While it sounds like this guy doesn't have a clue about the history of the Transformers, I still say I'm going for the action and for the Camaro. The rest is up in the air
'Transformers' can't morph into being a good movie
on error resume next MM_FlashCanPlay = ( IsObject(CreateObject("ShockwaveFlash.ShockwaveFla sh." & MM_contentVersion)))
There is plenty of action in "Transformers," a movie about a race of robots roaming the universe in search of an energy cube. See full image
'Transformers" may be the most spectacularly stupid film ever made, and with modern-day Hollywood being what it is, that's quite a feat.
There's certainly spectacle aplenty, with eye-mashing special effects, a consistent cacophony of thunderous explosions and a virtual roller derby of titanic battles between forces of good and evil. If you don't leave this film with a headache, the producers haven't done their job.
On the stupid side, well, this movie is about giant toys that come down from outer space to duke it out over an energy cube. They have names like Megatron and Optimus Prime, but somehow there's also one called Bumblebee. How sweet.
When the good giant toys aren't fighting the bad giant toys, they transform into automobiles and serve as product placement revenue enhancers for the film, making it pretty much the biggest TV commercial ever. Don't be surprised if the next Batmobile morphs into a Volkswagen Bug in order to cover the movie's catering costs.
Director Michael Bay ("Armageddon," "Pearl Harbor") has never been known for subtlety, but at least he'd built a reputation for efficient soul-draining bombast balanced by sniffling sentimental moments. In "Transformers," he buries the sympathetic moments beneath such a barrage of high-tech glitter-trash chaos that all signs of human emotion are summarily crushed beneath huge robot feet.
Things don't start out badly, or at least not as badly as they end up. An evil robot attacks a military base so it can suck out the brains of the U.S. government, a process which, in a likely unconscious bit of social commentary, takes all of a few seconds.
At the same time our human hero, young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), is out buying his first car. Miraculously, a yellow-and-black Camaro appears in a used car lot and forces its way into his life. He hopes it will help him make a connection with ultra-hot Mikaela Banes (the aptly named Megan Fox), which it does, a feat that should send Camaro sales through the roof.
But it turns out this Camaro has something extra under the hood: Its name is Bumblebee and it's part of a race of robots wandering the universe looking for an energy cube. The bad bots want to use the cube to take over earth and destroy humanity. The good bots, like Mr. Bee, want to protect humanity for reasons never fully explained.
The movie's best moments -- "best moments" being a relative term here -- come as Sam discovers his car is a creature from outer space and it has many imposing-looking friends. There are even some decent yuks when Sam has to bring the giant robots back to his house for a few moments (they're heck on landscaping).
But the film quickly degenerates into a misguided spin on "Independence Day" as the bad robots pick up steam and various humans figure out what the heck is going on, all of which leads to a seemingly endless battle that fills the film's last hour.
Detroit is well-represented in all this, not just because of the crass product placement but also because a good deal of the film was shot downtown. A sign signaling Fort Street shows up so much it nearly becomes a major character, and in this movie that's within the realm of possibility.
Swell as it may be watching downtown Detroit destroyed by giant outer-space robots as they simultaneously promote GM products, "Transformers" is just too loud, dumb and terrifyingly crass to be considered a good thing.
It's the latest example of the new Hollywood approach of simply throwing as much claptrap as possible onto a movie screen and figuring audiences will walk away so sensorilly stunned they'll figure they were entertained.
"Transformers" isn't entertainment, it's a movie mugging. The question is, have we become a nation of media masochists?
You can reach Tom Long at (313) 222-8879 or [email protected].