I thoroughly enjoyed the Transformers movie, but there were a lot of things that irked me. I'll start with the things I knew about before I saw it.
The Transformers' transformation process is overly complicated. I know they wanted to modernize the Transformers, but, I couldn't tell three quarters of the movie characters apart in robot form (the other quarter being Bumblebee, Optimus Prime and Frenzy). It's because of the near lack of reference points to their vehicle forms and robofaces that aren't memorably unique enough like the original G1 cartoons were. It's been over a week for me and I still don't remember what their faces looked like, except for those I just mentioned.
I really, really disliked that all of the Autobots were GM cars. Michael Bay is a bloody whore. It's not so much that they sold out, I mean, the movie is a great platform for selling stuff, it's that they were *only* GM cars and no Hondas, Nissans, Toyotas, BMWs, Mercedes or even the odd Lamborghini Spyder (how much of a robot in disguise can you be when you're a concept car that won't be out for two more years?). The original series had true variety. I mean, if I were Megatron and all the Autobots were hiding in vehicular forms, I would say, "Decepticons, don't waste your ordinance on everything. Target only Chevrolet, Ford, Pontiac, GMC and Hummer vehicles. Especially Hummer vehicles."
They cast Hugo Weaving instead of Frank Welker to play Megatron. Frank Welker plays him in the video game version, I've read, but why not the movie? I like Hugo Weaving, he's a good actor, but after seeing the movie, I don't feel he added anything to the role.
After seeing the movie, I have more complaints, but plenty of praise as well. I'll start with the bad things.
Optimus Prime's lips looked like he was puckering for a kiss all the time.
To reiterate what everyone's been saying, the action scenes were hard to follow. I found myself wondering several times, "What the hell is going on?"
The Transformers can change their alternate forms too easily. Back in the day, they had to make a commitment to their forms until they were dead or almost dead. New forms meant either building a new body or rebuilding a current body.
Most of the Transformers had very little character development, the Decepticons especially, being reduced to one-dimensional villains that are evil because they're evil. What happened to their personalities? What's this "I! AM! MEGATRON!" crap? Maybe the process of editing reduced the preferable amount of robocharacter development, but having the Decepticons act that way is inexcusable.
Going back to what I said earlier, I had trouble telling one robot from another. I thought Optimus Prime killed Megatron with his super hot sword thingy and was wondering what that was about because I knew he'd be back. But that was, uh, the other one, as someone pointed out here.
The Allspark was a cube of unknown origin and great power that is responsible for giving the Transformers life. What? Cube? Why is it a cube that they can carry around? The Allspark is supposed to be some intangible thing like Heaven or the soul, not a magic rock that can insert servos, mechanisms and a CPU into Mountain Dew vending machines and SUVs to make new robots. And for some reason, the very thing that gives them life will kill them if pushed into proximity of their sparks? Huh? No, no, no.
Someone needs to research the laws of physics and their effects on the human body. If a man falls two hundred feet and lands in big beefy metal hands he ... lives? Oh. That's nice.
Jazz's death was too underplayed. This is another thing about character development that could've added more impact to this scene. Also, Megatron seemed to be holding onto Jazz's body for at least 15 minutes after he killed him. Bad editing! Bad, bad, bad!
The ending of the movie was a little anticlimactic, and they didn't really resolve the Decepticons' global communications virus.
They tried way too hard for a PG-13 rating, with more than one instance of a certain expletive that starts with "mother" that gets cut off. But I don't think the F word necessarily needs to make a movie R unless they're talking about getting it on in graphic detail.
Some of the humor was very, very childish
(I didn't need to see Bumblebee "pee" on that guy)
but overall, most of it was enjoyable, especially Shia Lebouf's performance. Most, if not all, of the actors gave excellent performances.
The human side of character development was very well done in contrast and probably saved the movie. I just wish I didn't feel like I knew Sam Witwicky's mom better than Starscream.
It was an enjoyable movie with a several bits that prevented it from being a great movie. A better director could've turned all of those around, I'd wager. I'd give it 7/10.
It's not Chevrolet, I actually like the new concept Camaro (which, in computer simulations, is slightly faster and more powerful than the new Mustang, both of them top of the line and fully loaded). It's that Bay whored the movie to GM when he could've had variety among manufacturers. Bumblebee could've been a new VW bug, Jazz could've been a kick ass Porsche, Ironhide could've been a Honda Ridgeline (a truck is actually more fitting to his personality than that dumpy van he used to be), Ratchet could've been one of those Scion vans and Prowl could've been ... a Corvette. I think the worst offender is that Jazz is a Pontiac Solstice. You'd have to pay me to get me to drive another Pontiac. A lot. I don't like Hummers either (name one person who owns one that isn't an A-hole), but it makes more sense for a robot to get something big, powerful and built for the military than that balding guy with the leaf blower next door.
