Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Transformers (2007) Part 3

Click here for Part 2!

The Decepticons attack the dam while Frenzy cuts the cryogenics keeping Megatron frozen. We see the Autobots driving towards the battle and I know I should be excited, but I can't help but notice there's still FORTY MINUTES of film left. I'm terrified Bay is going to try to make up with putting us to sleep with boring humans by putting us to sleep with a lethal overdose of action in the Big Dumb Ending we can all sense on the horizon.

Sector Seven releases Bumblebee, who goes to the Cube and shrinks it down to a more manageable handheld size just by touching it because THAT makes sense. Lennox makes a plan to have him move the Cube to a nearby city before Megatron thaws in an attempt to keep it as far away from the Decepticon as possible.  We get introduced to Big Bad minutes later, as he breaks free of his prison by transforming into a jet and flying outside where he runs into Starscream I THINK. The camera keeps cutting between their faces as they talk, and they look SO DAMN SIMILIAR for all I know Megatron is doing his best Smeagol/Gollum impersonation.

The convoy of Bumblebee and the soldiers drives down the highway, soon joined by Optimus and crew. The Decepticons soon catch up to them, Optimus and Devastator getting into what I think is a fight but they could be dancing with how shitty they look when in motion. No, it was a fight because Optimus pops a blade out of his arm and CUTS DEVASTATOR'S HEAD OFF. Damn, Optimus ain't playin' no more!

We cut back to the Hoover Damn, where the humans that NO ONE GIVES A FUCK ABOUT are under attack by Frenzy. OH NO, I'd cry myself to sleep tonight if anything happened to Keller, Blonde Megan Fox, Anthony Anderson or Simmons! They're such beloved, well developed characters! I'm so glad that this film has devoted so much time on them and their ULTRA vital storylines.

Bumblebee and his team arrive in “Mission City”, a made up city not far from the Hoover Dam. They get bombed by Starscream, which annihilates Ratchet's or Bumblebee's legs. Ah, its Bumblebee because Sam says his name. Thanks Sam! The injured Autobot hands him the Cube, and I know the Cube is just a magic Macguffin that works whenever what can barely be called the plot needs it too, but shouldn't the Cube INSTANTLY heal Bumblebee? Back at Sector Seven, Frenzy tapped the Cube with one of his head tendrils and his entire body was grown back in a second.

Things REALLY start going downhill as the rest of the Transformers arrive and start battling. I know I keep harping on this, but I CANNOT tell them apart. In an action movie that's kind of an important thing. To make things EVEN BETTER, Bay is filming all these scenes at Dutch angles so extreme the screen is damn near vertical.

Things like this are another reason why I don't understand Bay fans. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE huge action scenes as much as the next zombie. Terminator, Star Wars, the Matrix, Total Recall, the Fifth Element, anything like that I could watch all day every day. But every single one of those movies had CLEARLY DEFINED ACTION! I can ALWAYS tell who is who, who is shooting at who, and where everyone is in relation to things. When I'm having to pause the movie every three seconds and rewind it to even attempt to guess what I'm looking at, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. And WHY the Dutch angles?! ART THOU KIDDING ME with this?!

Megatron arrives to fuck shit up, and his first act is to rip Jazz in two just in case you had ANY doubt in your mind this was a Bay movie: the Black Transformer dies first in the ending battle. Good God I hope Bay never introduces Arcee into this series, I can't even imagine what action movie tropes he'll subject her too.  Lennox orders Sam to the roof of a nearby building for extraction via Black Hawk helicopters so the Cube can be taken far away, which is stupid because he KNOWS Megatron and Starscream can transform into jets and easily pursue. This part is funny because Sam just runs right past Mikaela without a second thought, so she's forced to grab him and give some bullshit lines about how she's glad she met him. They shockingly don't kiss, but I'm sure they've saving that for the finale.

Sam runs, the Autobots trying to cover with from the Decepticons. The Cube starts releasing energy for some reason, transforming nearby machines into evil attacking robots. He passes an Escalade and once again I got very confused here because the woman driving it looks EXACTLY like Mikaela so I had to rewind the movie yet again to make sure I didn't miss a scene in this clusterfuck. Why do ALL WOMEN look like Megan Fox in this movie?!

