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Speaker: Transformers: Less than meets the eye

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  • Thom James,

    Well I have to say I enjoyed the film immensely. Although that's because I went in expecting little, as every one of Bay's previous works has been derisible, appalling shite with a cringe-inducing patriotic bent. It may also have something to do with the fact I saw it on the IMAX screen, and wore my ipod in there, listetning to some dirty drum n bass instead of paying attention to the hackneyed dialogue and vague plot. There really is nothing quite as exhilirating as watching giant robots beat seven shades out of each other to the sound of a nasty Dom & Roland tune.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2007 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    When I was a little girl, I had one Transformer (one of those green construction equipment ones), that I think had been bought for me because I was jealous that my brother had some.

    The whole idea of Transformers seemed pretty cool, but I never really got into them or watched much of the cartoon.

    But as the years have gone by, I have come to the realisation that every man I know who is around my age is totally gay for Transformers.

    This explains all the fierce reviews and opinions being fired around regarding the Transformers movie.

    I don't fully get it, but I will agree that Transformers are awesome and are not to be messed with, ehoa.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1821 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    As the presumed target audience of this movie (about the right age to have nostalgia for the cartoon, unreservedly geeky) I couldn't disagree more with this review. I liked Transformers because it didn't try to be more than what it was: a movie about giant alien toy robots. Perhaps I'm easily pleased, but I thought the humour was funny and on-target, the script was well-paced, and the action scenes weren't too long (I hate to stereotype my sex, but...girl, okay? People shooting each other for long periods bores me silly, in print or on screen.) I thought the minor characters and plotlines added to the movie. No, it wasn't deep and meaningful, but it was a very good popcorn flick. I'd even go see it again.

    And, honestly, what's wrong with a bit of topicality? The dig at Dubya was simple humour, but it was only about ten seconds of a two hour plus film, which is all it needed to be. The willingness of High Command to plot and torture...that's not trying to make a point, is acknowledging reality. That is what the American military and high command has admitted to doing or being prepared to do. I'm all for escapism, but given that escapism is often commentary on the real world, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the faults of the real world. The difference, of course, is that in the real world there are no giant robots to make everything right, and the Secretary of Defence would have a lot more bodyguards.( Frankly, I'm just surprised that Homeland Security weren't in charge of the evil government conspiracy; TV sci-fi (Jericho, Heroes) certainly has them pinned as the villains du jour.)

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    I should probably also note that while I'm the right age to have watched it as a kid, I didn't, or I don't remember more than thirty seconds of it. I went because the trailer looked cool and stuff blew up. And, lo, the stuff blew up, but the non-explosive bits also held my interest.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    eye-candy.

    but i wasn't expecting anything more.

    plot holes the size of optimus-prime! but such great action.

    although... making bumblee a camaro seriously pissed off 8-year-old me... beetle damnit!

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2018 posts Report Reply

  • barnaclebarnes,

    I think we must have gone to different movies because the Transformers I watched was frickin awesome...

    It didn't try to be anything other than a bunch of robots kicking arse which they managed to pull off really, really well. The CG was pretty flawless, the characters funny (in a corny kind of way), hot girl, awkward geek, the product placement over the top and possibly the worst use of Hollywood OS that I have seen.

    Everything you want in an action packed Hollywood blockbuster and more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 84 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Sorry but I have to ask...

    Joseph Rex...

    So, are you JoeKing?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1091 posts Report Reply

  • Helen Keivom,

    When I was a little girl, I had one Transformer (one of those green construction equipment ones), that I think had been bought for me because I was jealous that my brother had some.

    When my 18yo was a little girl, she was so into Transformers that many of her illustrations in school depicted transformers in battle mode (while I cringed a bit wondering what the teachers must be thinking). This may possibly explain why she's currently undergoing the Army's fearsome Nemesis program for officer cadets.

    In spite of this killjoy review, I'm really looking forward to taking my youngest to see the movie this week and reviewing it for our ex-Transformer gal -she's big on Warhammer these days- when she emerges (hopefully) from the frozen wastelands of Waiouru.

    Since Nov 2006 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Giles Reid,

    I'm honestly amazed at how many people thought this was a good movie. Am I that much of an elitist?

    There was just so much terrible dialogue, dumb jokes and caricatures (hey look a 'ghetto' transformer who breakdances, "are you the tooth fairy?"), and crazy logic. (Robots that are frozen in ice but not in outer space? Climbing a building to be picked up by helicopters when your enemies are robotic helicopters and jet fighters?)

    That whole Section 7 thing was just so crazy and odd - was it meant to be comic relief (if forcing a guy to strip to his cartoon character underwear is funny?), ironic comment on secret agents and freedom (but then the movie had a huge pro-war, you have to make sacrifices for freedom etc. theme as well?), or what? I found the movie to be so full of jarring inconsistencies that in the end it was just an incoherent mess. The US military computer system is being taken over by an evil virus, we have to put all our top analysts on it, but don't worry, we won't ever mention that plot line again and solving that problem will have no effect on the outcome of the final battle.

    Even the fight scenes were a mess, like in the final battle when Starscream was blowing up all the fighter jets as they come in for an airstrike, then the next cut is to the fighters blowing up one of the Decipticons anyway, or the way two robots would be fighting, then one would vanish for a while so the other could have some dialogue or do something else, then they'd fight again.

    Am I that out of touch with popular taste? I'm honestly confused by all the positive opinions of this movie. Am I just supposed to say "it was meant to be a retarded action film that makes no sense, therefore it was enjoyable"?

    Argh just thinking about how confusingly bad I found this film gives me a headache.

    ps. I used to have lots of transformers toys :-)

    Christchurch • Since May 2007 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Michael T,

    I'm not sure Megatron ever even transforms into any recognisable object.