Actually, VW does not allow its cars to be used in movies depicting "war-like" scenes (it's a corporate policy thing). That's why Bumblebee can't be a VW bug...
but remember when the movie Bumblebee appeared at Bobby Bolivia's? Guess what he parked next to - a yellow bug!
For Prime, well, if they didn't put lips on him, whenever he spoke, it would look fairly bad - unlike the animated series, where they can easily show Prime's "mask" moving when he speaks, it's a lot harder to do the same effect (it would look rather lame, honestly). The only real issue I have with Prime is I'm having trouble deciding who I like more - the original G1 Prime, or Movie Prime. Probalby G1 by a bit, but Movie Prime is fairly likable as well.
As for the GM thing, well, they needed cars, and GM decided to go for it. IIRC, they paid very little for the cars - GM more or less supplied them. The only repayment GM got was that GM got some ads made for them (the "Transform your ride" event thing). When you're making a budget movie that may or may not succeed, anywhere you can save money on is good - in this case, they can spend the money they saved on cars towards the CGI. But movies are also about product placement as well. (After all, did you notice the Xbox360, and when it was shown, the Xbox360 sound was played? Or Mountain Dew?)
And yeah, the final battle, it's very Michael Bay-ish, lots of erratic, blurred motion. But if you watch it again (I've now just watched it the 3rd time), it makes a lot of sense what happened. But yeah, most of the Decepticons were very generic-ish.
And the Megatron-Starscream interaction was missing. Just "You fail me yet again, Starscream"
. I prefer the original G1 Megatron.
Then again, people will fault Transformers a lot for even making Optimus Prime have lips, or making him a Peterbilt rather than a cab-over. Or that Megatron is a jet, not a gun. Other TransFans (like me) have thoroughly enjoyed it.
Well, the big loss is Starscream's loyalty to Megraton. A good deal of the fun of the cartoons was Starscream's goofy attempts to overthrow Megraton, and the fact that Megraton kept him as second-in-command regardless. The movie was a little bit too much about humans, and too little about the transformers. The decepticons had almost no lines, and most of the screen time was givint to the small robot. However, it's nothing to blame, it was very likely a good decision, since the movie has to appeal to the everyone.
It was established in the line of prequel comics that this new Starscream does try to take over the Decepticons for himself in Megatron's absence, and in the movie he is among the F-22s attacking Megatron.
So yes, that part of Starscream's character still remains.
Could have been an editing error. Personally, I didn't notice Starscream attacking Megatron with the rest of them, but it *is* rather hard to keep up.
Jazz being a Solstice...I don't think the worst offense is that Jazz is a Pontiac, I think the worst offense is that Jazz went from a Porsche to a Pontiac. That's just WRONG WRONG WRONG!
Bumblebee took a lot of screen time because...well, I'm thinking:
1. He was the Autobot's vanguard and is Sam's guardian until Optimus and company get there.
2. He took a lot of time in the G1 series too. Seems like a tradition to me, making a small and seemingly insignificant part of the Autobot lineup into a major player. I like that. That's got that "It's good to be the LittleGuy" aspect.
And...maybe I just can't tell one car from another, but the main distinction in car modes seemed to be Barricade. Wasn't he a Mustang GT? (Loved his play on the police motto: "To Punish and To Enslave")
It is a Mustang, yes, but it's the Saleen variant. Wikipedia states it to be the S281...
But yeah, the "To Punish and Enslave" was good. Too bad it took about 3 viewings for me to actually be able to read it. First time around, I noticed it wasn't the standard motto, but too slow to read it (other than "To punish and ...?").
But yeah, I miss the Starscream-Megatron interaction.
Like I said, the only thing is "You fail me yet again, Starscream" - c'mon! It's the interaction that makes both very likable
. Gah. while I'm having difficulty deciding who I like better - G1 Prime or Movie Prime, for Megatron, I much prefer the G1 version.
On behalf of all of us who have seen both movies, I think it's fair to say that we all agree that the original movie was better. The soundtrack, too. Stan Bush owns Linkin Park. They don't have the touch, nor the power.