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My thoughts on the Transformers Sequel

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posted by alias Decepticreep on Friday 3rd of July 2009 03:14:13 AM

Ok, I saw the new Transformers movie last week and thought I would share my thought on it with you guys. For the most part it was a disappointment to me. It's a shame because I think there were some really good ideas in this movie, but they threw in all kinds of stupid things that detracted from it. I'm breaking it down by what I considered to be "good" and "bad" about it. The “Good”: 1)The Autobots have teamed with human soldiers who are part of a team called “NEST” (what the heck does that stand for? Does anyone know?). I thought this was a good idea which seems to have no precedent in other Transformers fiction. Hey, if they can’t give us a live action GI Joe/Transformers crossover, this is the next best thing. I like the idea of the Autobots having official human allies, although generally having too many human characters in the mix annoys me, this is an exception at least these guys serve a purpose and they did a nice job of portraying the bond between these soldiers and the Autobots. 2)Agent Simmons was used well in this film, I liked the idea that he saw himself as a patriot who was betrayed by his government when they shut down Sector 7, but was still willing to go to bat for his country when it needed him. I love the idea of this guy being a legend in his own mind. His dropping trou in every film seems to be a running gag. The Rail Gun he uses to destroy Devastator was a great homage to G2, where Megatron gets a rail gun to replace his fusion cannon. 3)There was a pretty cool shot through a hole in the wall of a building that Sam and Mikela are hiding in. 4)The battle where Prime was killed was excellent! Seeing Prime take on a bunch of ‘Cons al at once was awesome. Megatron only kills him by sneaking up on him from behind like a chump. Definitely one of the best ‘bot vs. ‘bot fights I’ve ever seen! 5)Ravage and Soundwave were both executed well. They might be the only toys from this movie I bother to buy. Sure, the fact that Soundwave lacked his characteristic voice modulation was a disappointment, but I still enjoyed him nonetheless. Having him be a communications satellite was an appropriate alt mode considering that Bay’s determination to avoid size-changing Transformers means we’ll never see him as a tape deck or Mp3 player on the big screen. Ravage was just awesome all around. If only they had worked Rumble into it somehow! 6)In general, I was happy with how the Decepticons were handled in this movie as compared to the last one. They had more lines (in English!) and had a lot more personality this time around. We got to see Megatron smacking Starscream around several times, as he should. Megatron looked better in this film; it’s nice to see him in his tank mode, although I wish he had a REALISTIC earth tank mode. At least he uses his arm cannon a lot in the film. I was also happy that the concept of switching sides was introduced in this film. 7)the plot of this movie was a bit more interesting than the last one. 8)The pretender who is disguised as a girl at Sam’s college was pretty cool. Although it scared the crap out of my 5 year old son! Oh well, maybe it’ll discourage him from tongue kissing girls anytime ion the near future! 9)Nice homage to the comics to have Sam get the knowledge of the Allspark in his head, very similar to when Buster Witwicki had Prime put the knowledge of the Matrix in his mind in the Marvel series. 10)Good continuity to have Melaka’s criminal dad in one scene. 11) The Matrix! Even though it serves a different purpose, it‘s still nice to see a version of it in the movie continuity. Sam’s near death experience nicely echoes when Rodimus Prime enters the Matrix to consult with the wisdom of the spirits of Primes past! 12)The movie ‘bots DO run off of Energon as all proper Transformers should! 13)The Fallen is cool. I like the idea of bringing this character into the movie continuity. One can only hope that his evil is a result of being tainted by a movieverse Unicron. His pseudo-Egyptian look rocks! 14)Supermodes! Prime gets a “power up” from Jetfire and kicks much butt. The Bad: 1)Characters from the first movie such as Ironhide and Ratchet only have a few lines and zero character development! New (to the movie franchise) characters that seem very cool like Sideswipe and Arcee similarly get barely any screen time. 2)The Twins!! They’re just awful! In his infinite wisdom, Bay has given us not just one, but TWO “Jar-Jars”! And just like Jar-Jar, they have been accused of being racist stereotypes, and I have to admit that this does seem a pretty valid charge. Sure there have been Transformers in the past that seem to be “black” like Jazz and Blaster, but these characters were never portrayed as being complete idiots “We don’t do much read’in!” – gimme a break! Obviously I don’t think the filmmakers intended for these characters to be perceived as racist, it was a misguided attempt to market to the very audience they are insulting. Most real life gangstas have at least more street-smarts than these characters do and are more useful in a fight, although I must admit that I actually enjoyed the scene where the twin that was “eaten” by Devastator busts out and smashes up his face from the inside – that was the ONLY cool thing any of them did in the entire movie. I was even happier when Bumblebee walks in and smashes them into each other and tosses them out of the room. One strange thing about this movie is that they seem to put in lots of characters who are deliberately annoying and even visibly annoy characters in the film (Sam’s roommate is another example) so that the audience will be happy when they get knocked out. I’m especially mad that the Twins get so many lines and screen time that other, better characters could be using. The only “Twins” I wanted to see in this movie were Sideswipe AND Sunstreaker. Instead, Sideswipe gets barely any screen time and Sunstreaker is completely absent. Instead of making up crappy new characters, they should’ve given us more movie versions of fan favorite characters like Wheeljack, or Perceptor, or Hot Rod, or Ultra Magnus or Prowl, or…I could go on and on! I’m sure many fans would’ve much rather seen any of these characters in the film than these ridiculous new characters. 