Now. On to the "fun".
Adam and I went in for the midnight premiere of Transformers at the ArcLight theatre. The good news: They had cool cars from the movie parked outside, and I got a picture of the Optimus Prime truck. Things went downhill from there.
First preview: JJ Abrams is making some kind of monster movie, and had the best preview I've ever seen. A teen's going away party is interrupted by an earthquake... or is it? We follow one teen, from his POV on his home movie camera, into the streets. Fireballs rain from the sky on the horizon. Suddenly, something crashed through a building and comes to a screeching, sickening halt in the street. You hear the crowd screaming...what is it? What is it? The camera pans over: It's the head from the Statue of Liberty, roughly severed, rolling in the middle of the road... blackout. January 8, 2008.
We didn't even get to see the NAME of the film. And it's the only memorable thing of the night.
On to the show:
I have to say, I was never too excited to see Transformers as a movie. The concept, the more you think about it, makes absolutely no sense. I suppose the story could have been told in a way that made it important, wonderful, exciting. But this was the work of Michael Bay.
We open with the great onscreen legend:
Qatar - The Middle East - In case you didn't know - because we know Americans know nothing about geopolitics...
Well, actually, they stopped after the Middle East part, but the subtext was there. Then, we got to meet one of the 38 human characters in the film that we're supposed to care about. We spend roughly 8 seconds with any person in this film. It's all explosions, then bad jokes, then more explosions. Yes, you will see a robot breakdance. You will see a robot pee on a human. You will see giant robots hiding from someone's parents because...well, I suppose they didn't want the kid to get into trouble.
What you won't see: Coherent plot. Good dialogue. Sensible character choices. Decent improv. Cleanly shot action sequences. Things that make sense. Things that will stand out in your memory. Things worth your money.
There's a throwaway romantic subplot, an evil secret-government agency subplot, a computer hackers try to save the world subplot, and on, and on, and on...
I see positive reviews on some feedback boards saying that haters are "thinking too much about the movie", that the movie "is just stupid summer fun, about giant robots beating the crap out of each other" etc.
Action movies can be mindless fun and still deliver on plot and character (Commando, Predator, Robocop, Jurassic Park, hell, even American Ninja).
Transformers sucked. Plain and simple. Nothing worth remembering. Awful dialogue, bad jokes, even worse racial stereotypes, incoherent throughlines, hard-to-discern battles, shameless product placement. I challenge anyone to a debate: prove to me why Transformers was a good action movie. Show me why it made sense. Show me why they had a romantic subplot, why we needed to have the marines, the government, the hackers. Keep in mind that bald-faced plot devices are not good things. And, yeah, if it was supposed to be a movie about giant robots...why did we waste 90 minutes of it focusing on humans?
As a final spoiler, Optimus removes his helmet to reveal his true identity, and it is shocking: