Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Transform your 'Transformers' Ticket into One for 'Ratatouille'

I should admit that I wasn't as excited to see "Transformers" as a rather large number of people my age seem to be at this very moment. For whatever reason (knowing me, probably my esteemed five-year-old taste in cartoons designed to promote toys), I favored the less successful toys with transformational abilities. Namely I remember Gobots—which Tonka imported from Japan at the same time Hasbro imported Transformers—and M.A.S.K., whose characters could change their non-intelligent vehicles from one kind to another. I had some Transformers toys, and my mom claims I liked "the red scooter one." That red scooter, however, is a Gobot.

So my "Transformers" experience relied solely on the filmmaking abilities of Michael Bay. I had hoped that, with Steven Spielberg's guidance as a producer, Bay could make a fun, exciting popcorn movie. But Bay is still doing the same old shit.

Summer entertainment isn't supposed to be deep or meaningful, but it is supposed to be awe-inspiring. "Transformers" lacks any sort of magic or wonder, any sort of storyline that holds momentum, any action scene that builds to something suspenseful and amazing. Bay's plan seems to have been to shovel shit so rapidly into our faces that we don't have time to wipe it off and take in what we're covered in. There are no breaks from the clanks and explosions, rendering them meaningless. There is no sense of the size or shape of the robots, and their complex design serves more to show off special effects than to make them emotive, let alone distinct from one another.

There are lots of moving parts in titular robot-alien characters, but that doesn't translate to emotions (and they are supposed to be sentient beings). Sometimes simplicity can bring out personality, or at least help us see the robots for what they are. Sure, the special effects are impressive, but while they're special, they aren't at all effective.

Most of the time, I didn't know which character was fighting which or why I should be interested. At one point, Bay puts the camera in the car of a mother and son who were driving near a robot fight. The camera whips back and forth as the ground shakes the car around. It's a cool shot, but there's a problem: The two characters have absolutely nothing to do with the story, and don't appear before or after this moment. What's worse, however, is that we can barely see the fight that pertains to the story. We never do see anything comprehensible or that relates to the characters in any meaningful way. The film exhausts us, gives us a headache and spits us out.


Anonymous said...

That's Steven with a V, thank you very much.

Jeremy Mathews said...

Regret the error, little Stevie. I was actually looking at another Stephen's name while writing this, and thinking about how you spell it with a V, so I don't know how I still typed it wrong.

Anonymous said...

It is about time someone mentioned Gobots. They really sucked, by the way.
You must've been raised poor.

Stewf said...

Steven is the incorrect spelling of Stephen no matter what last name is attached.