3)Megan Fox is just eye candy. Sure she’s pretty, but her performance is pretty flat. I’d love to see an actress who can act in this role for a change, instead of a walking pin-up. There is no fire in her belly, no spark in her eye. She should’ve never been cast to begin with, but I guess we’re stuck with her now. 4)While I admit that most of the comedy in this film got at least a chuckle out of me, I think they overdid it. It’s like they have to turn every scene with the human characters into a comedy routine so we will tolerate the boringness of having all these fleshlings polluting a film that should mainly be about giant robots beating the tar out of each other. In doing so they run the danger of turning the whole thing into a giant farce. It was far too obvious that this film was written to appeal to 12 year olds and older people who are hopelessly mired in that mindset. It has all of the raunchiness of South Park, but lacks the brilliant social satire that redeems that show. 5)The language was much fouler than in the first film. I’m certainly no prude, but as the parent of a young child, it sucks to bring your kid to something like this and worry about hearing that your kid had been repeating lines from the movie in daycare or school. C’mon guys! It’s based on toys that are sold to children! You can find ways to make it seem more sophisticated and adult without resorting to such language so often – like maybe giving us a better story? Or decent character development? In the first movie the “bad” language was more natural, like the real reactions someone would have to seeing a car suddenly stand up and turn into a robot – but it’s more forced and pointless in this movie. 6)Lots of cornball moments in the movie. Did anyone really think that Sam was really dead? But the director milks that moment for all it’s worth (and then some!)even though you’d have to be brain dead to buy it. Excessive use of slow motion is a crime! 7)Megatron is The Fallen’s bitch? WHAAAAT??? Megatron is NOBODY’S servant or disciple! That is the main thing I like about the character! Even when faced with the ultimate bad guy, Unicron, he only accepts his overlordship at the last moment to preserve himself just long enough to figure out a way to betray him. I didn’t enjoy seeing Megs play second fiddle to The Fallen. He seemed genuinely crestfallen when The Fallen is killed, like he’d just lost his hero. Megatron is his own hero! He follows no one! That said, I did like his attempts to sway Optimus to his side during their battle by trying to persuade him that the future of their race depended on them exploiting the new energon source found on earth. This rang true to my perception of the character – that as evil as he appears to be, he actually does believe that he is doing the right thing for the survival of his race. 8)I don’t like the fact that so many characters in this film had wheels in place of legs. Sure, it makes some degree of sense in that one can imagine that they would move faster in ‘bot mode with wheels for legs, but only over normal terrain. There are many DISADVANTAGES to having a wheel instead of legs, like it makes it impossible to climb things and makes jumping very hard – and what on earth do they do when they get a flat? Plus I think it just looks bad. It makes it seem like the designers got bored halfway though creating the ‘bot mode of the characters. It makes me feel cheated somehow. Sure there is a precedent in Transformers lore (Hello, Beast Machines!) but it still sucks! 9)Devastator looked like a pile of trash. 10) Much of the action is too fast and choppy to properly follow upon a single viewing. This is a general problem with many modern action films. The Just Plain Confusing (AKA food for thought): 1)Why couldn’t a bunch of Primes kill The Fallen? If “it takes a Prime to destroy The Fallen” (the equivalent of “fighting fire with fire” since The Fallen was once a “Prime”), surely 5 of them were up to the job! It seems stupid for them to sacrifice themselves to create a tomb to hide the Matrix in and leave someone so powerful and dangerous at large and leave nobody else around who is strong enough to take him on. And how did they go on to “father” Optimus if they all transformed into a tomb? Jetfire seems amazed that there is a “living Prime” around so obviously there wasn’t one( that he was aware of) around before he left Cybertron. So where the heck DOES Optimus come from exactly? I guess it makes SOME degree of sense if they couldn’t find The Fallen and were so terrified of the concept of him getting the Matrix and using it to make our sun go nova or whatever unless they locked it up good ASAP. It still seems like bad strategizing to me. 2) TFs reproduce sexually? Jetfire mentions having both a mother and a father! It’s not quite as silly as it seems since TFs seem to mimic most biological functions mechanically presumably using nanobots the same way we organics use cells. I just wish they would come out and clarify it already. Hey, it’s not as ridiculous as it seems, in G2 it was revealed that TFs once reproduced asexually in a process similar to cellular division. Maybe that would explain the presence of female ‘bots in the movie – or in general? Why couldn’t ‘bots combine parts of their Sparks to forma unique new one, or their robotic equivalent of DNA (made up of nanobots) ? The background info for the first movie states that Megs and Prime are brothers (which Primes actually says in dialogue from the first movie, although he could’ve been speaking metaphorically) and that Megs killed their Father. So this info although not explicitly stared in the films themselves and therefore of dubious canocity, seems to back up this concept. Of course if this is true, why isn’t Megs “a Prime”? 