    Are you an idiot? He is still in his Alien form... as an "Original fan" I am sure you would have picked that one up.

    Movie rocked. I have more original transformers than you.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Animae characteristically pushes certain themes and tropes to the fore – supernatural friends, martial mysticism, prepubescent superheroes, secret weapons, what colour the heroine's knickers are.

    My first experience of Animae was while visiting Hong Kong in the early 90s. They ran the cartoons afterschool and I was quite perturbed. They all seemed to feature scenes of schoolgirls being up-ended so we could look at their white cotton panties. Since I didn't speak the language I could only watch and try and figure out what was going on. Without success. Seemingly Sailor Moon's sole purpose in life is to be bowled over in slow motion so we can see her knickers.

    That stuff they play in that sushi place in Parnell is even more saucy.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Paul Wood,

    Christchurch • Since Jan 2007 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish,

    I came out with a smile.

    I don't really care for your opinions about fanboys - Transformers is before their time and our showing (Embassy Theatre, Welly) was a lot like yours: full of couples and flash looking 20-somethings.

    It was fun, and the effects were mind-blowing. Well worth it IMHO.

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • nzMM,

    Good points, i don't think you are wrong when you intellectualise certain aspects in isolation... but i still had fun, i laughed and when the fights were slow enough that i understood what was going on, i thought they were really cool.

    My main gripe is with the over-detailed robots. They totally confused the eye and when coupled with the fast panning quick cuts during fight scenes; left me totally disoriented with no idea of whats happening sometimes.

    I loved transformers, i went to primary school everyday after my half-hour morning dose of that cartoon. I was totally upset when Optimus 'died'! That's where i am coming from... i don't care about all the logic absurdities. There's no logic to the premise in the first place. Why would uber robots want to transform into human creations?? They are totally cool giant sentient robots from another part of the universe who've been fighting a battle of good against evil with big badass guns and they can transform into tanks and shit! Gah, thats just so Coooooooooool!

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    As a man of the right age demographic I can confirm the aforementioned uber robots own the mindspace of my generation. Hell, I even watched beastwars, although not the episode with the plant transformer.

    If the popularity of our story on the now semi famous giant statue of Optimus Prime in China

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 861 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    *is anything to go by

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 861 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    But as the years have gone by, I have come to the realisation that every man I know who is around my age is totally gay for Transformers.

    Well, it's tough, when there are no girl Transformers.

    The boat might have sailed for this one, but it must have occurred to someone during the 80s to expand their demographic reach with a series of girl Transformers who turned into household appliances that can clean and cook.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 522 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    I think you've hit upon the reason why today's womin can't clean and cook!

    If only we could photoshop those inter-web videos of Paris Hilton. Maybe if today's girls saw her licking a wooden spoon after a satisfying session of home baking, instead of ...

    Heck, you might even get the boys picking up a spatula ...

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The boat might have sailed for this one, but it must have occurred to someone during the 80s to expand their demographic reach with a series of girl Transformers who turned into household appliances that can clean and cook.

    A thousand feminists are currently burning their bras in your direction Keith. Better look out.

    If only we could photoshop those inter-web videos of Paris Hilton. Maybe if today's girls saw her licking a wooden spoon after a satisfying session of home baking, instead of ...

    Heck, you might even get the boys picking up a spatula ...

    OK, if there's video of Paris licking a wooden spoon, then it's going to be cut into an R18 clip before you know it. Cooking is not the private activity it's going to inspire!

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Keith, this isn't quite what you are looking for, but a friend just posted
    me a link about a new series of Transformer for Japan. Now I am not sure entirely if there are women transformers in this new group, but I do know that regardless, the transformers require the kiss of a girl to transform

    Link

    I am not sure how legitimate this is, but it seems to have a wiki page and multiple refernece sites, so it could be true

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 861 posts Report Reply

  • Helen Keivom,

    Since Nov 2006 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Heh. Thereyago, I assumed the pink one was gay.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong,

    Went and saw it last night at the Embassy. $10 Tuesdays - and a sell out from what I could tell. The sounds system there is always outstanding.

    Really enjoyed it - as did the wife - who's no fan of nerdy 80's pop culture. Lots of couples there, a lot of laughs, and from what I could tell a lot of fun by all.

    It's a movie about giant robots for crying out loud.

    At one level it's cool - at another level it's bound to be pure cheese. But then so was the cartoon.

    Michael Bay more than did it justice. Hats off to ILM and Digital Domain - the cgi and compositing was outstanding.

    Roll on 9th August - when Die Hard 4.0 completes the summer action insanity!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    barnaclebarnes, thx for that OS link. That's classic Wikipedia humour, and ironically, their AI seems to have picked up on it, saying the article's tone may not be up to Wikipedia's high standards (good to see they're working on AI humour too).

    As for Transformers, I'm just bitter I blew my moviegoing budget on Fantastic Four instead. Now there's a reeeally crap flick. I'm even a Marvel Fanboy, who tragically sold his precious Spiderman hoard for $50 during a moment of Student Fee induced weakness. But FF was just shite from start to finish.

    Usually I get annoyed when a three year old won't shut up behind me in a movie. But the running commentary and alternative ideas that this little soul was generating were a hell of a lot more interesting and original than what was taking place on the screen in front of me. When he said at the end that the aliens should have just hurried up and destroyed Earth, I couldn't have agreed more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    if it's any indication. i'm thinking about seeing it again.

    despite the fact that it's mostly rubbish.

    rubbish with giant fighting robots, and humans who don't know their bum from a hole in the ground.

    question! optimus prime has a kick-arse laser sword to kill one deceptikon. then doesn't use it on megatron.

    WTF.

    a female autobot would have figured that shit out real early in the piece.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2018 posts Report Reply

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