I’d like to coin a new phrase: Michael Baywatch: When beautiful people run through explosions in slow motion.

 

The Bad:

 

I watched Transformers: ROTF because I felt obligated. The G1 series informed so much of my childhood, I had to go. Granted, the 1980s cartoon movie, if watched at a distance, is pretty cheesy. My emotional connection to my childhood is what makes it my favorite movie.

The high point of the movie for me was the trailer for Harry Potter.

 

Just like the first one, the changes in Transformers are not what bothered me. At first, I was upset that they actually made Bumblebee cooler by turning him into a Camaro. But now, I’ve come to expect some changes.

What bothered me was poor scriptwriting, sloppy scifi, continuity problems, lack of plot, lack of character…

Basically, if it wasn’t a Transformers movie, I wouldn’t have watched it. Or cared enough to post about it.

 

A lot of people are saying to ignore the plot holes and just enjoy the fun ride. But Iron Man and Dark Knight showed us that you can have both: A whirlwind action-adventure thrill ride that has great characters and story.

Saying that “It’s just giant robots fighting, don’t expect much” insults Transformers.

Again, the cartoons I grew up with weren’t Shakespeare. But they had characters and stories.

I still think this movie, and the last one, are monster movies. Giant aliens with no discernible personality are trying to destroy the world. It ignores the fact that the best thing about the toys when I was a kid was that there were personalities. Example: G1 Swindle. Toy was decent but it was the personality that was great. Mirage. Wheeljack. I could go on and on.

In monster movies, a person gets about 3 lines of dialogue and is killed. They don’t have a character, they have one character trait. Sound like ROTF?

 

Roger Ebert’s review is very poignant. It’s where I grabbed the Iron Man and Dark Knight thing from. He also said how a child can hold a Transformer toy and use his imagination to craft wonderful stories. And that ROTF was certainly not the work of a vivid imagination.

 

Some questions:

-If the Allspark created all Transformer life, why does it only make evil robots?

-Why does it take a Matrix of Leadership to bring Prime back to life, but Megatron can just be rebuilt on the ocean floor?

-Why is Megatron such a putz? He shows up on Earth, gets frozen. Gets thawed out, killed by a fleshling. Wakes up again only to kowtow to some ancient Cybertronian. I want my villains better than this.

-During the first fight, a human died. They showed his coffin. Was he in the first movie? Was he supposed to be important?

-How is Optimus a descendant of the primes? Do they have babies?

-Was Ironhide British in the first one?

-How did the government scramble a huge attack force to come in what seemed like seconds?

 

When Megatron called to Starscream for help at the end of the movie, Starscream should have looked around to make sure no other Decepticons were looking, then said “I’ll tell the others you fought bravely.” Then killed Megatron. That one simple action would have changed a lot of my opinion about the movie.

 

This should have been a kids’ movie.

A Bot firing a crotch-mounted cannon; constant testicle jokes; dogs humping; a bunch of cursing; an impossible to ignore drug scene; John Turturro’s thong (OK, that part was kind of funny, but still). The ratings board must have been out for popcorn during some of this.

I would be mortified to have my nephews here. My daughter is 2 and loves Optimus Prime. (She calls him Op-pa!) I think, when she’s older, I’ll have her watch G1 but not the new movies. Kind of like how I’ll have her watch Star Wars Eps 4-6, not Eps 1-3.

 

It’s kind of bad when Turturro had to actually ask Jetfire what the plot is.

Plot derives conflict: Character A wants to do something, but Character B wants to stop that. To a degree, there was some of that. But what we got was “There’s some big thing we have to destroy before it blows up the sun.” When Hitchcock was asked to define a MacGuffin, he said the audience doesn’t care what it is, as long as it drives the story.

Iron Man had a MacGuffin in it, too, the rings that created his power-core-heart-thingy. And the first Batman had the microwave emitter. Dark Knight didn’t have a MacGuffin, and that’s why it was brilliant.

There was comic relief, but no comedy.

The difference is that comedy flows naturally out of the story or characters. Comic relief is injected, forced into a movie. A robot calling a human a “pussy,” for instance. Jetfire’s routine “My father was a wheel….” was hilarious. But it shouldn’t have been in the movie. A lot of the gags, like a robot humping a girl’s leg, should have been in the Scary Movie franchise instead.

 

About the Jar Jar Bots. Much has been made to say they were racist black stereotypes. I didn’t get that. I hated them, yes. But I thought they were rednecks. I didn’t see the correlation.

 

The Good:

I think I’m being overly critical, so I’ll talk about what I liked.

I think Sam and Mikaela are very charismatic. They’re not necessary to the movie. But they’re likable.

I enjoyed Sam’s parents (minus the drug scene.) I liked them in the first one, too.

 

Any fight scene with Prime was amazing. If he wasn’t there, it was kind of blah. But whether it was slo-mo or what, you could really see what the characters were doing. It was a lot of fun to watch those fights. The 3-on-1 where Prime died; his return to take on Megatron and the Fallen; even Jetfire vs. Scorponok; Bumblebee vs. Rampage and Ravage.

And Bumblebee is making up for lost time. He stopped getting his butt kicked and started kicking butt.

There was one point where Ironhide was hurting pretty badly. No incarnation of Ironhide has ever been my favorite, but I was actually sitting there hoping he wouldn’t die.

Megatron and Starscream playing the roles that we’re used to seeing.

Soundwave and Frank Welker’s voice. Soundwave was always one of my favorites. I was curious to see how they were going to use him. The satellite was an interesting idea.

Ravage. Another one of my favorites. Done very well, I think.

 

This is a version of Transformers 3 I made myself based on what I think the script should be:

 

 

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