By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Five Beers) –
Shia LaBoeuf is Sam Witwicky, a clichéd outcast teen who has a crush on Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) a clichéd hot girl with a heart of gold. When Sam goes with his father to buy his first car, he comes home with a Camaro. He naturally decides to use the car the way any dude of the male persuasion would use it, to overcompensate. All is not what it seems however, and it turns out that the car is an alien robot who is a member of the Autobots, who disguise themselves as automobiles for stealth (well supposedly) to build a fighting force of extraordinary magnitude.
They have our gratitude…
The Autobots love freedom, eBay, and everything American, and their devotion to it is tempered only by their preference for Chevrolet™ products. Together, pointless human character and fairly badass robot join forces to fight the Decepticons (easily recognizable as they choose to hide themselves as military and police vehicles).
Michael Bay is a filmmaker that always manages to get solid actors to star in his features, and then proceeds to do very little with them. That said even a broken watch manages to be right twice a day, and the choice of bringing Peter Cullen back in from the classic 80’s cartoon series to voice Optimus Prime was a good one. His voice has a level of world (universe?) weariness that gives legitimate depth and significance to a plot that would otherwise be very hard to take seriously.
The action sequences were clearly expensive, buildings collapse, whole city blocks explode, and missiles, mortars, and knock down-drag out fights erupt between giant robots. What more could you ask for?
Some fucking sense of proportion would have been nice. Michael Bay shoots most of the action with the kind of shaky zoomed in and incoherent approach that has plagued action films for the last decade. The result is that in most scenes you can hardly tell who has the upper hand in the fights, or even who is fighting who. Much of that problem stems from the modern redesign given the robots, which have so many complex moving parts, crazy bells and whistles, and other distractions that when two of them fight each other hand to hand, they tend to blend into each other in a twisting mass of metal (which sounds more interesting than it is).
Even this wouldn’t be too much of an issue if the movie wasn’t 144 minutes long. I rather enjoy lengthy movies actually, when there is something being built towards. But when the action sequences move from set piece to set piece with an uninteresting human character story in between, there simply isn’t enough content to support 2 + hours.
And speaking of the characters, why is Shia LaBoeuf even in this movie? I get that his character is written into the plot with the whole thing about his grandfather’s “discovery”, but Sam Witwicky is neither funny nor interesting enough to warrant the huge amount of screen-time given to him. He comes off as a whiny pretentious bastard, who in no way deserves Megan Fox’s appreciation.
Classy… just classy…
In an alcohol-fueled momentary lapse of judgment I may watch it again.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever a Transformer references the internet
Take a Drink: when Sam does something klutzy
Down a Shot: for product placement (Double it for internet product placement)