The Cube's energy turns the Escalade's steering wheel nto a face raping monster, which is really messed up because there are now four bladed tendrils ripping Mikaela 2.0's face apart.  An Xbox 360 and a Mountain Dew machine also change into killer robots because Bay has actually been somewhat restrained on non-car manufacturer product placement up until this point and it was starting to drive him crazy.  Sam makes it to the roof, but LO AND BEHOLD there's Megatron to shoot down the extraction choppers. Optimus shows up AGAIN to save him (he sure loves his dramatic timing, doesn't he?), although ends up falling off the side or the building where Megatron falls on top of him because I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA. They film this shit so fast the entire movie needs to be in slow motion to even attempt to follow it.

Alright, so we have Optimus and Megatron ground side ready for the ULTIMATE face off. Optimus has Sam go hide, instructing him to push the Cube into his chest if he can't defeat his archenemy. Optimus declares “one shall stand, one shall fall” and I would be FUCKING PUMPED UP if I didn't know what was about to follow would be 110% indecipherable.  Or... they choose to focus on Blackout versus the human soldiers. Yeah, THAT'S what everyone wanted to see instead. WHAT THE FUCK. They don't even SHOW the battle, all we see is Optimus crawling around after presumably getting his ass kicked. Fighter jets fly by and start bombing the shit out of Megatron, Sam taking this chance to sneak into the frame and shove the Cube into MEGATRON'S chest instead.

This apparently kills him, which is lucky as hell because Sam really had no idea the Cube would do that. What if it was just an Autobot thing? What if the Cube make Decepticons even MORE bad ass? Oh well, Megatron flails around a little bit and then drops dead in the MOST ANTICLIMACTIC DEATH possibly ever captured on camera. He doesn't even scream, he just groans a couple of times and then falls down. Optimus does find a shard of the All Spark still remains, ominously examining it to tease a sequel because Peter Cullen would love another one of these hefty Bayformers paychecks.

Ironhide hands Optimus the halves of Jazz's body, declaring they couldn't save him. Congratulations Bay, not only did you kill the only Black Transformer you also killed one of the all time most popular ones! Optimus just kind of shrugs “oh well, whattya gonna do?”. Bumblebee, who can now magically talk for a completely unexplained reason, tells Optimus he wishes to stay with Sam.  Montage scenes start wrapping us off, Keller declaring Sector Seven be closed down and the remains of the dead robots be dumped in the Laurentian Abyss. Lennox returns home to see his family. Sam and Mikaela make out on top of Bumblebee while the Autobots are nearby watching, which isn't fucked up at all. I don't even WANT to read what kind of fanfiction and Deviantart this scene must have inspired.

Sadly we get no closure on SUPER POPULAR fan favourites Blonde Megan Fox, Anthony Anderson, Sergeant Epps, Simmons, Banachek, hell not even Bernie Mac gets a funny followup like I was expecting. This is really funny from Blonde Megan Fox's viewpoint as she figured out the signal was alien and then... never solved the problem. Huh. They sort of forgot about the whole international virus shuts down all global communication thing... That was a huge focus in the beginning of the movie and the only reason she and Anderson were introduced was to deal with it. And they NEVER DID! It's almost like they were completely unimportant to the storyline and should have been cut...  Optimus narrates us out, “I am Optimus Prime and I send this message to any surviving Autobots taking refuge among the stars. We are here. We are waiting.”.

CUE THE FUCKING CREDITS, which are unfortunately scored by a Linkin Park song that I assume is about hating authority or how much cops suck or something. Oh, but we're not done because we get post credits sequences of Sam's parents, THANK THE FUCKING LORD. God I am so ELATED they got more screen time.

There's another one with Starscream flying into outer space, because I guess he just vanished during the Big Dumb Ending. You think the Autobots would have checked into that. Or the new Decepticons, Face-Rape, XXXBox, and Mountain Dead. We saw Devastator and Blackout get killed, but I don't think they even showed Barricade either. He was probably one of the mountains of CGI crap zooming around the screen bathed in explosions, but who knows?

