Less than meets the eye.

I have low expectations for summer movies. I realize that they are often mindless entertainment with minimal plot and multiple explosions. That's fine. There is a place for such flicks, and I watch them without much hope of something grand. Remember that as I say this with no exaggeration: Transformers is the worst summer blockbuster I have ever seen. Let me take you through the anatomy of this horrible movie. (Audio review here.)

From the stiff opening voiceover that details the backstory, you sense trouble. Thirty minutes in, you're still waiting for the movie to gain traction, even though a big action sequence already happened. As the action wanes, the awkward dialogue blares through. You realize this isn't Shakespeare, but George Lucas could have improved this script. Simple words in the midst of action are one thing, but as the focus of several too-long scenes, the lame dialogue is painfully amplified. When you're not sure if the humans are delivering their lines better than the robots, that's a bad sign.

But you know more transformers are coming, so you wiggle your feet impatiently while anxiously awaiting their arrival. Finally the rest of the good guys show up. "Wow, those are sweet looking robots!" you think. You begin to settle in for a rip-roaring second half, until you realize there's not much else to them. It's like finally getting a date with that hot girl you've been crushing on, then realizing how unbelievably vapid she is before the main course is even served.

By then of course you're stuck for the remainder of the evening. You deal with the ill-fated attempts at creating drama. Every ten minutes, you wonder what the heck is happening or question the movie's logic, which is awful even for the genre. You laugh several times, though the causes are largely unintentional. Is that John Tuturro wildly out of place? Does Tad Hamilton actually have a leadership position in the military? You hope desperately that the show might end with something redeeming like an epic battle. Here come all the bad guys (out of nowhere), this could be good...but no. The final clash is big and loud, but also confusing and by that juncture, pointless. Emotional attachment isn't necessary in a popcorn movie, but there needs to be at least a minute level of curiosity. You don't care if they kill the humans or kill the robots or kill all of them. Whatever.

You sit through the credits, unsure of whether or not you want to be rewarded with a bonus scene. Yep, there's one. Yoikes, that was bad. At least it was short. Wait, there's one more, a final reminder of how miserably the movie failed, like the last rock that always crushed Wile E. Coyote.

The worst part is that Transformers has potential, as the trailer proves. Vehicles turn into giant robots! How is that not cool?!? But the flick scarcely if ever delivers on that promise. The visuals are representative of the whole movie. Well done, occasionally impressive, but too often fights or transformations are seen either from a distance too great or too close, depriving the audience of the true scope of the shot, and of any interest in the movie.

Perhaps a knowledge of the source material, with which I am only passingly familiar, would make the movie more palatable, but I doubt it. Director Michael Bay, whose projects have steadily declined since 1996's The Rock, has reached a new low.

Bottom Line: Please don't encourage a sequel by seeing this movie. 2 of 10.


B. D. Mooneyham said...

Wow, that has to be one of the lowest ratings you've ever given.

Prince of Spades said...

Yeah, I'm not sure I've ever handed out a rating that low for something I saw in a theater. I know there have been some that I saw on DVD or TV that were just as bad or worse (Speed 2), but never on the big screen.

TBCJim said...

I fell asleep not once but twice, and was mad both times when I awoke and realized where I still was. Only the popcorn kept me from committing suicide.