2) What is up with those protoforms or whatever they are that the Decepticons are keeping in their ship? The ones Starscream says are too weak to mature without enough energon? Where did they come from? How did the Decepticons get them? Did the Allspark spit them out before it was launched into space? Or if Transformers do reproduce sexually as the movie implies, do they lay eggs (these things seem to be in some sort of transparent eggs)? If so, SOMEBODY had been getting a lot of action! 3) The Primes created the Allspark? The movie seems to imply that if they didn’t create it, then at the very least they kept it charged up with Energon extracted from suns. If they DID create it, it implies that the Primes are older than Cybertron since Optimus Prime says in the first movie that the Allspark is older than Cybertron. It also implies that the Primes created the rest of their race. Of course if you look at the Allspark Cube as just a physical artifact used to interface with a movieverse equivalent of Primus this makes sense. Perhaps Primus is the TRUE Allspark which as this movie states cannot really be destroyed, with the cube just being a man(or more accurately TF) made object used to access and channel his power. So maybe movieverse Primus makes the Primes and gives them the knowledge to create the Allspark Cube and keep it charged up? This is similar to the Beast Machines concept of the Allspark being a dimension that Primus resides in. 4) I still don’t get why the Allspark and its fragments only seems to create Decepticons, or at the very least Transformers whose first instinct upon birth is to shoot up everything in sight. 5) Optimus seems to know absolutely nothing about The Fallen when his name is first mentioned in the film. He claims that the Allspark held all the history of their race and when it was lost, so was that history. C’MON! Like being the leader of one half of the Transformer race means you can get away with having absolutely no knowledge for your own history? Who put Prime in charge if he is so damned ignorant? Every Decepticon in the film seems to be aware of the Fallen! You mean to say that even a rumor or legend of him was never been extracted from a single Decepticon in interrogation in all their countless years of battling each other? Yet once Optimus is revived by the Matrix he seems to be suddenly aware that the Primes were the brothers of The Fallen. Huh? Did the Matrix give him a sudden infusion of historical data? Did he have an awesome near death vision like Sam did that we were not privy to? WTF? So overall what did I think of this movie? Well, I do feel that the first film was better, although there are many things in this movie that I think were improvements, there were just as many problems with it. I was entertained throughout, which after all is the goal of a movie such as this. While I am no great fan of Michael Bay (the only other movie of his I enjoyed was Independence Day, corny as it was), I do think he gets unfairly bashed. There is a reason why major studios keep on giving him millions of dollars to crank out movies like this. They are entertaining to a vast number of people! I think critics know this and can’t stands this fact because they know that he entertains primarily by playing to the lowest common denominator in human nature and they can’t stand this, or the fact that it is so consistently successful. It shatters their intellectual hubris that we are somehow progressing as a species and have evolved beyond the point of being still be entertained by stupid caveman humor and lots of explosions. It makes them realize that they are surrounded by “idiots” and they hate to be reminded of this - of how truly isolated they are from the general mindset of the great unwashed masses and makes them want to slink back into their intellectual ivory towers and hide there forever. Sure it sucks! I’d rather see almost anyone else in charge of bringing the Transformers to the big screen, almost anyone would do a better job - but you also can’t deny that despite its many, many flaws, the final product is still pretty entertaining and is therefore still successful on some level. I am not so divorced from the passions of the “common man” (whatever the hell that means) to deny this. Parts of it will annoy you, but unless you’re a complete tool, you will be entertained which is the main reason we went to see movies the last time I checked. There are worse ways to spend a few hours. This is hardly a great piece of movie making but neither is it the steaming turd some critics would have you believe it is. It’s worth checking out for a laugh if you’re feeling bored. The Transformers franchise deserves better – but you knew that already when you saw the first film. If Hasbro itself doesn’t believe that – how do you think we’ll ever convince anyone else? What do I know? I'm just some guy. Go see it for yourself and make up your own mind. Or don't. I don't care. I'm now done talking about this- forever!

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