That was Transformers, which in 2007 was the third highest grossing film in America and the fifth highest grossing film worldwide. A film with a run time of 2 hours 23 minutes, with just about half an hour of that dedicated to the title characters in question.  Those thirty minutes are some of the most hard to follow and flat out unpleasant to the eye barrages of action you'll ever see, filmed in either generic slow motion or sped up so fast you'll WISH it was in slow motion. The rest of the movie is a never ending focus on cardboard cutout human characters so boring I constantly found myself wanting more CGI bullshit just to stay awake.

Who out there besides Michael Bay wanted to see nearly two hours of boring ass humans put us to sleep while talking about masturbating and farting? You mean to tell me people were actually entertained by Blonde Megan Fox and her Star Trek techtalk? Anthony Anderson mugging for the camera by being “outrageous”? Simmons doing... whatever the fuck he was doing? Sam's parents? SAM'S FUCKING PARENTS?!?

Many many moons ago I said The Phantom Menace is the longest-feeling film you'll ever sit through in your life. Well ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce you to your new champion Transformers! The sad thing is, this is the one that has the highest approval rating. I can't even WAIT to see how Bay can lower the bar on this travesty of a franchise. Oh, the next movie is the one with Skids and Mudflap? In that case, yes I can wait.  Was there anything good here, or am I just another Internet asshole that hates on Transformers because I'm a neck bearded hipster and it's cool to hate on Michael Bay when in reality I'm jealous of him? If you were paying attention during the review I hope I properly expressed the stuff that I liked, but just in case here they are:

Shia LaBeouf was VERY endearing... in the beginning at least. Questionable decisions to give his character almost half the movie aside- actually, hold on there. I want to clarify something about this. Sam is the archetypical Normal Character Introduced To A World Of Crazy character, which is UBER important in a film like this. They take our hand and walk us through the batshit insanity that is unfolding, which makes the universe feel all the more real and the sense of wonder more amazing.

The PROBLEM though is almost all his screen time is dedicated to his life BEFORE the crazy kicks off. Yes, you need to establish the character and his struggles so we care about him as he goes through his journey, but you DON'T need over forty minutes to do this!  Look at Back To The Future, Star Wars, or The Matrix. We knew EVERYTHING we needed to know about our heroes within ten minutes tops of meeting them. Transformers did the same thing with Sam in his history class introduction, but then it kept going back to the well. Again and again and again. There was some slapstick with Bumblebee, but it wasn't doing anything to further the world of the Transformers. The second Bumblebee found Sam we should have met the rest of the Autobots and spent the rest of the first hour hanging out and getting to know their world.

So yeah, Shia LaBeouf was an actual likeable character even though by the end of the movie they ran out of things for him to do besides yell “NO!” a lot and run around. Peter Cullen CRUSHED IT as the voice of Optimus Prime, despite Bay trying his hardest to degrade the character during the slapstick shit at Sam's house. Every other time Optimus spoke, he DAMN WELL had my attention. He made his scenes feel so epic and larger than life, I couldn't even imagine if he wasn't in this thing. I probably would have set my TV on fire to purge the evil out.

That's really about it for the movie's positive, our two heroes were very well done. All the other characters were flat, boring, or stupid, and most were a combo platter of all those things.  The Transformers themselves were all woefully underdeveloped, ESPECIALLY the Decepticons. It really didn't help we don't see Megatron until about two hours in, and then he's just so “I'm evil! I'll kill you all!” generic that he instantly fails at being scary. Starscream, one of the most interesting characters from the cartoon, gets a few bland lines in and then just disappears. Hell, Sector Seven made WAY better villains and they're ostensibly the good guys.

There are so many huge movie franchises that I can't stand, yet I totally understand why they're popular with so many people. Transformers on paper sounds like it'd be one of my favourite movies of all time, even with Michael Bay behind the camera because at least that means the action will be as widescreen and explodey as possible.  But it really wasn't. We got an hour and a half of mind numbing boredom, most action scenes were cut up so badly or done off camera altogether, and then the Big Dumb Ending is just a complete visual trainwreck. I got after Man Of Steel for putting me to sleep with its nonstop Action Porn, but at least I was able to UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS ON CAMERA. I never, EVER thought I'd say this but here we go... Michael Bay I am disappointed in you.

Very, very disappointed.