Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Transformers (2007)

Bursting With Big-Screen Blockbuster Blockheadism

- Michael Bay's Transformers (2007) is definitely a big action film, but it is unfortunately not a very good one. I never watched the "Transformers" television show as a child - I do not know which Transformer is supposed to be a plane, a truck, or a Toaster Strudel so Bay's apparent taking of liberties with the original show does not bother me at all. What does bother me is the film's "how low can you go?"-type setting of the bar for quality cinematic entertainment.

Transformers is not a horribly bad film - there is, in fact, one good thing about it: the special effects. I thought the explosions, destruction, CGI graphics, etc. were done quite well throughout the entire film and was worthy of its Oscar nomination for best special effects. However, I did not enjoy much more than that.

What I primarily do not enjoy about the film is the acting. Shia LaBeouf does what he does best in this film, playing a winy and annoying teenager - so you really cannot discredit him too much; he is just doing what he always does. Oh yeah, he is annoying, but if you are going to criticize someone because of LaBeouf, criticize the dudes and dudettes who hired him.

Other members of the cast do not fare much better: Megan Fox is well, a fox, but not a good actress and Josh Duhamel was just lame as all get out. Other members of the cast manage to fare even worse than LaBeouf - and they are not who you would immediately suspect. Jon Voight was laughably bad, giving the weakest performance in the film. And yes, I do mean "laughably bad," where you are actually laughing out loud at him when he is not supposed to be funny. This guy really should hang it up, he has been nothing but bad in nothing but piffle lately. Also, much to my surprise, I was even disappointed with the great John Turturro! He must have lost a bet - I swear.

Too bad Transformers could not have been a good action film with bad performances; there are more negatives to discuss. The writing for Transformers is also nothing great. Naturally, a script does not need to include mind-blowing themes or an intricate plot when it comes to an action/adventure film about battling transforming robots; however, a little wit or intelligence would have been nice. I like my action/adventure films at least be well written, with good dialogue, story points, and character creation and Transformers fails my litmus test in every area. Most of the non-action situations and dialogue were written extremely poorly; full of awkward attempts at humor and cliched bits of dialogue while lacking any sort of uniqueness or wit.

All of the problems that Transformers suffers from could very well have been corrected by a great director. However, Transformers is directed by one of the worst mainstream directors working in Hollywood today: Michael Bay. My biggest criticism of Michael Bay is how he shoots an action scene: not just finding a creative way to point a camera and shoot an action scene, Bay feels oddly compelled to film half of an action scene then crudely cut to a different angle of that scene halfway through the shot and then cut to yet another different angle halfway through that shot.... This style of presenting an action scene onscreen really takes the power out of an action sequence because it loses scope and power with each sharp cut - not to mention the fact that at a certain point in a Michael Bay action scene I start to feel a pain in the back of my eyeballs. Come on man, I just want to see the freakin' action scene! If one requires a crash-course in everything that makes a Michael Bay action scene look terrible, Transformers is a good place to turn since it, more than most Bay films, features this nauseating style of action filmmaking.

In the end, Transformers offers little, if anything, of value. While the CGI effects are impressive, this film is not very entertaining because its characters are lifeless, its script is banal, and its action scenes are poorly filmed. But what might be worse than the actual movie is its success. The success of Transformers allowed for the creation of more pathetic Transformers sequels and propelled the irritating Shia LaBeouf into superstardom.... Somebody contact The Hague!

CBC Ratings: 4/10

No comments: