johnlink ranks TRANSFORMERS (2007)

I’m not the Michael Bay hater that some are. There will always be a place on my shelf for BAD BOYS and THE ROCK. I did like ARMAGEDDON (which is hard to admit in public) but admittedly have not seen it in years. I have not seen PEARL HARBOR, but my preconception is that the historical nature of the film wouldn’t mesh well with his blow-em-up style. BAD BOYS II is sub par, but fun. And, THE ISLAND is an entertaining enough sci-fi film with plenty of flaws. So it is those movies, then TRANSFORMERS and that is it. That’s the list until the TRANSFORMERS sequel comes out tomorrow. The list isn’t the sacrilege some people seem to suggest.

If you need to know the general plot of TRANSFORMERS then it probably is not for you. But, in short, it is about alien robots who transform into various modes of transportation and fight each other.

I watched TRANSFORMERS on 6.22.09 mostly because I had not seen it since it came out on DVD, and wanted to watch it before the second one came out. It was my second viewing of the film.



The plot and thematic elements in this movie do not matter. It is about blowing stuff up. The movie looks good in doing this, but anything resembling a meaning falls flat. But it does look damn cool!

Also, I’m starting to notice some definite motifs through Michael Bay’s work. The young child who sees something amazing, the similarly sounding scores blaring over slow motion emotional scenes, the major political character making a roaring speech describing what the people of the film must do, ‘regular’ people around the world experiencing whatever world-changing event is happening within the film, and a rotating camera circling a major character at a major point. If I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I should do a Michael Bay marathon soon and make an essay out of this. I might be the first person to do a major work on Michael Bay… SCORE: 4


The first half of this movie is not as funny as it wants to be, and not as funny as I remember it. There are some clever things that happen, but a lot of the jokes fell flat on me. But the action is amazing. I might be a mindlessly dumb viewer at this point, but there is no denying that it looks damn good. There are sections of this movie that don’t work for me (the secret government agency being one), but there is enough good throughout to make this thing worth seeing, and ultimately more enjoyable than the sum of its parts. SCORE: 7


A good looking kid (Shia LaBeouf) who gets laughed at because we are supposed to think he is a loser. He hooks up with a high school girl who is 17-going-on-playboy-model (Megan Fox). They get together because… well, I dunno. He has an old car, she likes cars. He flips a girly bike in front of her, and she feels she needs to chase him through the city on her motorcycle to make sure he is okay, and they go on an adventure together. But there is no real chemistry or motivation there. The side characters are completely undeveloped and used mostly as comic injections. I’m not sure that a 19 year old Australian girl (or however old she is supposed to be) ends up being a major player in the government’s strategic plans, and Rachael Taylor’s performance didn’t change my perception of that possibility. John Turturro isn’t as good as he has been, and his character is just annoying with no real redemption.

I think the difference for me with this movie isn’t that the actors didn’t rise through the material like some actors did in other Michael Bay pieces. I’m thinking Peter Stormare as the Russian in ARMAGEDDON and the entire cast of THE ROCK. Nobody in TRANSFORMERS gives more then the script gives them. SCORE: 3


This is a pretty brutal script which was flawed from the beginning. I mean, the idea of putting two sexy kids in play with the Transformers along with a major governmental force trying to figure out what happens while an army team tries to make it back home and Shia tries to deal with his family issues and then a second secret government agency, (different from the first) is trying to track down aliens and, oh yeah, the world is going to end soon….

There is just so much, and nothing gets really developed. Plus, this script does that annoying thing where it doesn’t trust its audience and has to use dialogue to make sure we do not miss anything. Part of the reason the characters don’t get a chance to settle in with us is that they have to tell us EVERYTHING and we are not left to infer anything. It leads to lazy movie watching where we just wait for something silly to happen in between major action sequences. It also leaves a gap between the viewer and the movie.

I am glad that this movie does not try to justify its science as anything real. They do a decent job explaining why these Transformers are turning into everyday vehicles and objects which was not too dumb, and which does not pull you too far out of the fun of it all. SCORE: 3


The special effects in this movie are nothing short of spectacular. There are only one or two moments I can think of which look green-screened, which is an amazing feat in a movie of this scope. The animation on the Transformers is stellar. SCORE: 1



4+7+4+3+1= 18

FINAL SCORE: 4.5… but one of those movies where the entertainment score is really the most important.

~ by johnlink00 on June 23, 2009.

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