Michael Bay is a douche bag. With that being said, here is a (non-spoiler) breakdown of the good, the bad and the ugly (in my opinion) of Transformers 2:
As a ‘fanboy’ who grew up on the animated series – I even wrote to Optimus Prime (HASBRO) and asked him to adopt me…I fear that I have shared too much by telling you that – I was ridiculously excited about the sequel coming out.
I had my Transformers underoos pressed and cleaned…my ‘blaster’ was at full ‘charge’ (*wink*) and we were the first in line for a 1:05 AM showing of the (2 1/2 hour) premiere. We even watched the first movie again before going to the theater…so Shannon had to endure (aka: roll her eyes at me) for at least a couple of hours before showtime, me walking around like a robot and pretending to engage in epic battle with my cat…who just looked upon me with pity, then proceeded to clean herself (my cat, not Shannon). On to the movie itself:
– Promising start. The movie begins with the appropriate amount of excitement (aka: robot fighter porn) and some entertaining (albeit goofy) comedy. I may have also been very excited when the movie started and therefore more forgiving. It also adds a new storyline to the Transformers history that was not in the cartoon. As usual, the introduction of ‘OP’ (Optimus Prime, but I call him ‘OP’…we are tight like that) elicited boyish giddiness and fist pumps out of this 34 year old man.
– For those who felt that OP did not kick enough robot ass in the first movie, there are a couple of scenes that will satisfy all of you and was enough to sustain me through most of the movie…like one good golf shot is enough to keep you playing on an otherwise awful day on the course.
– As usual, the introduction of Megan Fox (draped over a motorcycle) elicited boyish giddiness out of this 34 year old man. I know, creepy, right? Paging Chris Hansen. I digress.
From here it only gets worse: The introduction (or return) of ridiculously unnecessary characters and numerous ‘WTF’ moments:
– As it relates to new robots – 2 in particular are so irritatingly useless to the storyline (pls see: Ying Yang Twins meets Jar Jar Binks meets Goodfellas), that I found myself repeatedly raising my hands and eyebrows in disgust. I do not want to give too much of the story away for those who have yet to see the movie, however these two (borderline racist) characters share WAY too much of the screen time for WAY too long. Also, evidently Autobots only transform into GM cars…going to be a bitch to get repairs and spare parts after battles now that GM has declared bankruptcy.
– To be fair, some new (and familiar) Autobots / Decipticons were introduced that were interesting / exciting. Only the true nerds (present company included) will know the difference. To tease you with a hint, think ‘Voltron’ as you get closer to the end of the movie.
– John Turturro (Sector 7). Enough said. Enough already.
– The obligatory bureaucrat who serves no useful purpose other than to add some cliche moment near the end of the movie when he gets what is coming to him. However, his existence adds nothing to the film and is just as relevant as if a Care Bear or a My Little Pony character found their way into the film (I have 5 sisters, that last reference was for them).
– Sam’s parents. They make a funny appearance in the beginning of the film, but are added into an unnecessary plot line later in the movie. Would have been best for them to stay in the beginning of the film and the rest of their footage on the cutting room floor.
– Since the trailers give this away (so I am not revealing anything important), Sam is on his way to college at the beginning of the film. Without giving away too much, another ‘WTF’ moment came when an attempted seduction of Sam by a co-ed turns out to be ‘more than meets the eye’. While on the subject of college, Sam’s roommate that is introduced at the start of the movie should have stayed in the dorm room. Permanently. Another unnecessary character that adds no value and, in fact, detracts from the film.
Michael Bay is a douche.
– When the first movie was being made and I heard that Bay was directing, I feared that the movie would take the usual craptastic turn that all of his movies take. It seems that Bay only has a pocket full of shots that he uses in EVERY movie (i.e. dramatic pan, slow-mo close-up, filming a military commercial disguised as a movie, stupid humor etc) and he will keep using them until people realize he is a hack with no creativity and drive him out of the business. I was surprised to say he did a good job with the first movie, with less (but some) of his signature shit-stained-fingerprints all over it. I was not so lucky in the second film. Apparently he decided to save up all of the shit he normally would have done in the first movie and randomly tossed them all on the wall for the second one. Then again, Michael Bay is considered good by some people…especially ‘Nickelback’ fans.
As I am trying to do a ‘non-spoiler’ review, seeing how the movie just came out, I will save the rest of my ire and feedback for my talk show once enough time has passed that I don’t ruin the movie for anyone.
All in all (and this will be surprising, judging from this review), I enjoyed the movie and can forgive the ‘WTF’ moments that were all too common during the viewing of this latest incarnation of a favorite from my childhood. How many crappy ‘Batman’s’ did we endure (I’m looking at you Arnold and Alicia Silverstone) before we gave up on the series…until they finally got it right with Batman Begins and Dark Knight? It is not enough to ride on the laurels of the popularity of a series by phoning it in for future movies. I am still a ‘fanboy’ and will wait to see what the third movie in the series will bring. But my advice? Drop Michael Bay, the cheesy jokes and stupid robot behavior that is meant to elicit giggles from the lowest common denominator.
Optimus Prime is enough to keep me coming back…for now. They even introduced a new storyline relating to the history of ‘Prime’ that actually added something new to the series for me. I understand this is ‘just a robot’ movie’, not ‘Citizen Kane’, but unless you would run home from school or stop playing outside in time to get in front of a TV to watch the cartoon, you won’t understand the place something like Transformers has in the memories of people like me.
I would like to preserve the positive memories I have of sitting around the TV with my friends, each of us holding our favorite Transformer and acting out the battles we saw on the tube. I have used the line, “At the end of this day, one shall stand and one shall fall” countless times as a kid (an iconic line that Bay RUINED at the end of the first movie). I would hate for Michael Bay to destroy those memories with his templated-limited-talent shots (seriously, look at ‘Armageddon’, ‘The Rock’ and ‘Transformers’ and tell me you don’t see the EXACT same shots in each) and trademark ‘roll your eyes’ humor.
Shia is still great as Sam. Peter Cullen delivers again as Optimus. Bumblebee still make me wish I had a robot guardian living in my garage. But drop the peripheral characters that have run their course and blow us away with the third and final movie.
Bottom line is this: If you are a fan of the cartoon / series, you will see this movie and it has enough to keep you placated…as it (barely) did with me. I am a guy – so I like s’plosions – and there are enough to perhaps mask an otherwise sub-par second effort.
PS – It was not a total loss. The projector went out 3 times during the movie and we received free movie tickets. So, technically, I got a refund. I’ll take that as a ‘mea culpa’ from Mr. Bay himself.
PPS – Judging from the trailer, it looks like G.I. Joe (another favorite from my childhood) will be ruined. But the goodwill built up over the years as I grew up collecting them will be enough to get me in the seats for the first movie. Whether I come back is up to the Director.
PPPS – I hear that Mickey Rourke is in the Ironman sequel. Great. Off to a shitty start. Will you leave no good memories intact?