it's not portraying him as a clumsy buffoon and saying things like “my bad”, so there's that at the VERY least.

Keller takes everyone to the Hoover Dam, which is secretly the base of Sector Seven and where they keep the frozen Megatron. Simmons revealed he's the “source of the modern age”, as they've been reverse engineering his body to invent things like microchips, lasers, space flight, and even cars. Uh huh... if you say so movie.

Banachek continues the guided tour, the next stop the All Spark itself which is GIGANTIC. Unknown to everyone, Frenzy finally reveals himself and sends out a communication to his allies. It's picked up by our old friends Barricade and Blackout, along with newcomers Starscream (a jet), Devastator (a tank), and Bonecrusher (a military truck). I'm tired of bitching about how fucking horrible the redesigns are, but Starscream's deserves SPECIAL attention. He honestly looks like a first take rough draft sketch that they just decided to go with.