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Transformers:  One of the Worst Movies of the Summer


            Here is a short list of reasons why the new Transformers movie is one of the worst movies of a summer dominated by bad movies.  Almost all of these reasons can be attributed to director Michael Bay, already known for a career full of awful movies.


-The Transformer robots aren’t the real stars of the movie.  That duty goes to Shia LeBeouf as Sam Witwicky, an Everyboy who unwittengly buys one of the Transformers as his first car in hopes of getting girls.  Someone actually thought that, more often than not, the focus should be on Shia LeBeouf instead of the giant robots. 


-A minor storyline involves Tyrese Gibson and Josh Duhamel as soldiers investigating Transformer attacks in the Middle East.  After the film’s climactic battle they are never mentioned again.  Both actors are more capable than LeBeouf of carrying a blockbuster.  Not only is the film’s focus wrongly on humans, it’s not even on the right humans.


-I admittedly know very little about Transformers mythology, but I do know that the leader of the good guy robots is supposed to be the red and blue robot known as Optimus Prime.  But in the movie, he does very little to justify his being the leader.  The one who does most of the work is the yellow and black one known as Bumblebee.  Then Prime shows up and starts ordering him around and abandoning him when he’s captured by the government.  I can only hope that the kids who make up the film’s target audience see past the blowhard Prime and buy more Bumblebee merchandise.


-Once in robot form, none of the Transformers look unique, nor do any of them have distinct personalities.  It is very difficult to keep track of who is who, who has which powers, and who is on which side. 


-Apparently the Transformers aren’t “robots” in the traditional sense, they’re aliens who can think for themselves and just happen to have camera-friendly mechanical bodies.  But that doesn’t quite answer the question of who built them.  Unless they’re just born that way on their planet.  This raises the question of what childbirth is like for their mothers. 


-Did you think that the “animal crackers scene” in Bay’s Armageddon was the most awkward and embarrassing love scene of all time?  This movie has one that’s arguably even more painful.  It involves there being only one seatbelt in the backseat. 


-There are way too many scenes in the movie where people don’t notice the Transformers.  Naturally, there’s bound to be a few times where the robots transform back into something innocent just as a bumbling authority comes poking around.  I’m not talking about those.  I’m talking about scenes where people miss them in full grown robot form. 


-John Turturro (Quiz Show) shows up at about the halfway point as a government agent who uses bullying tactics to get information on the Transformers.  Aside from the fact that the character is absolutely right in wanting to keep tabs on the 50-foot instruments of destruction (and the movie treats him like a villain because he threatens Sam’s loveable car), Turturro is wrong for the part.  He can be an okay bad guy when he’s kept soft and creepy (Secret Window), but fails here as a raging tough guy. 


-The classic Transformers theme is never used in the film’s score in favor of generic “action” music.  The only times the catchphrase “more than meets the eye” is used are when it’s used ironically to refer to the humans. 


-And finally, the action sequences themselves need addressing.   Bay is famous for his love of crashes, bangs, and explosions, but the sequences don’t work if you can’t follow the action.  The easily-confusable characters are just one example of where Bay gets tripped up.  Then there’s questionable motivation and dubious surviving so we don’t know who’s finished.  It all adds up to a huge mess, just like Bay’s other films.  I think his logic is something along the lines of, “at least it’s a mess with cool robots.” 

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